Hipcamp host Gigi B.
Hosted by
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Have you ever seen the Milky Way Galaxy? This is a rare opportunity to experience total darkness in the Earth's second darkest "dark sky" region -- the only darker sky in the USA is in the Grand Canyon. We are genuinely located in the Dark Sky Region according to the International Dark Sky Map.  

Also an excellent vantage point for Full Moon and Planet

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Have you ever seen the Milky Way Galaxy? This is a rare opportunity to experience total darkness in the Earth's second darkest "dark sky" region -- the only darker sky in the USA is in the Grand Canyon. We are genuinely located in the Dark Sky Region according to the International Dark Sky Map.  

Also an excellent vantage point for Full Moon and Planetary alignments or night photography.

No city lights, no street lights, no passing cars, few airplanes. Very silent and powerful land.

Surrender to the silence. So quiet you can hear your heartbeat. 

Log off, do a digital detox, leave your electronics behind and tune into a higher frequency. Clear your head of the clutter of city life, and empty it out here. 

Total silence with no city lights, no traffic, no airplanes, and very often, no human footprints. 

Aquarius Base Camp is a sweet spot for self sufficient car camping and smaller RVs -- pull right in and find the remote feeling you usually only find after a long backpacking trip. This is an easy to access, drive right to it, base for stargazing. (Big open uninterrupted sky.)  

SWIMMING HOLES & HOT SPRING

From here, you can take day trips by  2WD car to swimming holes and hot springs, or use ATV/4X4 to explore 27,000 acres of vast and uncharted wilderness on jeep trails. 

Many love this campsite for just one night as a stop over while driving from the Grand Canyon to Las Vegas or from LA to Phoenix via Kingman.  (It is MUCH quieter here than it is at the crowded campgrounds by the freeway which will shake your car as every truck zooms by.)  It is a 40 minute drive up into the higher mountains from busy Highway 93 but worth the drive for the wide vistas and scenery.

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STARGAZING, PERSEID METEORS, ECLIPSES

July 4 will be a Lunar Eclipse at sunset partially visible in Arizona. (Penumbral/Blood Moon) from 8:07 pm to 10:52 pm. Rare, once in our lifetime alignment of Earth, Moon and all but two planets! It is unlikely that any fireworks will interfere with your view from this remote location.

July 5 - Full Moon The Full Moon for the month of July is called Buck Moon, as new antlers emerge from bucks' foreheads around this time of the year. 

July 14-20 - Jupiter and Saturn reach peak brightness

July 20 - New Moon - for darkest sky

July 28 into July 29 will feature a pair of multicolored meteor showers with the Alpha Capricornids and the southern Delta Aquarids both peaking on the same night -- as many as 20 meteors/hour like fireworks!

August 1 - 5 - Full Moon (go hiking in cool of night as moon illuminates the canyons and sand.)

August 12-13 - Perseids Meteor Shower Peak  

August 16 - 21 - New Moon - Dark Sky and Perseid Meteors

Aug 18  - Black Moon - third New Moon in a season with four New Moons

September 1- 5 - Full Moon (Harvest Moon.)

September 17 - New Moon

November 4-5 - Super New Moon (Very Dark Sky)

November 29-30 - Lunar Eclipse (Penumbral)

December 4, 2021, Total Solar Eclipse - not visible in the Northern Hemisphere, but you can "feel" this powerful alignment.

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LOTS OF SPACE 

"Social distancing" is not an issue here -- this land is vast and undeveloped.  Plenty of space to spread out, very unpopulated area. Nothing here to sanitize -- it is raw wilderness.  

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SWIMMING HOLES AND HOT SPRINGS!

The ranch is surrounded on all sides by Upper Burro Creek wilderness --Burro Creek flows uninterrupted for 13 miles, year round with waterfalls and swimming holes galore.

There is a secret Hot Spring (no sulfur smell, perfect 100 degrees body temperature water) and we will give you directions to drive to it and hike in -- 1 1/2 miles flat but strenuous on sand though a beautiful canyon.

MOONLIGHT HIKING

For a bright full moonlight hike to the hot spring or hiking the creek beds and canyons around the ranch in the cool of the night. You will not need a flashlight--the sand and canyon walls will reflect the moonlight and you can even see your moonshadow. It's fascinating to hike the desert in moonlight and see bats and other night creatures.

TOTAL SILENCE

Have you ever been somewhere so quiet you can hear your heartbeat? It will happen here. This is not just one of the darkest places on Earth, it is one of the quietest places we have ever been.

Silence is unbelievably restorative.  Meditation and states of awareness and a connection with Source happen spontaneously in this silence. You may not be aware of how much noise affects you until you experience true silence.  For many who visit here this is a profound and moving experience.

SOLITUDE

You are unlikely to see another vehicle once you turn off the main Interstate. You will see cattle, Mustangs and wild burro on the road, and an occasional wild rabbit, wild turkey, or roadrunner.  Even if we are "busy" (4 or 5 campsites filled, but usually just one) you will find solitude easily if you just wander off a bit up the jeep trail or down one of the ravines.  

VEHICLE WITH TENT CAMPING/RV/VAN:

Several flat, accessible campsites here in the "Base Camp" for regular 2 wheel drive vans, or cars with tents, small RVs (under 34 ft), or smaller pull behind trailers with 4x4 trucks.  This is spacious dispersed camping on sandy/rocky soil -- unpaved. 

DRIVE IN 4X4 CAMPING OR HIKE / BIKE IN WITH PACK

From here, if you want, you can continue into the ranch on a short wheelbase, high clearance 4x4 vehicle, (Subaru Outbacks have managed it), mountain bike, horse. You can hike by foot with day pack or backpack for overnight camping on the three square miles of land of the ranch.  

Please book "Isolation Point" if you plan to backpack overnight so we know you are out there.

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300 DAYS OF SUNSHINE, COOLER

Aquarius Ranch has cooler weather and a greener terrain more like Prescott -- the Base Camp is above 3,500 ft elevation (and Isolation Point above 5,000 ft) so it is 10-20 degrees cooler up here than down at the highway. Weather and terrain here are more like Prescott and we get summer Monsoon rains.

BRILLIANT WILDFLOWERS

In the Spring, or even Summer after rains, you will see fields of red, orange, gold, and purple wildflowers, including sweet scented white flowering agave, yellow flowered prickly pear, orange flowered cholla, red flowering Ocotillo, red Indian Paintbrush, fields of orange poppies, violet datura, and blooming purple sage. Along the ride you will see blooming Joshua Trees, Barrel Cactus and Saguaro.

It is a lush desert ecosystem somewhat similar to Anza Borrego State Park.

A BASE TO EXPLORE THE AREA

We love using the ranch as a base to explore the Joshua Tree Highway, swimming in the creek, hot springs, Alamo Lake, going to the small towns in this lost and lonely part of America, abandoned mines and ghost towns, and wandering the dirt roads around here. 

If you love the desert, like we do, you will find this a uncharted, wild, untouched, authentic and untouristy gem in the Southwest. 

BE SELF RELIANT

You must be self sufficient with water, food and a full tank of gas -- this is nothing in Nothing, Arizona. Please be prepared and self sufficient -- this is a very isolated area, even though it's only 3 miles "as the crow flies" from a busy Interstate and 7.5 miles from gas and food. 

Aquarius Ranch Base Camp is great for tents, van lifers, minivans, or small RVs. (Generators are ok but that would spoil the silence so we don't recommend it.) 

It's also great for camping with a pop up shade structure or 10 x 10 with bug netting and a good cushy pad.  

BACKPACKING OR 4X4:

Book a second day at our other listing for this "self-guided" backpacking journey to Isolation Point which includes maps and very detailed directions to a 5,000 foot peak with 360 view of the stars. This is recommended in cooler weather.

You can also explore on the rugged jeep trail with a mountain bike, 4x4, jeep, horse or ATV.  You need good map skills and GPS if you decide to explore and hike off the trail.  We provide GPS coordinates and map information to get you started and stacked rocks/cairns mark the way.

Hike the burro trails and dry stream washes, through shady low creekside canyons of leafy green aspen and sycamore trees or high ridges of pink and red granite.

We recommend an app called ONX, Avenza Maps, Mapcarta or Peakbagger for hiking off trail -- NOT Google Maps. 

We reveal the specific maps you need, GPS coordinates, precise directions once you register.

ABOVE THE HEAT, BUT MILD YEAR ROUND

The ranch is up high above the heat at 3,900 - 4,900 foot elevation, 300 days of sunshine every year -- similar climate to Prescott at the higher parts of the ranch, weather like Wikieup in the lower elevations.

Daytime is mild and sunny 60-70 in January, but nights can dip down to 40s and if it's windy, it's brisk. 

Spring is like a summer, in the 70s and 80s, with cool nights in the 50s.  

Summer is blazing in the 100s down at the Highway -- but up here in the Aquarius Mountains, it is usually in the 90s, with nights in the 70s, more like Prescott. 

Bring lots of water, sunhat, sunscreen, loose, light clothing, good sturdy boots, electrolytes and salt. Hike in the morning -- not in mid day sun!

Summer Monsoon Rain comes and goes fast, and the sun dries up the rain. The sunsets are incredible after these storms.

DO I NEED SHADE?

We recommend bringing some shade for your campsite.  We are "Burners" and used to being self reliant in the desert. Some folks like a sheet, tapestry or tarp fastened to their car, SUV, Van or RV. In Summer, bring a pop up shade structure with netting.

ARE THERE ANY TREES?

For hanging out during the day, there is a nice cottonwood, aspen and gingko forest a short walk from the Base Camp. You can explore many shady areas here, rocks to lean against, even caves. Total privacy. We walk barefoot on the sand if it is warm. Maybe find a tree to hang a hammock from?

WILDLIFE 

This is primal desert ecosystem, virtually uninhabited for decades. Wildlife abounds including 100 varieties of birds -- quail, blue jays, hawks, roadrunners, raven, owl, blue jays and wild turkey, even black hawks and bald eagles.

Animal footprints far outnumber those of humans on sandy trails.

You might see desert cottontails, ring-tailed cats, badgers, raccoon, skunks (spotted, striped, and hognose), gray foxes, javelinas, bear, bobcats, mountain lions, coyote, mule deer, pronghorn antelope, bighorn sheep. If you are silent and observant, you may see wild Mustang horses or wild burros. (Bring binoculars!)  

There are plenty of lizards, snakes, bees, and butterflies. 

Because of the silence, distance from major roads, lack of fences and natural "bowl" of mountains surrounding from which to observe the distance, the ranch is a sanctuary for Endangered Species, many found only here.  If you sit still and very silent, the animals and birds will appear.  They are shy and will not bother or beg from you.  Often they will just stare at you, fascinated but unconcerned, as human visitors are so rare for them. 

Guests love the cute wild burros and wild Mustangs the most. I love the butterflies, bees, crickets, cicadas and birds.  It is rare to find an ecosystem untouched by pesticide or herbicide in which so many species thrive.

PETROGLYPHS AND CAVES

Discover petroglyphs,  prehistoric sites, ancient lava fields, volcanic formations and caves, and feel like you are truly the last human (or the first) alive on Earth. 

BIKING, HORSEBACK RIDING, OHV

Fat tire Mountain Biker's paradise with miles of winding dirt jeep roads to explore.  

We can help you rent a horse or pack animal, llama, or get an off road vehicle tour from a local outfitter.

GHOST TOWNS 

The ghost town of Nothing, to the south has... almost nothing. Signal is another ghost town nearby. 

HISTORIC SMALL TOWNS 

Wikieup, about 10 miles North, has gas, RV dumping, great classic American road trip food (even great Chicago pizza and steak sandwiches at Dazzo's), homemade pie at Luchia's, and a Trading Post with Native American jewelry and art.  All the food around here is surprisingly good with eclectic decor and fun roadside attractions for the kids, like peacocks!

Wickenburg, 50 miles south, has a great restaurant we love called Cowboy Cookin', and a big grocery store with block ice, water machine outside with filtered water. 

Kingman, 60 miles north, is going hipster fast -- this town caters to tourists and truckers with all the services you need, like health food store, camping supplies and laundromat. 

Check out the Train Museum, historic downtown, Route 66, funky antique and secondhand clothing stores, flea markets, great tacos, two brew pubs, Black Ridge Brewery for live music. Desert Diamond Distillery for a tour of how Agave cactus is turned into Tequila. 

Explore the magic of Aquarius Ranch and let us know what you discover

 

Campsite area
Bring your own
10 sites
Up to 4 guests per site
Park at listing
No ADA access
Essentials
Campfires allowed
Pets allowed
No toilet
Amenities
Kitchen available
No potable water
No showers
No picnic table
No wifi
Pack it out
Have a question? Send Gigi a message!
  • Check in: After 6AM
  • Check out: Before 7PM
  • Cancellation policy: Moderate
  • On arrival: Go straight to camp
  • Minimum nights: 1 night
  • Accepts bookings: 9 months out
  • Weeknight discount: 20% off

Activities

Offered on the Host's property or nearby.

Biking

Mountain bikes only! And you are free to ride on the AWD trails or off road in the washes.

Fishing

Fishing is nearby on Big Sandy River or up higher in Burro Creek Wilderness. Bass and trout.

Hiking

The ranch is 3 square miles of pristine private land, surrounded by 27,000 acres of BLM government land. It is pristine and bar...Read more

Horseback riding

You are free to ride your horse on the land. Contact Arizona Horse Company in Wickenburg for horse and pack animal rentals; ...Read more

Off-roading (OHV)

OHV quads are absolutely necessary to navigate the farthest, higher altitude side of the ranch. There are clearly marked roads ...Read more

Climbing

Bouldering and short climbs. Lots of cliffs made of granite. Challenging off trail hiking and peakbagging. (Be a second or fir...Read more

Swimming

Nearby swimming hole (drive and hike)

Whitewater paddling

Challenging whitewater paddling on Upper Burro Creek.

Wildlife watching

This is a paradise for wildlife watching including wild Mustang, wild burros, pronghorn antelope, desert bighorn sheep, elk, ja...Read more

Terrain

Natural features you'll find at Dark sky stargazing, total silence. in Arizona.

Desert

This is high desert, which means it is cooler during the day and can be cold at night.

Hot spring

Nearby Hot Springs -- we give directions.

Lake

In the state park, 30 miles away.

Mesa or canyon

Negro Butte rises up above, and there are many steep red rock canyons.

Mountainous

Breathtaking views of the purple hued Aquarius Mountains and the many pink granite and red rock boulders and cliffs. The high ...Read more

River, stream, or creek

Nearby you can visit Big Sandy River or the Burro Creek, or Warm Springs.

Swimming hole

Nearby cold swimming holes - we give directions.

Waterfall

Nearby side trip.

Ranch

You may see an occasional cow as you are hiking, they are wandering in from a neighbor's ranch. Ask in town if you can buy loca...Read more

The vibe at Dark sky stargazing, total silence.

This listing has no reviews yet.
If you stayed here and have some insider info for us, let us know!
Hipcamper Charles

Open skies made my night

Charles C.
recommends this listing.
(Dispersed site)
July 11th, 2019

Open skies and plenty if stars! I'd camp here again just for the stars, but the view is great when the sun is up too!

Hipcamper Kristena

Love love love

Kristena Y.
recommends this listing.
(Dispersed site)
October 22nd, 2019

This site was so beautiful!
Me and my husband went for our Anniversary and we couldn’t be more over joyed. This camp is completely secluded, very clean, had a fire pit and a stack of fire wood already available. This site name follows through the STARS are incredible, truly out of this world. Numerous shooting stars! Also weather wasn’t bad for October slightly chilly but totally bearable.
All I would recommend is DO NOT FOLLOW THE PIN DROP ON GOOGLE. The host gives precise directions that I myself failed to follow. The pin drop leads elsewhere.

Other than that we will be doing a yearly visit.
Thanks again.
Truly had a beautiful time.

Dark sky stargazing, total silence.Dark sky stargazing, total silence.Dark sky stargazing, total silence.Dark sky stargazing, total silence.
Hipcamper Daniel

Everything was better than expected

Daniel D.
recommends this listing.
(Dispersed site)
November 26th, 2019

We had an amazing time. Sky at night was great. Will be back again.

Hipcamper Stefanie

Gorgeous stars and perfect views

Stefanie K.
recommends this listing.
(Dispersed site)
April 26th, 2020

Absolutely amazing experience. Stars were absolutely incredible, and the drive to the site was unbeatable. Would recommend to anyone looking for seclusion and great views! Will be back for certain.

Hipcamper Erik

Perfect place to decompress

Erik L.
recommends this listing.
(Dispersed site)
May 21st, 2020

This was a great place to camp. Just nature and you. No buildings, no people and no lights for miles. I decided to car camp. If you plan to camp on the ground, be aware that it's a hard pack area with tons of rocks. Make sure to bring a good pad or air mattress.
I really enjoyed exploring the property. It's been awhile since I did some hiking and camping alone. But so worth it! Can't wait to go back!!

Dark sky stargazing, total silence.Hiking to the top of the hills to the east. About a 3 hour hike in total. I did get a small bit of reception once I got to the top of the hill. The weather was amazing. A bit windy, but the flowers made up for it.They were all over the area! Not so much fun when they wouldn't move out of the road tho!
Hipcamper Martin
Martin D.
recommends this listing.
(Dispersed site)
May 30th, 2020

The description of Aquarius Stargazing is very accurate. We loved the place. Though we didn't do much while there, which was our plan. From Base Camp we hiked over to Arrowweed spring. Not that far of a hike. Just a little water there not much. Later we drove up to Goodwin Mesa. That was a wild drive for us. On Sunday night we did make a small fire and enjoyed that until the sunset was all gone and the stars were coming out exceptionally well.

While you might be able to get to Base Camp with a car, I wouldn't do so after driving there in my truck.

Setting up at Base CampPurple CactusWe were lucky as the cactus was blooming at this timeView from Base Camp
Hipcamper Gigi
Response from Gigi, the Host, on June 29th, 2020

Thank you for these great photos! We drive to Base Camp easily in our Honda and Toyota minivans, and in a Sprinter van -- they are all 2WD vehicles.

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Hipcamper Angela
Angela D.
recommends this listing.
(Dispersed site)
June 7th, 2020

Such a beautiful and secluded spot to get away!

Hipcamper Bethany
Bethany S.
recommends this listing.
(Dispersed site)
June 23rd, 2020

Beautiful place! I look forward to coming back here! Definitely quite remote. I felt like I was the only human around for miles...which is a wonderful experience in and of itself. My stay was short but it seems there is a lot to go out and explore on this property. The views are so beautiful and the land just feels peaceful and powerful. Gigi's directions to the camp were very detailed and accurate and she sent a very detailed list of places to hike and see around the area. There is no cell service for miles (a spot here or there on the road in, maybe)... so be prepared with maps and directions before heading out. I couldn't find the hot spring... but that was on me... I maybe should have downloaded a map with the GPS coordinates beforehand. But... a great excuse to return to this beautiful land! Be prepared for bugs this time of year... they're a little relentless :) And it does get a little warm during the day (I happen to like the heat)... but be prepared with lots of water. Thank you for offering this wonderful place to connect with Nature! I don't think there are too many places that offer this amount of solitude that are accessible without having to backpack in.

Hipcamper Lauren

Great site, gorgeous sky!

Lauren W.
recommends this listing.
(Dispersed site)
April 15th, 2020

This was my first HipCamp trip & I couldn't have asked for a better experience with Bisson and this site!

First, a word to the wise: The host's directions are great, but don't be like me and overestimate 1/10th of a mile (if you're going to site 2) and get stuck on the Jeep Trail!

It's better to underestimate what your car can do/where it can go - thankfully my friend and I were prepared enough to dig ourselves out, the space is so remote that we only saw one other car on a weekday/weeknight.

Now, about the space and the experience: This truly is a stargazer's dream! Beautiful Sunset views lead to an enchanting night around the campfire with unobstructed views of Venus & more stars that we were expecting! It was truly beautiful.

We saw cows, donkeys, and burros on the drive down and made sure to keep our space as there were a bunch of babies and calves with their families near the road. So cute!

The only animal visitors we saw in our campsite were quail and bunnies though, absolutely adorable. It was also amazing to see so many wildflowers in bloom as well as the saguaros!

The site was clean, easy to access (according to the host's directions & as long as you set your odometer to 0 when you're supposed to!), had a great separate kitchen space/fire pit a little ways from a flat tent space, and was not too far from gas & civilization. Definitely pet-friendly too!

Also recommend the nearby Warm Spring hike!

Would absolutely recommend this place to friends or anyone looking to get a true Arizona high-desert experience.

Some friends near the road on the way to camp!Vegan campfire dinner!Amazing flora on the way to camp.Got my sedan stuck on this rock when I went a little too far down the jeep trail...it's best to be prepared for this sort of thing!

Awards

Best of 2019 Arizona
Finalist
Property
Aquarius Stargazing Ranch
State
Arizona
Country
United States
$24/night
10 Sites
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