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Bureau Of Land Management Free Camping

Concerns About Free Camping

Guide to Free Camping on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Land & National Forests

Give it a shot! The first time is the hardest. Camping in ways youre not used to is usually more intimidating than it needs to be. Usually, people expect to be nervous, but it only takes a few times before it becomes second nature. If youve come across more free camping resources wed love to hear it and add to the list!

It Promotes Culture And Recreation For Many People

The possibility for leisure is one of many peoples favorite aspects of BLM land. In these public areas, you can go camping, hiking, biking, kayaking, fishing, and hunting, to name a few activities.

Please remember that the activities are limited, so know whats provided by the local BLM office to determine what is permitted at each location.

Another important duty is to preserve the ecological, cultural, and historic significance of these public areas. You can certainly say that BLM has some of the most interesting cultural sites.

It is indeed fairly incredible that several of Americas best petroglyphs are found in public areas, rather than in National Parks. This allows you to enjoy history without having to deal with a large throng!

Please Camp On Public Land With Care

The immense tracks of public land in the USA is a huge playground. Youll find a plethora of things to see and do, plus places to camp for little or no cost! Just remember it is our land to explore and enjoy. Please treat it as your own by cleaning up after yourself and others. Leave it better than you found it for the next RVers and the next generation.

You can learn more about the Bureau of Land Management and find BLM-managed lands on their website Our comprehensive trip planner RV LIFE Trip Wizard also makes it easy to plan your route. You can even find BLM campgrounds as well as other points of interest. Use it with the RV LIFE App to get RV-safe GPS directions, and read tips and reviews from other RVers on RV LIFE Campgrounds.

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Primitive Or Backcountry Camping

Primitive camping blurs the line with dry camping a bit, but we find that it typically means tent-camping only. Usually this means walking gear far away from your car to get to a fire pit and picnic table. It is frequently synonymous with backpacking and is an adventure of its own rather than just a place to crash.

If you come across a website that says, primitive camping along trail X what this means is you are allowed to hike a tent in, stay for the night, and hike a tent out.

Sometimes primitive camping is close enough to a parking spot that its a good option if you have a tent with you but typically it indicates more than a short walk.

If you are researching campgrounds, primitive camping can either mean no hookups available, or pack-in-pack-out your tent. You will have to call ahead of time to see if drive-in options are accessible.

Cottonwood Recreation Site Joshua Tree National Park Ca

Guide to Free Camping on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Land ...

Stay the night in Joshua Tree National Parks backyard to avoid the crowds. There is dispersed camping right outside the gates both to the north and south of the park, but youll want to head south into the Cottonwood Springs area for space to move around and a quiet night. Once day breaks, rock climb, take in the desert vibes amongst the famous flora, or drive into the park to explore its top sights. Dont forget to get a campfire permit if you plan to use a portable stove or roast marshmallows. Free dispersed camping, $10/night for established campsite,

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Free Camping Tucson Arizona

This was our first time boondocking or dry camping on BLM land and we werent quite sure what to expect. There are multiple entrances into the campground GPS coordinates 32.157842,-111.115391. Some entrances are narrow and steep with brush on either side that could easily scratch a camper or cause it to bottom out. The roads are mostly dirt with some rocky areas and large ruts. Unfortunately we saw a Class A with a toad bottom out on a dip. Make sure to scope out the area if you camp here.

There is a 14 day limit with no amenities. The area was more than half full with tent campers, truck campers, small travel trailers, fifth wheels and motorhomes. Most campers stayed for a night or two then moved on to their next destination.

This free camping spot is not ideal for anyone looking to get away from it all. However, if you dont mind neighbors, its a decent free camping spot near Tucson, Arizona. We found it to be a convenient place for to spend a week and see the sights. We visited Pima Air Museum, which ended up being the highlight of our time in Tucson.

One great thing about our time here was the solar power. The 100 watt portable solar unit kept the coach batteries charged. We didnt have to run the generator for eight days. Normally we have to run the generator for an hour or two each day when dry camping.

The desert sunsets were beautiful. The locals have a saying when the mountains turn pink, its time for a drink.

Backcountry Dispersed Camping Etiquette

Practice the seven principles from Leave No Trace on enjoying the outdoors without impacting the environment negatively.

Leave No Trace principles include:

  • Disposing of waste and trash property
  • Respecting wildlife
  • Being super careful of campfires as well as local fire restrictions
  • Being considerate of other people recreating in the area
  • Leaving your campsite better than you found it

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More Free Public Lands: National Forests And Grasslands

National Forests and Grasslands offer additional options for car campers. These public lands are managed by the Forest Servicea branch of the U.S. Department of Agricultureand theyre rife with free dispersed camping opportunities.

However, just like BLM land, there may be signage that prohibits overnight stays or entry in specific zones. Also, while there are established campgrounds in National Forests and Grasslands, dont expect amenities when looking for free, dispersed car camping. As a rule, be self-sufficient, bring plenty of food and water, etc. Also, practice Leave No Trace principles: camp in existing sites and pack it in, pack it out.

Arriving On Blm Lands

Free Camping at VFW BLM near Yuma, AZ

Many areas have signs next to the highway indicating the start or end of Public Lands. Look for this signage:

Recreation areas may have information boards indicating allowed activities and camping rules.

Here is what I do after arrival:

  • I do my best to arrive before 4 pm in a new area. Searching for a site after dark is no fun.
  • I study my paper and/or online maps to ensure I stay within the BLM boundaries.
  • I look for information boards . Those are really helpful but rare!
  • I pick an unoccupied site using basic common sense
  • I clean the site broken glass, trash, etc. You do not want to ruin your tires or cut yourself during your stay.
  • I walk the neighborhood just to see who is near and what escapes routes I have in case of emergencies or danger. I generally park my vehicle pointing towards the road for a faster getaway!
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    How To Reserve Your Blm Campground

    To reserve your BLM campsite, visit From the results page, BLM campgrounds are listed by area. Each campground includes a brief description of amenities and details of reservation. An interactive map also allows you to check available campsites and to reserve your spot with an online payment system.

    Finding Blm Rv Campgrounds

    The BLM Website will get you to information about it’s developed BLM campgrounds. The website will guide you by state to the various BLM Field Offices, and each Field Office has links to it’s campgrounds. There are a few BLM campgrounds that allow reservations, and you might try searching for them at

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    How To Find Exact Dispersed Camping Boundaries

    The trickiest part about dispersed camping is finding out exactly where its legal to camp. National Forest boundaries are not clearly marked from the road.

    Our #1 tip is to talk to a local park ranger. They can give you the best lay of the land, road conditions, and any special considerations that need to be taken into account.

    Aside from that, the USDA offers this interactive map which accurately labels the National Forest boundaries in Washington.

    Blm Land Camping Rules Summary

    Free Camping Tucson, Arizona

    The Bureau of Land Management manages over 240 MILLION acres of land in the USA. Fortunately for us, its here for us to use and enjoy! Many people have heard that using BLM land is possible, but because it isnt advertised like National Parks, many people dont know much when it comes to actually get the info needed to go explore this wonderful land or how to find BLM land.

    The first and most obvious stop to make when gathering info on how to find BLM land is heading to There you will find more info than you know what to do with regarding rules, maps, activities, and missions related to the preservation and use of BLM managed lands.

    On the right-hand side of the home screen is a link labeled Visit, clicking that link will take you to a search page within BLM that will allow you to search by state and filter by recreation activity type . Its a great resource that will get you started in the right direction when starting to plan out your next adventure.

    Many people assume that BLM camping is all free, and while many areas of land are free to camp, some areas have a day-use fee area, they refer to these as Developed Camping Areas and in these areas, you can usually find vault style toilets, designated fire pits and sometimes a picnic bench. In these Developed Campgrounds, there is a pay station where you can place your fee in an envelope and tear off the receipt portion to leave fixed to your campsite so passing rangers will see you paid.

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    What Are The Best States For Blm Camping And Recreation

    We have a lot of experience with both recreating and camping on BLM Land. Although Alaska has the most of it, we hardly suggests its the best. The hard to access quality of Alaska BLM, ranks it rather low on our list.

    Below are our three favorite states for BLM. Well share with you a few of our favorite BLM campsites.

    The Ultimate Guide To Blm Camping With Your Rv

    Bureau of Land Management land is home to epic campsites, but finding them can be intimidating. Experienced boondockers Jesse and Rachael Lyons share their tips for successful RV camping on BLM land.

    Did you know that some of the most scenic and spacious campsites in the U.S. are free or budget-friendly? Those seeking a more natural and remote RV experience should try BLM camping. If youre unfamiliar with BLM, intimidated to camp on public lands, or looking for campsites to add to your bucket list, this guide to RV camping on BLM land shares it all.

    BLM, or the Bureau of Land Management, is a federal agency under the U.S. Department of the Interior that oversees more than 247.3 million acres of land. Much of it is available to the public for camping.

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    The agencys mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. While RVers primarily use the BLM lands allocated for camping, hiking, and recreation, thats only one way the Bureau of Land Management permits its public use. It can also be used for livestock grazing, conservation, mining, timber harvesting, cultural preservation, and energy production.

    So, how can you respectfully use BLM land for camping and RVing? Lets find out.

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    What Is Free Camping

    Free camping is camping overnight in your RV or tent at a location where you do not have to pay. Most free campsites are not in developed campgrounds. Free camping is sometimes called boondocking, primitive camping, dry camping, and dispersed camping.

    Free camping areas appeal to some campers simply because it doesnt cost money, but others may find additional benefits to a free camp site, including the pleasures of camping without amenities, the option to camp farther away from other people than can be found in a campground, and the remote nature of many free campsites.

    Blm Land And Its Purpose

    Desert Peak BLM free dispersed camping review

    If youre wondering more about the purpose of the BLM lang and why it is utilized as it is right now, then we have all the answers for you. The areas are not just used solely for camping on BLM land, the whole concept can be used for a variety of things, hence why it is so amazing for us and for many people thats been familiar and knowledgeable about it already. The Department of the Interior oversees the agency, which is overseen by the US Congress. Theyve indicated numerous possibilities for this area in their stated mission.

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    Rv Camping Blm Campgrounds

    The Bureau of Land Management has over 400 BLM campgrounds, almost all suitable for RV camping. BLM manages vast land areas that are often little used, but these vast lands also offer solitude and outdoor recreation opportunities to RVers willing to explore.

    The USA RV Camping Map on our home page has links to each individual states BLM information page. BLM manages lands in the western USA and Alaska and does not have offices in all states.

    How Much Blm Land Is In The Usa

    How much BLM land is in the USA? An awful lot!

    Since its origin in 1812, spurred by the Louisiana Purchase, the USA government has been controlling BLM Land .

    History of BLM Land

    Today BLM controls more than 245 MILLION surface acres of land. The Department of Interior has this to say about the amount of land the BLM manages:

    The agency manages 1 in 10 acres in the U.S., or about 12 percent of the landmass of the U.S. Thats a little bit less than the size of Texas. The land is primarily located in the western states, including Alaska, California, New Mexico and Wyoming. DOI Website

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    Free Car Camping On Private Property Parking Lots Etc

    MoochdockingRemember earlier when we were joking about camping at your moms house? Well, we werent joking at all. When you have an RV, van, or SUV with a Luno Car Air Mattress in the back, its easy to camp curbside or in the driveway of family or friends. RVers call this moochdocking, and its a great way to camp for free. We suggest bringing beeror be ready to chip in on some yardworkto thank your host.

    Parking LotsParking lot camping isnt an option if youre pitching a tent, but if youre self-sufficient and self-contained in your vehicle, the world is your oyster. Walmarts and Cracker Barrels are famous for letting vehicles stay the night, but thats not always the case, so be sure to check for signs when you pull in. Casinos are another popular option for parking lot camping. It makes sensecasinos are often open all night long and the parking lots are crowded. Dont be surprised if you do get the dreaded knock at a casino, though, as they want you inside spending money, not catching up on beauty sleep in the parking lot.

    Residential AreasCar camping in residential areas is hit or miss. If you camp in a residential neighborhood, try to find a quiet, dark parking spot. Be on the lookout for no parking signs and abide by them. Keep a low profilewe like to use window screens and a privacy curtain. Also, its always best to arrive late and leave early.

    Is Blm Camping Legal

    Your Guide to BLM Camping and Recreation

    While many people assume camping on BLM land is illegal, its actually allowed as long as campers follow the agencys guidelines. These guidelines protect the land, its resources, and they ensure that everyone can enjoy their time on public lands.

    Some of the BLMs guidelines for camping include getting a permit if planning to stay for over 14 days, following all fire regulations, and properly disposing of all trash and waste. By following these and other guidelines, campers can help to preserve the beauty of BLM lands for future generations.

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    New To Reading Topo Maps

    Check out How to Read a Topo Map by REI. The REI webpage is super informative. It is extremely important to know how to read a topo map, especially if you are going to explore the backcountry.

    Sometimes you dont want to be glued to your phone. It is more likely you wont have cell phone reception to navigate. By the same token knowing how to read a topo map is a cool life skill.

    Additionally, for safety, yours, and the environment, it is essential to know how to recreate responsibly, plan ahead, and know where you are going. Be sure to let someone else know where you are going too.

    Blm Promotes Energy Self

    The purpose of this is not just to let people enjoy their camping on BLM land.

    The bureaus first purpose is to promote energy development. Natural gas, oil, coal, and clean energy are all examples of this. To explore possible energy options, the government will effectively rent out parts of the property.

    Such clean energy projects taking place on BLM land are quite interesting. Geothermal and biomass energy sources, in addition to solar and wind energy, are being investigated.

    Timber harvest and animal grazing are also carried out on the property. At a BLM site, its not uncommon to see lots of cows and even cow pies!

    The BLM really does promote amazing things with its existence and its priceless to see many people supporting this while still being able to enjoy the sight of nature.

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