Looking to take advantage of the best BLM camping areas where you can enjoy picturesque views for free?
As full-time RVers, we travel all over the U.S. in search of the best camping on public lands where we can stop and enjoy nature for a while.
One of the best things about traveling by RV is the ability to visit beautiful destinations with all of the comforts of home, minus the cost and hassle of flights, rental cars, and hotels or Air BnBs. RV camping allows you to travel with amenities while also having amazing landscapes, hiking trails, and adventures waiting outside your door.
Throughout our full-time RVing adventures we have found some great places to call home for a while, away from pricey campgrounds and neighbors that are a bit too close. Just like our state park camping list, below is our ever-expanding run-down of the best BLM camping and free camping areas for the off-grid RVer!
Best Way To Use This Guide:
- Check out the information and the pros and cons of each free camping site in the description
- View photos of each BLM or boondocking site for inspiration for your travels
- Learn about nearby attractions to understand what a trip itinerary in the area would look like
- Explore the map to get a bird’s eye view of the area and check suitability for your RV
Best BLM & Free Camping Sites in the U.S.
As a couple living full-time in our RV, we traveled 15,000 miles in our first year on the road and haven’t stopped since! During that time we stayed at some amazing campgrounds and state parks, beautiful free dispersed camping sites, and peaceful BLM camping areas. Boondocking affords us the ability to keep our living costs low, live more sustainably, and be mindful of our ecological footprint.
The federal government in the United States, through the Department of the Interior and the Bureau of Land Management, has many areas designated for free camping that are great for getting out into nature, having epic outdoor adventures, and creating space to unwind and unplug. We hope this list can serve as motivation to venture into the outdoors, go camping, and take advantage of the U.S.’s public lands that have so much to offer and give you the confidence to spend some time off-grid!
We love these specific free camping locations for the balance of great views, privacy, and plenty of space to roam, and often having convenient locations to National Parks, National Forests, great hikes, and other popular attractions.
Pump Station Road, Tuscon Arizona
Pump Station Road is a remote desert oasis with plenty of BLM free camping only 30 minutes from downtown Tuscon. Here you can spread out under the Arizona sun, hike among the saguaros, and set up a home base while exploring great local adventures such as Mount Lemon, Saguaro National Park, or the Sabino Canyon Recreation Area. We loved our stay in the Sonoran Desert and think this is a great spot for some winter boondocking.
- Large area with plenty of sites, many of which are well spread out
- Beautiful views and amazing sunsets
- A great winter destination due to its warm and pleasant weather
- Level sites and a wide access road (some bumps and washboard, but okay for big rigs)
- The desert ecosystem can be very dirty and dusty
- The location is a bit far from local attractions (can expect a 30 or so minute drive to most places)
Our Tip: If you have a big rig, we recommend scouting before turning down any side roads. We found the largest and most level sites to be close to the main access road. Further down the side roads had large holes and unlevel terrain we would not be comfortable driving over with our fifth wheel.
- Mount Lemon
- Saguaro National Park
- Coronado National Forest
- Sabino Canyon Recreation Area
- Ironwood Forest National Monument
- Picacho Peak State Park
Lone Rock Beach, Lake Powell (Big Water Utah)
This dispersed camping area might not be free, but we didn’t feel it would be right to leave it off the list. For $14/night, you can camp on Lone Rock Beach overlooking Wahweap Bay, which connects to Lake Powell.
It is a beautiful setting that is also convenient to Page, Arizona, and popular attractions including Horseshoe Bend and Antelope Canyon! This was a fun beach camping experience and made for some stunning backdrops for great sunsets and nights cooking dinner outside. If you are careful about where you drive in this sandy playground, you will be rewarded with a camping experience well worth the nightly price!
- Beautiful views and waterfront real estate!
- Open skies great for solar and Starlink
- Facilities on site (only available during peak season)
- Convenient to Page, AZ, and great local attractions
- This location tends to be very windy, especially at night. You might want to consider this when setting up.
- This is a popular place and can be very busy. You can expect to see people wandering through your site and close to your RV
Our Tip: Walk the route to your chosen spot before driving it to check how hard or soft and how deep the sand is. We saw SO MANY RVs, cars, and campervans get stuck in deep sand. It can be really deceiving! Bonus points if you bring boards or tracks as a backup if you get stuck.
Read more in our in-depth guide to Lake Powell RV Camping
- Lake Powell
- Glen Canyon National Recreation Area
- Horseshoe Bend
- Lee’s Ferry
- Wahweap Overlook
- Page, Arizona
- Antelope Canyon
- Vermillion Cliffs National Monument
- Buckskin Gulch
- Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument
- Glen Canyon Dam + Carl Hayden Visitor Center
- Coconino National Forest
- Rainbow Bridge National Monument
- Tower Butte
- Grand Canyon North Rim
Old Highway 89 Dispersed Camping, Mt. Carmel Utah
Tucked into a small area looking out onto colorful canyons and hills, this free camping area on BLM land is close to both Kanab Utah and the east entrance of Zion National Park. While small in size, if you are able to snag a spot here you will be treated to a peaceful setting near many bucket list destinations in Utah. This is more of a no-frills boondocking area, not the most glamorous or stunning, but it is free, beautiful, and convenient. In our opinion, we also found this to be the better of the two boondocking spots in this area.
- Close to the East entrance of Zion National Park
- Great views and close to Kanab restaurants and sights
- This is a very small BLM free camping area and only a few sites are suitable for larger rigs
- There were several animal carcasses that were a bit of a nuisance to our dog
Our tip: Scout first. We pulled over just after pulling onto the access road and checked out this area on foot. There were some roads we are glad we did not go down and it would have been tough to turn around if there were no spots available.
- Kanab Utah
- Zion National Park (East entrance)
- Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park
- Belly of the Dragon
- Peek-a-boo Slot Canyon
- Moqui Cave
- Vermillion Cliffs National Monument
- Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument
- Lake Powell & Page, Arizona
- The Wave
- Yant Flat Candy Cliffs
Tom Best Spring Road Dispersed Camping, Panguitch Utah
At Tom Best Spring Road, you can choose a free camping spot in the shade of the towering pines, or in an open valley with sweeping views of nearby canyons. We loved this boondocking spot for its close proximity to Bryce Canyon National Park and Red Canyon. It allowed us to go on long hikes and bike rides after work and feel comfortable leaving Azalea behind when we ventured into the National Park. It has solid cell service (depending on how far down Tom Best Spring Rd you go) and was perfect weather when we stayed here in April!
- A mix of spots in the trees and spots out in the open
- Close to Bryce Canyon National Park and Red Canyon for quick and accessible hiking adventures
- Pronghorn graze regularly in this area – a beautiful sight!
- There is not much in terms of dining or groceries in this area so you’ll want to come prepared with most of what you need
Our Tip: Cell service can be spotty especially as you go further down the road. If you rely on cell service for work or want to stay connected while off-grid, staying in a spot closer to the road might be your best bet.
- Bryce Canyon National Park
- Dixie National Forest
- Cedar Breaks National Monument
- Bryce Red Rock Highway
- Red Canyon
Beas Lewis Dispersed Camping, Torrey Utah
If you are looking for free BLM camping near Capitol Reef National Park, you can’t get much closer than Beas Lewis Dispersed Camping area. This area is large enough for several RVs of different sizes and we found it to be much more private and spread out between sites than the parking lot style camping area just outside the Capitol Reef National Park entrance. This campsite is all about location and serves up some nice views in addition. We believe you shouldn’t miss a chance to visit Capitol Reef National Park and Beas Lewis Dispersed Camping is a great place to stay during your visit.
- Very close to Capitol Reef National Park and has beautiful views
- Lots of free camping spots and not too far from the road into town
- Windy and very dusty
Our tip: This is another windy location, especially in the spring. We would definitely recommend checking weather forecasts (using tools like the windy app) before your journey and parking your RV into the wind to help with stability.
- Capitol Reef National Park
- Cathedral Valley
- Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument
- Lower Calf Creek Falls
- Mystic Hot Springs
- Goblin Valley State Park
Check out our Guide To Boondocking Near Capitol Reef National Park for more information!
Last Dollar Road, Telluride Colorado & Lizard Head Pass, Ophir Colorado
Camping looking out over the San Juan Mountains on Last Dollar Road in Telluride was one of our favorite free camping experiences! Telluride offers a dramatic landscape of staggering mountains and deep box canyons interspersed with vivid wildflowers and flowing waterfalls. In addition, it is a charming mountain town and this area of Colorado has some seriously amazing hiking opportunities.
If you are a lover of nature, hiking, or outdoor adventures, southwest Colorado should definitely be on your bucket list! We ended up staying at Last Dollar Road after finding out that the Lizard Head Pass Dispersed Camping area was not yet open for the season when we arrived the first week in June. It opens typically in the middle of June and would be another great camping area that is more easily accessed than Last Dollar Road.
- Some of the most breathtaking boondocking views
- Easy access to Telluride, an area that does not have many camping options for large rigs
- Good cell service and open space for Starlink
- Dispersed camping area suitable for large rigs is small and can be crowded
- Most sites are unlevel and will require several blocks and some maneuvering
- The road up to the free camping area is steep and has some large holes at the entrance
Our Tip: Scout ahead of time! We made our way up Last Dollar Road to this boondocking area without scouting and luckily caught someone leaving and were able to snag a spot. Hindsight, we would have liked to scout first as it could have been really tough to turn around if it was full. In addition, we would recommend carefully deciding which way you access the road depending on the size of your rig.
You can read more about those details and precautions in our complete guide to camping at Last Dollar Road!
- Telluride Colorado & Mountain Village
- Bridal Veil Falls
- Bear Creek Falls
- Telluride Via Ferrata
- San Juan Mountains & San Juan National Forest
- Hope Lake
- Blue Lakes
- Ice Lake Basin
- Ouray, Silverton, & Ridgway, Colorado
- Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
Maps (Last Dollar Road & Lizard Head Pass):
Raspberry Gulch Dispersed Camping, Nathrop Colorado
Raspberry Gulch offers free camping within close proximity to two great Colorado towns; Buena Vista and Salida. Set along the winding Arkansas River, these towns are perfect if you love water adventures such as tubing, rafting, or kayaking, slow nights listening to live music, or great food. Here you can find large and secluded spots, mountain views, and plenty of cute cows roaming around. We loved using this boondocking area as a home base for several epic Colorado adventures near and far.
- Very quiet area close to great towns and fun hiking
- Spots are spread out and fairly private
- Road in is accessible and well maintained
- There are a lot of free-range cows in the area. This can be tough if you have a dog that is bothered by cows walking through your site. They get up close and personal! (still very cute)
- The initial part of the road is dirt and can get very muddy and slick in heavy rain, making it hard to travel on
Our tip: Go straight at the maps and portable toilet to find an open area ideal for Starlink and solar. This is a great spot if you don’t want to be too far from the main road for adventures. If you go further you can also get great spots nestled in the trees or in the open field with better views of the mountains if you don’t mind being a bit further from town!
- Buena Vista
- Mount Elbert
- Pike and San Isabel National Forest
- Leadville, CO (the highest incorporated city in the U.S.)
- Browns Canyon National Monument
- The Decalibron
- Great Sand Dunes National Park
Warren Bridge Dispersed Camping, Pinedale Wyoming
Warren Bridge Dispersed Camping area wins our award for our favorite free camping destination for privacy and relaxation. We spent two weeks in this secluded spot with private riverfront access and never had another RV within 1 mile of us. We spent our evenings cooling off in the water, playing frisbee on our private lawn, and watching the star-filled sky. This was the place we felt most off-grid and remote and it was a feeling like no other. 12/10 would highly recommend taking some time to slow down in a destination like this!
- Peaceful and secluded with scenic river views. The closest RV was about 1 mile away and we heard nothing but the sounds of the river
- Great for solar and Starlink and fairly close to the Wind River Range (~1 hour)
- You are in nature’s home. We did experience some mice in our fifth wheel’s basement
- The area is fairly remote and not close to much. We did go into Pinedale for a meal at the brewery and some groceries (about 35 minutes away)
Our tip: Most sites in this BLM camping area are down hills away from the road. We found it easiest to scout with our drone and on foot to check which spots were available prior to driving our RV down due to some spots being potentially difficult to turn around.
- Wind River Range
- Pinedale Wyoming
- Grand Teton National Park
- Yellowstone National Park
Bootjack Road Dispersed Camping, Island Park Idaho
Bootjack Road Dispersed Camping area surprised us in the best way. While close to the Yellowstone National Park west entrance, it was a bit of a drive to get deeper into the park. This was okay for us and was made up for by the fact that we shared this place to call home with moose for the duration of our stay. It was peaceful and felt magical with the vibrant Milky Way each night and moose running around in open fields right outside our door each morning and evening.
- Some of the best wildlife viewing we experienced! We saw moose every day in this area
- Fairly close to West Yellowstone, made for a good day trip into Yellowstone National Park
- Very dark skies allowed for excellent astrophotography opportunities!
- Some light road noise during the early hours of the morning from the nearby highway
Our tip: Many of the free campsites in this area are in the trees. If you rely on solar and are a Starlink user, we recommend picking a spot in the open areas on the hill towards the end of the road. There is a turnaround at the end of the road prior to a gate if you go too far.
- Yellowstone National Park
- West Yellowstone
- Henry’s Lake State Park
North Pole Road Dispersed Camping, Custer South Dakota
Custer South Dakota is a beautiful destination that we’re so glad we added to the first year of our RV road trip itinerary. You will love visiting here if you enjoy tranquil forests, an abundance of wildlife, the opportunity to explore multiple National Parks and Monuments, and unique rock formations with an impressive geological history. North Pole Road is a free camping area that offers a few great spots in this popular South Dakota destination. The perfect retreat after a day of exploring and hiking!
- Convenient to great local attractions and hikes in the Custer area of South Dakota (where many campgrounds are pricy)
- Very quiet free camping
- While covering a large area, this forest road has limited dispersed camping spots
Our Tip: Take it slow. The road into this free camping area has some tight turns and steep sections. We were able to make it up and back out just fine in our 38-foot fifth wheel, but know that it could get tight if you run into an oncoming RV. Also, be on the lookout for deer. We saw many here!
- Custer State Park
- Wind Cave National Park
- Jewel Cave National Monument
- Mount Rushmore
- Black Hills National Forest
- Crazy Horse
- Hell Canyon
Nomad View Dispersed Camping, Wall South Dakota
The infamous “wall” is a boondocking location that has been popularized by the movie “Nomadland.” You can expect this location to be filled with RVs or tents nearly every night… and it is clear to see why! Mesmerizing sweeping views of the badlands, right outside the entrance of Badlands National Park. Hike, hang out with the bighorn sheep, soak in brilliant sunsets, and watch the Badlands change colors as the sun crosses the sky throughout the day in this picture-perfect BLM free camping spot.
- Unique views on the edge of the Badlands
- Close to the Badlands Pinnacle entrance station where you can see bison, pronghorn, and bighorn sheep
- Great cell service, Starlink access, and solar!
- It is windy! Think about your setup based on the wind direction and be careful along the edges of the wall. We enjoyed parking across from the wall’s edge to have more space and still had great views.
- Sites are very unlevel
- This camping area is far from many of the hikes near the main visitor center for Badlands National Park. The drive through the park is gorgeous though!
Our tip: There are two entrances to this free camping area along “The Wall.” We found the second entrance (closest to the Badlands National Park Entrance Station) to be the easiest to navigate with our larger rig. The first entrance is doable but has a very steep hill to get over. This place is busy and you can expect a lot of turnover so you might be able to change spots throughout your stay!
Read more in our detailed guide on camping in the Badlands of South Dakota
- Wall Drug
- Badlands National Park
- Buffalo Gap National Grassland
More Information On BLM Camping
BLM land allows for two primary types of camping: dispersed camping and camping in designated BLM campgrounds.
Dispersed camping provides the opportunity to camp in more remote areas, away from developed campgrounds. It’s an excellent option for those seeking solitude and a closer connection with nature. Campers must follow “Leave No Trace” principles, as dispersed camping typically lacks amenities like pit toilets or vault toilets and potable water sources.
On the other hand, BLM campgrounds offer more organized camping facilities, including designated BLM campsites, fire rings, picnic tables, garbage cans, and sometimes amenities like restrooms and potable water. These campgrounds are suitable for those who prefer a bit more convenience and structure while still enjoying the beauty of BLM land, but will often come with a small nightly fee, rather than being free.
Both options are on a first-come first-served basis and are typically minimally maintained. You can expect dirt or gravel roads, potholes, and maybe even some free-range cattle roaming around.
Keep in mind that many BLM camping areas have stay limits, typically somewhere around 14 consecutive days. More motivation to continue on and explore new places!
Whether you are dispersed camping or in a BLM campsite, both allow you to explore and appreciate the vast and diverse landscapes found on BLM land around the country…while adhering to responsible camping practices to preserve these precious natural resources for future generations of course!
Where Can BLM Land Be Found?
Most BLM land is found in the western United States. Specifically, the best states to find BLM land for public use include Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, and Wyoming.
These states are known for their vast and diverse landscapes, including deserts, forests, mountains, canyons, and grasslands, which are managed by the BLM for various uses, including recreation, wildlife habitat, grazing, and mineral resources.
So while your awesome solar panels may come in handy out west, if you plan to explore along the East Coast (which we highly recommend as well), you can expect your camping experience to be a bit different. Free dispersed camping will be few and far between, but there are plenty of State Parks, National Parks, and National Seashores to explore…some even with the option of dry camping if you want that off-grid experience!
Is trying to understand the difference between primitive camping, dry camping, dispersed camping, and boondocking making your head spin?
Check out our Boondocking Guide For Beginners to become an off-grid RVing expert!
Most areas with BLM land will have a local BLM office where you can ask questions about camping, activities allowed, or stay limits.
- You can learn more on the BLM website
- They also have a great interactive map of BLM Recreational Opportunities in the U.S.
BLM & Free Camping Overall
Boondocking, or free camping, on public lands can be an amazing experience. It can make for some memorable adventures, be the perfect way to unplug and have a digital detox vacation or be just what you need to make for the perfect RV travel destination.
BLM and free camping require a bit more preparation to ensure you are ready for off-grid living, but in our experience, once you get a taste of the freedom of dispersed camping you can’t get enough of it! We hope you will get to enjoy some of these great camping destinations or the many gems that the U.S. has to offer.
Share with us your favorite BLM or free camping spots… we would love to hear about them and add them to our bucket list!
Interested in RVing and off-grid camping? You might also be interested in these articles:
- Best RV Boondocking Tips: How to live well in wild places
- 51 Best Boondocking Tips
- Starlink for RV’s Remote Internet: Complete Guide & Review (2023)
- Best State Parks For Camping (That Are Big-RIg Friendly!)
- Best Apps For RVing: Proven Reliable Resources
Please protect these areas - for the wildlife, the environment, and for the enjoyment of future generations. Practice Leave No Trace