Boondocking is a camping option just outside the boundaries of Joshua Tree National Park and for those who plan to thoroughly explore this vast wilderness, dispersed camping is the thrifty way to go. Free camping in a BLM Dispersed Area not only saves money, it is a viable option when the developed campgrounds inside a park are booked solid for several months in advance. All that is required is to follow the dispersed camping rules, which can be found at regional BLM or National Forest Service websites.
There are two official BLM Dispersed Camping Areas at Joshua Tree National Park. One is located near the north entrance, but hardly anybody camps there because of the high volume of ATV traffic in this outdoor playground. The BLM Dispersed Campground that is located just outside the National Park south border is a much quieter place to get some rest. The dirt roads in this area are easy to navigate with an RV camper or trailer and there are plenty of cozy spots for car or tent camping. There are several campsites with existing stone campfire rings in this area, but it is best to check the current fire regulations before striking a match in order to avoid a steep fine.
The South Joshua Tree Dispersed Camping Area is located on a slope at the end of a massive mountain dry wash that overlooks the I-10 Freeway and the views of the distant mountains certainly are enticing. Because cel phone service is available along the major highways in California, a fairly strong data signal can be found in this place. Being able to catch up on communications and website work is a real plus when camping way out in the middle of nowhere, especially during inclement weather when there is nothing else to do except to stay dry. For this reason, the BLM Dispersed Campground on the south end is good to keep in mind when planning an extended Joshua Tree National Park venture!
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