For RVers and campers looking to immerse themselves in stunning natural settings, BLM land provides an incredible opportunity. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) oversees 245 million acres of public land across the United States that is open for responsible recreational use. Read on to learn everything you need to know to have a memorable and hassle-free BLM camping experience.
What is BLM Land?
BLM land refers to wide swaths of public land primarily in the western United States managed by the Bureau of Land Management division of the Department of the Interior. These lands were not claimed privately or by the national park system, so they are overseen by BLM for conservation and public use.
BLM land makes up approximately 10% of the total U.S. land area. Within this expansive area, BLM manages designated wilderness areas, forests, canyons, rivers, hot springs, hiking trails, and much more. These lands offer incredible camping, hiking, hunting, fishing, and off-roading opportunities with proper permits and precautions.
Benefits of BLM Camping
Camping on BLM land provides many advantages over private campgrounds:
- Access to incredibly beautiful natural areas at no cost. No fees or reservations required.
- Get away from crowded developed campgrounds for a remote, peaceful experience.
- Enjoy wide open spaces and flexibility. Pick your ideal campsite off the beaten path.
- Immerse yourself in nature without amenities interrupting the setting.
- Explore BLM-managed trails, rivers, hot springs, and landmarks.
- Learn valuable off-grid camping skills and self-reliance.
- Discover secluded areas not accessible within national parks.
As long as you follow proper procedures, BLM camping allows you to connect directly with unspoiled landscapes.
How to Find BLM Land for Camping
With hundreds of millions of acres of public lands available, how do you pinpoint BLM land ideal for camping? Here are helpful resources:
- BLM’s official state-by-state recreational maps showing public lands.
- Apps like OnX Offroad and Avenza Maps which overlay public lands onto topographic maps.
- Tourism bureau websites for regions like Moab or Quartzsite highlighting BLM attractions.
- Dedicated forums like freecampsites.net to find tried and tested BLM sites.
- BLM field offices provide maps and information for regional recreational areas.
- Fueling up or shopping in gateway towns near BLM land and asking locals for recommendations.
Once you identify promising areas, more research is key to selecting the perfect campsite.
Planning Your BLM Camping Trip
To ensure an enjoyable BLM camping experience, proper preparation is crucial:
- Research campground restrictions – Some BLM lands prohibit overnight camping or restrict stay lengths and campfire usage. Always check regional rules.
- Plan your route – Identify the nearest towns for fuel, cellular service, supplies and emergency services. Have backup plans in case sites are taken.
- Pack essential equipment and supplies – Bring everything you will need; BLM sites have no amenities. Prepare for the climate, terrain and likely weather conditions.
- Get permits if required – Some BLM lands require free campfire, hiking, hunting or fishing permits. Obtain them ahead of time.
- Practice Leave No Trace – Follow LNT principles on BLM land to preserve the pristine setting and protect ecosystems.
- File a trip plan with someone – Provide your planned BLM camping locations and return date to a contact at home. Unexpected emergencies happen.
- Get vehicles ready – Ensure your RV, trailer or car is tuned up and equipped for potentially rough dirt roads into campsites.
Proper prep makes your BLM camping adventure safer, more sustainable, and more enjoyable all around.
Finding the Perfect Campsite on BLM Land
When exploring BLM lands, scout for a campsite with:
- Existing flat areas or cleared sites used previously. Avoid damaging new areas.
- Sufficient space for your tent, trailer or RV. Be aware of trailers’ swing radius.
- Access to drinking water – creek, lake or natural source. Filter and treat water.
- Shade shelter – especially important in hot, arid regions.
- Fire ring if campfires are allowed; check for burn bans.
- bear-proof food storage if required by the area.
- Privacy and separation from other campers or roads. Avoid busy areas.
Take time to find the ideal campsite to fully enjoy nature for the duration of your stay.
Responsible BLM Camping Practices
To maintain future access to BLM lands, follow these responsible camping guidelines:
- Strictly adhere to the principles of Leave No Trace. Pack out all trash, bury waste properly, and leave no footprint behind.
- Obey all regional camping limits, fire restrictions, and permits. Avoid unauthorized areas.
- Never damage vegetation, deface rocks, or disturb wildlife. Respect your surroundings.
- When possible, opt for lower impact camping setups like vans instead of large RVs.
- Contain and monitor campfires carefully. Extinguish completely before leaving.
- Research and follow safe sanitation methods for remote camping if no facilities exist.
- Drive and park only on designated roads and sites or firm durable surfaces.
We all share the responsibility of protecting BLM lands by camping conscientiously and sustainably.
BLM land offers limitless potential for scenic camping adventures. By properly planning your trip, exploring responsibly, and respecting these public lands, you can enjoy incredible experiences exploring the remote beauty of BLM lands. Trek out and make your camping memories today!