12 great no-entry-fee public lands

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By Russ and Tiña De Maris

Looking for a place to take your RV but keep the costs down? Here’s a list of a number of BLM (Bureau of Land Management) lands around the country that charge no entry fees.

12 great no-entry-fee public lands
Photo courtesy of International Mountain Bicycling Association.

Oregon: Sandy Ridge Trail System

Great for mountain bikers, the Sandy Ridge Trail System is home to 17 miles of fee-free trails ranging from machine-built beginner levels to double diamond expert level. So whether you’re just getting started or a seasoned professional, Sandy Ridge will have you “wheelieing” away. And if biking isn’t your thing, no worries. The area has picnicking, camping and hiking opportunities waiting for you, too.

12 great no-entry-fee public lands
Photo: Bob Wick, BLM

California: King Range National Conservation Area

Grab your surfboard and hit the waves at King Range National Conservation Area. This remote paradise offers 35 miles of coastline that is perfect for fishing, hiking, horseback riding, camping and more. Accessible by only a few back roads, King Range’s dramatic landscape is perfect for your summer adventures. Please note that visitors planning to explore wilderness areas will need a backcountry permit and large organized groups will be charged fees for Special Recreation Permits.

12 great no-entry-fee public lands
Photo: Diane Garcia, sharetheexperience.org

Utah: Bonneville Salt Flats

The Bonneville Salt Flats aren’t your average adventure spot. Remnant of ancient Lake Bonneville, this 30,000-acre site is one of Earth’s more unique landscapes. Who would’ve thought that sodium chloride – the same salt that we put on food – is great for motorsports, archery competitions, rocket launches, photography, videography and more? These flats are a cool fee-free destination for the whole family. Don’t be salty – check this place out! And when you visit, remember to use Leave No Trace practices and please stay off the salt when wet.

12 great no-entry-fee public lands
Photo: Sherman Hogue, Bureau of Land Management

New Mexico: The Box Recreation Area

Are you a climber looking for a challenge? The Box Recreation Area is filled with technical rock climbing and bouldering opportunities. This scenic and rugged 640-acre area calls climbers from around the world to test their skills. Check out the Waterfall Wall, Corner Block and the Filet de Papillon Wall. Before heading out, be sure to check temperatures, as they can get up into the high 90s during the summer. Have fun, stay safe and enjoy a finance friendly day.

12 great no-entry-fee public lands
Photo: Bob Wick, Bureau of Land Management

Idaho: Bruneau-Jarbidge Rivers Wilderness Area

There’s nothing like family bonding, colorful skies and no fees. Hike to the edge of a massive canyon at the Bruneau-Jarbidge Rivers Wilderness Area for some spectacular views and be sure to keep an eye out for roaming wildlife such as California bighorn sheep. Want something a little more fast paced? Try whitewater rafting. While braving rapid waters is exciting, it can also be tough, so make sure you’re with an experienced rafter.

12 great no-entry-fee public lands
Photo: Bob Wick, Bureau of Land Management

Florida: Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse Outstanding Natural Area

We’re not sure what’s better — Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse Outstanding Natural Area’s amazing views or all of its recreation opportunities. It might be a tie, but we’ll let you be the judge. “Seas” the day in sunny South Florida and you might even spot a manatee or two. It’s easy to fill the day snorkeling, paddling, boating, diving, swimming and hiking without emptying your pockets. Plan your budget-friendly visit and see for yourself.

12 great no-entry-fee public lands
Photo: Heather Stacy, Bureau of Land Management

California: Copper Basin Dunes Off-Highway Vehicle Area

Whether you’re looking for four- or two-wheeled fun, Copper Basin Dunes Off-Highway Vehicle Area is the perfect playground, offering riders a chance to hit the gravel at no cost. Before you head out, make sure to check the guidelines and restrictions. If you need a break from riding, check out some of the picnic spots in the area or visit the nearby Lake Havasu, which is known for its popular swimming and boating spots.

12 great no-entry-fee public landsWyoming: Oregon Buttes Wilderness Study Area

Unleash your inner photographer at Oregon Buttes Wilderness Study Area. Head out to this hidden gem of the Red Desert to capture the sunrise, sunset or both. This BLM-administered area offers 5,700 picturesque acres of fresh air and fun that are great for hiking, rock climbing, rockhounding, hunting, horseback riding and more. You won’t want to miss out on these breathtaking views.

12 great no-entry-fee public lands
Photo courtesy Sydney Martinez of TravelNevada

Nevada: Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area

Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area has your next low-budget adventure all lined up. From scrambling across fossilized sand dunes, to exploring the recesses between rocks, to climbing sheer rocks or just enjoying the scenic beauty along the road, Red Rock Canyon has it all. Check out Oak Creek, First Creek or the Calico Basin area for freebie fun. For details on all of the areas within Red Rock Canyon, contact the Red Rock/Sloan Canyon Field Office. When you visit, always check temperatures before heading out, especially if you’re planning to climb. For the best experience possible, we highly recommend arriving early to beat the heat and the crowds. See for yourself why this gorgeous area receives 3.1 millions visitors a year.

12 great no-entry-fee public lands
Photo: Bob Wick, Bureau of Land Management

Colorado: Canyons of the Ancient National Monument

What a priceless view! Literally. Canyons of the Ancient National Monument not only has stunning skies, it also has a deeply rich history of culture and traditions spanning thousands of years. This monument offers an unparalleled experience in celebrating the past and enjoying the present — so grab your bikes, off highway vehicles, hunting and camping gear and venture out onto your historical public lands.

12 great no-entry-fee public lands
Photo: Bob Wick, Bureau of Land Management

Montana: Bear Trap Canyon

Life is good, but it’s even better while whitewater rafting. The Bear Trap Canyon unit of the Lee Metcalf Wilderness has more than 6,000 acres of beautiful wilderness and exciting recreation choices to pick from, including the famous Kitchen Sink Rapid, a difficult stretch of Class IV – V rapids that provide a challenge to even the most experienced rafters. Before you take on this wild ride, be sure to check river levels and temperatures to ensure that you have a safe and enjoyable visit. Fishing, hiking and other more laid-back recreation activities are also available if relaxation is what you seek.

12 great no-entry-fee public lands
Photo: Bob Wick, Bureau of Land Management

Alaska: White Mountains National Recreation Area

The White Mountains National Recreation Area, home to the gorgeous Beaver Creek Wild and Scenic River, offers a whole mountain of outdoor opportunities. This 1-million-acre playground is known for its jagged limestone peaks and long list of recreation choices that can be enjoyed year-round. Depending on the season, visitors can choose from winter sports, water sports, camping, hunting, fishing and more. This dazzling area also has Dall sheep, peregrine falcons, owls and migratory birds roaming around, so get your cameras ready too.

Take note: While there are no entry fees for these locations, other amenities such as campgrounds may have associated fees.

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Dennis Kreuzenstein

Copper Basin Dunes Off-Highway Vehicle Area is not in Arizona, it is in California. It is on Parker Dam Road on the California side of the Colorado River.
https://www.blm.gov/visit/copper-basin-dunes-ohv-area