Try winter boondocking at LTVAs in AZ and CA deserts

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Here’s a question from a reader of RVtravel.com about boondocking. 

Hi Bob,
I think your articles in RV Travel every week are great! We are planning a travel trailer trip next spring to Utah and Arizona, and maybe more. Your info on BLM camping will help us a lot. Since most of the areas are without amenities, do you have info, or know where we can get it, regarding dump stations along Southwest highways?

I look forward to your response and future info. We are finally retired and ready to travel. Our only trip so far was for a month in New England and Canada with a mix of full service and primitive camping. Can’t wait to see the Southwest.

Thanks, and enjoy your day. —Deb


Hi Deb,
The most popular boondocking areas are the Long Term Visitor Areas (LTVA) near attractions in California (Imperial Dam) and Arizona (Quartzsite – La Posa). There are six LTVAs in California and two in Arizona, but none in Utah. However, dispersed camping is allowed on most BLM land even if it is not a designated LTVA.

Cost for these LTVAs is based on length of stay requested. A multi-month permit good at any BLM LTVA is $180, and you can stay or move among LTVAs as you wish with this pass. A shorter 14-day permit is also available for $40. Near the LTVAs are 14-day limit areas that allow you to camp for free on BLM public lands. These areas are plainly marked, and you can get information about specific locations of the LTVAs through the appropriate BLM Field Office. Permits can be purchased at the entrance station to each LTVA. Some of the LTVA have dump stations but Sanidump (link below) lists all the dump stations in these states.

A good way to find other boondocking (dispersed camping) locations is to talk to other boondockers to find out their favorite locations. You can also watch along the highways you travel for RVs that seem to be parked out in the middle of nowhere. There will be compacted dirt roads leading off the highways to get to these spots. One of the fun things to do in Arizona is exploring and following these dirt roads to boondocking campsites that can’t be seen from the main highway.

Here are some links to more boondocking information on the Internet:

Sanidumps RV dump station directory
BLM Long-Term Visitor Area (LTVA) – MAP (includes field offices)
La Posa Long Term Visitor Area
Midland Long Term Visitor Area
Imperial Dam Long Term Visitor Area
BLM Arizona (lists locations of field offices)
BLM California
BLM Utah
RV-Camping – Arizona (lists campgrounds, dispersed camping locations, and dump stations in Arizona)
RV-Camping – Utah (lists campgrounds, dispersed camping locations, and dump stations in Utah)

Read more about boondocking at my BoondockBob’s Blog.
Check out my Kindle e-books about boondocking at Amazon.

Do you have a question for Bob? Email him at bob.rvtravel (at) gmail.com .

 

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Tommy Molnar

Thanks Bob. I was unaware that we could purchase the $180 pass and then move from LTVA to LTVA with ‘impunity’ . . .

So far we’ve only stayed at the free two week areas.