California desert camping


Some of the most geographically interesting and visually beautiful areas of California are the deserts, and the best way to experience the desert is to camp there. Many areas of BLM land require no camping permits for self-contained "dry" camping. Contained fires are allowed in many areas. Off-road vehicles are allowed on established trails and in some open areas, for more details see Off-road vehicles in California.

No matter what others have left behind, practice Leave No Trace - pack it in, pack it out. In fact, you're encouraged to clean up other people's messes if at all possible.



All supplies should be brought in if not for the mere fact that obtaining supplies in the region can often be pricey. Remember though, the desert can be a desolate and unforgiving land, always bring more than you think you will need. Campfire BBQ's and fresh fruit are certainly treats for which you will develop a new found appreciation for. And typically, as car camping is the desired approach, you can feel free to bring in almost all that you need.

A couple of suggestions for meals:




A nice touch to wind out a long day of exploring is to cook with your campfire.

Beef jerky and the road also go well together as long hours on the journey need a bit of flavor. Notable is a small shack on US Highway 395 simply named 'Fresh Beef Jerky' in Olancha. Its $20 for 3 packs, but its fresh made and quite frankly the best jerky around. There's plenty of pickled vegetables and free samples also.


Bring plenty of water. A standard rule of thumb is 2 gallons per person per day. Of course this can be partially substituted with fruit juices or gatorade, but make sure that you have more than you think you'll need, particularly if its your first time venturing in. Sodas DO NOT hydrate you!

You may also need water for an overheating radiator.

Stay Safe

The desert can be a brutal and unforgiving place, you should be prepared to be fully self-reliant.

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Saturday, February 13, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.