Boodocking in California

Learn about camping and boondocking in the Golden State

Boondocking in California!

Boondocking in California is an experience of contrasts, from its sunny beaches to its snowy mountains, from its bustling cities to its serene deserts. For those who love nature and adventure, boondocking in California can be a rewarding way to explore the Golden State. Boondocking, or camping without hookups, is allowed on most public lands in California, but there are some rules and regulations that you need to know before you hit the road.  We give you an overview of the best places to boondock in California, as well as some tips and tricks to make your experience safe and enjoyable.

California Boondocking Map

blm map overlay BLM
national forest overlay USFS
national park map overlay NPS
national wildlife refuge map overlay NWR
city boundary map overlay City
private property map overlay Private
wilderness area overlay Wilderness
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California Boondocking Maps

Dispersed Camping Near Big Bear, CA

Updated: April 1, 2024

Dispersed camping near Big Bear, CA can be tricky to find, but there are several options available if you're willing...

Dispersed Camping in Sequoia National Forest

Updated: May 2, 2024

Dispersed camping in Sequoia National Forest has risen in popularity due to the forest's close proximity to the Los Angeles...

Places for Free Camping Near Yosemite National Park

Updated: April 1, 2024

There are places just outside of Yosemite National Park that allow free camping. Camping inside the Park requires a reservation...

California Rest Area Map

Updated: April 3, 2024

Locations of every official California DOT rest area presented on a map, as sourced from California Department of Transportation, including...

Where to Find BLM Land Near Anza Borrego Desert State Park

Updated: April 3, 2024

There is lots of BLM Land surrounding Anza Borrego Desert State Park. Much of it lies adjacent to the southern...

Can You Camp Anywhere in Anza Borrego Desert State Park?

Updated: April 5, 2024

Yes, for the most part you can camp anywhere in Anza Borrego Desert State Park, as long as your vehicle...

Dispersed Camping at Joshua Tree National Park

Updated: April 5, 2024

Much of the dispersed camping near Joshua Tree National Park lies in a few sites on BLM land to the...

Places to Camp for Free in California

Pine Camp Yellow Post Site

Updated: June 16, 2024

This is a single primitive campsite identified by a yellow post and a fire ring. It's officially marked at Yellow...

Pit Camp Yellow Post Site

Updated: June 16, 2024

This is a single campsite marked by a yellow post. It's officially designated on forest service maps at Yellow Post...

Gobbler’s Knob Yellow Post Site

Updated: June 16, 2024

Officially marked at Yellow Post Site #16 on USFS Maps, this is a single campsite identified by a yellow post....

Alpine Canyon Yellow Post Site

Updated: June 16, 2024

Officially marked as Yellow Post Site #12, this is a single primitive campsites identified by a yellow post located about...

Paiute Yellow Post Campsites

Updated: June 16, 2024

These are a series of two yellow post campsites located along North Fork Lytle Creek along the north side of...

Fall Camp Yellow Post Site

Updated: June 16, 2024

Fall Camp, also known as "Yellow Post Site #10", is located along North Fork Lytle Creek, or Paiute Road. It's...

Stockton Flats Yellow Post Campsites

Updated: June 16, 2024

This is a series of seven (7) campsites, each marked by a yellow post, and numbered 3 through 9. Each...

Lone Camp, Lytle Creek, CA

Updated: June 16, 2024

This is a single "yellow post" campsite located along the creek side of Lytle Creek Road lies about 500 further...

Cold Camp, Lytle Creek, CA

Updated: June 16, 2024

This is a single "yellow post" campsite located along the north side of Lytle Creek Road right at the fork...

Thomas Mountain Yellow Post Sites

Updated: June 16, 2024

Thomas Mountain Yellow Post Sites, Idyllwild, CA How Crowded: These sites are extremely popular. Site #1 is the most popular because...

Thomas Mountain Yellow Post Site #1

Updated: June 16, 2024

Thomas Mountain Yellow Post Site #1 Yellow Post Campsites offer boondockers offer up to 14-days of continuous free camping with the closest...

Stone Creek Yellow Post Sites

Updated: June 16, 2024

Stone Creek Yellow Post Sites, Idyllwild, CA 4WD is definitely required to get to these two sites. The road up...

South Ridge Yellow Post Sites

Updated: June 16, 2024

South Ridge Yellow Post Sites, Idyllwild, CA These three Yellow Post sites are suitable only for cars, vans, pickup trucks,...

Snaggletooth Primitive RV Camp

Updated: June 16, 2024

Snaggletooth Primitive RV Camp, Needles, CA What makes Snaggletooth a great place to boondock is that it remains largely unnoticed by most...

Scissors Crossing Parking Area

Updated: June 16, 2024

Scissors Crossing, Anza Borrego Desert State Park Anza Borrego Desert State Park is perhaps the only park within the California State...

Santa Rosa Yellow Post Sites

Updated: June 16, 2024

Santa Rosa Yellow Post Sites, San Bernardino NF These fifteen (15) yellow post sites are all located along Santa Rosa...

Owens River Road, Mammoth Lakes, CA

Updated: June 16, 2024

Owens River Road, Inyo National Forest, California Owens River Road starts from US-395 at a tiny hamlet called “Crestview”, about...

Keller Peak Yellow Post Sites

Updated: June 16, 2024

Keller Peak Yellow Post Sites, San Bernardino NF Note: These sites are normally closed due to heavy snow from late...

Joshua Tree BLM South, Chiriaco, CA

Updated: June 16, 2024

Joshua Tree BLM South, Chiriaco, California Chiriaco Summit is the name of a gasoline station stop along I-10, about 5...

Joshua Tree BLM North

Updated: June 16, 2024

Joshua Tree North BLM How Crowded: There’s usually a lot of campers here during the winter season, but because this area...

Hot Springs LTVA, Holtville, CA

Updated: June 16, 2024

Hot Springs LTVA, Holtville, California While technically not free camping, Hot Springs LTVA offers “dirt cheap” boondocking in the California desert...

Hayfield Rocks BLM

Updated: June 16, 2024

Hayfield Rocks, BLM Camping Note: Hayfield Road is hard packed gravel, though the access road into the campsite can get...

Gold Park Road

Updated: June 16, 2024

Gold Park Road, BLM Camping Note: Gold Park Road has areas of soft sand, and it’s easy to get stuck...

Goff Flat Yellow Post Site

Updated: June 16, 2024

Goff Flat Yellow Post Site, Idyllwild, CA Campsite is suitable for any sized RV. How Crowded: This site is lesser known,...

East Flats Road

Updated: June 16, 2024

East Flats Road, San Bernardino NF How Crowded: This area gets heavily used during the warmer months, though there are plenty...

Coon Creek Yellow Post Sites

Updated: June 16, 2024

Coon Creek Yellow Post Sites, San Bernardino NF Note: Sites 1-10 and 15-19 have been mapped above. We have not...

Coldwater Canyon Yellow Post Sites

Updated: June 16, 2024

Coldwater Canyon Yellow Post Sites, San Bernardino NF Note: All three sites require 4WD to access. Site #17 is large...

Clark’s Ranch Yellow Post Site

Updated: June 16, 2024

Clark’s Ranch Yellow Post Site, San Bernardino NF How Crowded: This single site is frequently occupied during the warmer months. You’re...

Chiriaco Summit Campground

Updated: June 16, 2024

Chiriaco Summit Campground How Crowded: Rarely crowded, almost always plenty of campsites available. How Noisy or Peaceful: Usually very peaceful. Cellular Phone...

Buttercup Sand Dunes, Winterhaven, CA

Updated: June 16, 2024

Buttercup Sand Dunes, Winterhaven, California What actually makes Buttercup Sand Dunes such a popular place for overnight boondocking is that it’s so...

Black Mountain Yellow Post Sites

Updated: June 16, 2024

Black Mountain Yellow Post Sites, San Bernardino NF, San Jacinto Ranger District 4WD is definitely required due to steep inclines...

Big Bear Yellow Post Sites

Updated: June 16, 2024

Big Bear Yellow Post Sites, San Bernardino NF Note: At one time there were as many 50-60 of these yellow...

Apple Canyon Yellow Post Sites

Updated: June 16, 2024

Apple Canyon Yellow Post Sites, San Bernardino NF Site #1 – Suitable for large RVs, easy to get into, however offers...

California State Camping Laws and Regulations

Is Nude Camping in California Legal?

Updated: March 28, 2024

No, nude camping in California is not legal. The Golden State has a statewide law that makes being nude outdoors...

Can You Sleep On the Side of the Road in California?

Updated: March 31, 2024

This article is specific to roads, highways, and Interstates in the unincorporated areas of California (not inside city limits), presuming...

Can You Stay Overnight in California Rest Areas?

Updated: April 5, 2024

Yes you can. The official rules in California state that you can stay for a maximum of eight (8) hours...

California Rest Area Rules

Updated: April 5, 2024

Learn the full set of laws and regulations about overnight parking at California rest areas, as sourced from California Revised...

Is Boondocking Legal in California?

Updated: April 5, 2024

Yes, Boondocking is legal in California. It just depends on where. It's totally legal on federal lands managed by the...

Federal Lands in California

Sequoia National Forest Camping Rules

Updated: April 1, 2024

These official Sequoia National Forest Camping Rules were gathered from Orders issued by the Supervisor of Sequoia National Forest, along...