Generally speaking, no. You are required to remain on established roads and vehicle trails, except when pulling into a clearing or previously used campsite. This is true on all BLM lands, including “open lands” and “developed recreation areas”.
However, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) does operate off-highway vehicle areas where you can drive an RV, or any other vehicle, and just go willy-nilly across the landscape.
Can I Drive My RV Off-Road on BLM Land?
Rules and regulations for BLM land generally do not permit vehicles of any kind to drive off of established roads and trails, with the exception of entering a campground or previously used campsite.
This rule is defined under BLM Rule § 8341.1 “Regulations governing use”…
(a) The operation of off-road vehicles is permitted on those areas and trails designated as open to off-road vehicle use.
(c) The operation of off-road vehicles is prohibited on those areas and trails closed to off-road vehicle use.
If you find a campsite with no established road or trail leading to it, you are not allowed to drive over plants, shrubs, animal habitats, or other natural features, to get there. Instead, you will have to park your RV elsewhere, and hike your camping equipment in.
This is not just a BLM rule either. Most states do not allow vehicles to drive off of established roads and trails, with few exceptions.
It Depends on the Field Office
Each BLM field office sets its own policies for off-road vehicle use. Some field offices permit off-road use throughout its jurisdiction, and some field offices restrict use to certain areas. Most field offices, however, generally do not allow it anywhere. The exception, however, is with OHV areas.
Each field office can be visited in person to obtain road maps of where vehicles can be driven. You can also call a field office on the phone and they can explain their policies.
Is My RV Considered an Off-Road Vehicle?
Yes it is.
The BLM has a pretty broad definition of what constitutes an “off-road vehicle”. BLM Rule § 8340.0-5 “Definitions” says that an off-road vehicle is not just limited to vehicles designed for off-road use, but also “capable of” travel over land or other natural terrain.
As long as your RV is capable of leaving an established road or trail, and driving over plants and mouse burrows, you effectively have an off-road vehicle.
The BLM has designated numerous areas specifically for OHV use. Here, you can drive a vehicle pretty much anywhere. However, some OHV areas have signs posted restricting you to established OHV trails.
All OHV areas offer some kind of RV camping, either on a dispersed basis, or have developed campgrounds.