The BLM 14-day rule for camping refers to the maximum number of days for camping on BLM land. It’s a common rule found on most BLM lands. However, it’s also confusing and a source for much discussion. Here is the full clarification of this rule…
The BLM 14-Day Rule for Camping
You can stay a maximum of 14-days in a 28-day period within a 25-mile radius…
- The 28-day period begins once you set up camp.
- You can stay a maximum of 14-days within that 28 day period.
- Once you’ve exhausted those 14-days, you cannot return to that same area until after the 28 day period expires.
- “Same area” is defined as a 25-mile radius from your campsite.
Q: After the 14-days has exhausted, where do I go?
A: You must pack up camp and move at least 25 miles from your campsite.
Q: If I’ve only used a portion of my 14-day maximum, and I decide to pack up camp and leave, do I still have to move 25 miles away?
A: No. You only have to move 25 miles away if you’ve exhausted the full 14-days.
Q: If I’ve only used a portion of my 14-day maximum, and I decided to pack up camp and leave, and I choose a new site somewhere less than 25 miles away, does my new campsite get a fresh 14-day maximum and 28 day period?
A: No. If your new site is less than 25 miles from your old site, the new site will carry whatever days you have remaining on that 14-day maximum.
Q: What if various people in my party arrive and leave at varying lengths of stay?
A: The BLM 14-day rule is enforced per “camper”. The BLM has not defined “camper” for this purpose, but it is generally assumed by most boondockers to mean “per person”. Thus, each person in the campsite has his/her own 14-day rule.
Q: How do I get another 14-day maximum?
A: You can get another 14-day maximum after the 28 day period has expired, or by moving to a new campsite at least 25 miles away.
Where Does the 14-Day Rule Apply?
It applies on most BLM Public Lands. Public Lands are what the BLM refers to as lands with no other special uses or designations. The lands have no signage, no kiosks, and no improvements of any kind. These are the lands that most boondockers think of when camping on BLM areas.
Even though each BLM State Office and each BLM Field Office is free to adopt its own camping limits, most still use the 14-Day Rule.
Developed Recreation Areas – Most BLM developed areas, such as campgrounds and OHV areas, will post their maximum camping limits on a kiosk located at entrances. Quite often, they will use the same 14-Day rule.
Conservation Lands– BLM National Monuments are free to established their own maximum length of stay. However, most still end up adopting the standard the 14-Day rule. All BLM Wilderness Areas that we’ve visited to date use the same 14-Day rule.
Leaving Personal Property Unattended
You do not have to be in-attendance with your personal property while camping on BLM public lands. You are allowed to set up camp and then leave your personal property unattended up to 10-days (or 12-months in the State of Alaska). This is in accordance to CFR Title 43 § 8365.1-2 Occupancy and use.
The above rules applies only to BLM public lands. It does not apply to BLM developed recreation areas or BLM conservation lands.
How Strictly Does the BLM Enforce the 14-Day Rule?
Hardly ever. In our years of boondocking on BLM lands, we have never witnessed a BLM officer citing us or another boondocker for exceeding maximum length of stay. We have never heard of a BLM officer even reminding campers of what the maximum length of stay is.
Even much less… it is unheard of for a BLM officer to charge someone for not leaving the 25 mile radius.
This is not to say that campers should feel encouraged to stay as long they want. Right now, the public gets to enjoy a very lenient BLM because most of us do follow the rules, and you should too. It should also be noted that the BLM is pretty understanding when a boondocker needs to stay some extra days beyond their 14-day maximum.
The worst that could happen if you stayed longer than the rules allow is that a BLM officer will knock on your camper door and remind you it’s time to leave. The only time when you may be cited with a fine is if you were already asked to leave but refused to comply.