Bureau of Land Management

Learn about camping and boondocking on BLM land

LTVA Rules for Camping


Long Term Visitor Areas (LTVA) Rules for camping are established by the Bureau of Land Management for specific primitive camping areas located throughout Southern California and Arizona. LTVAs are popular camping locations for snow birds looking to stay in one place long term while avoiding costly seasonal rates at RV parks. For general information about LTVA camping, see, “Boondocking at BLM Long Term Visitor Areas“.

hot springs ltva
Hot Springs LTVA, Holtville, CA

LTVA Rules for Camping

The following LTVA Rules for camping are the official rules as adopted by the Bureau of Land Management. You can download a copy of the official rules at, “Long Term Visitor Area Supplementary Rules” (PDF)…

  1. The Permit Requirements and Fees. You must have a permit to use a designated LTVA between September 15 and April 15. The permit authorizes you to camp within any designated LTVA using those camping or dwelling unit(s) indicated on the permit between the periods from September 15 to April 15. There are two types of permits: Long-Term and Short-Visit. The long-term permit is valid for the entire season or any part of the season. The short-visit permit is valid for 14 consecutive days, and may be renewed an unlimited number of times for the cost of the permit. LTVA users must pay the cost of the fee indicated on the LTVA permit, in U.S. funds only, before or upon arrival. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will not refund permit fees.
  2. Displaying the Permit. To make it valid, at the time of purchase, you must affix your short-visit permit decal or long-term permit decal, using the adhesive backing, to the bottom right-hand corner of the windshield of all transportation vehicles, and in a clearly visible location on all camping units. You may use no more than two secondary vehicles within the LTVA.
  3. Permit Transfers. You may not reassign or transfer your permit.
  4. Permit Revocation. An authorized BLM officer may revoke, without reimbursement, your LTVA permit if you violate any BLM rule or regulation, or if your conduct or that of your family, guest, or pets is inconsistent with the goal of BLM’s LTVA Program. Failure to return any LTVA permit to an authorized BLM officer upon demand is a violation of these supplementary rules. If BLM revokes your permit, you must remove all of your property and leave the LTVA system within 12 hours of notice, and you may not enter any other LTVA in Arizona or California for the remainder of the LTVA season.
  5. Unoccupied Camping Units. Do not leave your LTVA camping unit or campsite unoccupied for a period of greater than five days unless an authorized BLM officer approves it in advance.
  6. Parking. For your safety and privacy, you must maintain a minimum of 15 feet of space between dwelling units.
  7. Removal of Wheels and Campers. Campers, trailers, and other dwelling units must remain mobile. Wheels must remain on all wheeled vehicles. You may set trailers and pickup campers on jacks manufactured for that purpose.
  8. Quiet Hours. Quiet hours are from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. under applicable state time zone standards, or as otherwise posted.
  9. Noise. Do not operate audio devices or motorized equipment, including generators, in a manner that makes unreasonable noise as determined by the authorized BLM officer. Outdoor amplified music is allowed only within La Posa and Imperial Dam LTVAs in locations designated by BLM, and when approved in advance by an authorized BLM officer.
  10. Access. Do not block roads or trails commonly in public use with your parked vehicles, stones, wooden barricades, or by any other means.
  11. Structures and Landscaping. a. Fixed fences, dog runs, storage units, windbreaks, and other such structures are prohibited. Temporary structures of these types must conform to posted policies. b. Do not alter the natural landscape by painting rocks, as well as defacing or damaging any natural or archaeological feature.
  12. Livestock. Boarding or keeping livestock (horses, cattle, sheep, goats, etc.) within LTVA boundaries is prohibited.
  13. Pets. Pets must be kept on a leash at all times. Keep an eye on your pets. Unattended and unwatched pets may fall prey to coyotes or other desert preda-tors. You are responsible for clean-up and sanitary disposal of your pet’s waste.
  14. Cultural Resources. Do not disturb any archaeological or historical values including, but not limited to, petroglyphs, ruins, historic buildings, and artifacts that may occur on public lands.
  15. Trash. You must place all trash in designated receptacles. Public trash facilities are shown in the LTVA brochure. Do not deposit trash or holding-tank sewage in vault toilets. An LTVA permit is required for trash disposal within all LTVA campgrounds. You may not change motor oil, vehicular fluids, or dispose of or possess these used substances within an LTVA.
  16. Dumping. Do not dump sewage, gray water, or garbage on the ground. This includes motor oil and any other waste products. Federal, state, and county sanitation laws and county ordinances specifically prohibit these practices. Sanitary dump station locations are shown in the LTVA brochure. You must have an LTVA permit for dumping within all LTVA campgrounds.
  17. Self-Contained Vehicles. a. In Pilot Knob, Midland, Tamarisk, and Hot Spring LTVAs, you may camp only in self-contained camping units. The La Posa, Imperial Dam, and Mule Mountain LTVAs are restricted to self-contained camping units, except within 500 feet of a vault toilet or rest room. b. Self-contained camping units must have a permanent affixed waste water holding tank of 10-gallon minimum capacity. BLM does not consider port-a-potty systems, systems that utilize portable holding tanks, or permanent holding tanks of less than 10-gallon capacity, to be self-contained.
  18. Campfires. You may have campfires in LTVAs subject to all local, state, and Federal regulations. You must comply with posted rules.
  19. Wood Collection. Do not collect wood within LTVAs. You may not possess native firewood (i.e., mesquite, ironwood, palo verde) within LTVAs. Please contact the nearest BLM office for current regulations concerning wood collection.
  20. Speed Limit. The speed limit in LTVAs is 15 miles per hour or as otherwise posted.
  21. Off-Highway Vehicle Use. Motorized vehicles must remain on existing roads, trails, and washes.
  22. Vehicle Use. Do not operate any vehicle in violation of state or local laws and regulations relating to use, standards, registration, operation, and inspection.
  23. Firearms. Do not discharge or otherwise use firearms or weapons inside or within 1/2 mile of LTVAs.
  24. Vending Permits. You must have a vending permit to carry on any commercial activity. Please contact the nearest BLM office for information on vending or concession permits.
  25. Aircraft Use. Do not land or take off any aircraft, including ultralights and hot air balloons, in LTVAs, unless an authorized BLM officer approves it in advance.
  26. Perimeter Camping. Do not camp within one mile outside the boundaries of Hot Spring, Tamarisk, and Pilot Knob LTVAs and within two miles outside the boundary of Midland LTVA.
  27. Hot Spring Spa and Day Use Area. Food, beverages, glass containers, soap, pets, and/or motorized vehicles are prohibited within the fenced-in area at the Hot Spring Spa. Day-use hours are 5 a.m. to midnight.
  28. Mule Mountain LTVA. You may camp only at designated sites within the Wiley’s Well and Coon Hollow campgrounds. You may have only one (1) camping or dwelling unit per site.
  29. Imperial Dam and La Posa LTVAs. Do not camp overnight in desert washes in Imperial Dam and La Posa LTVAs.
  30. La Posa LTVA. You may enter La Posa LTVA only at legal access roads along U.S. Highway 95. Do not create or use any other access points. Do not remove or modify barricades, such as fences, ditches, and berms.
  31. Posted Rules. You must observe and obey all posted rules. Individual LTVAs may have additional specific rules in addition to these supplementary rules. If posted rules differ from these supplemental rules, the posted rules take precedence.
  32. Other Laws. If you hold an LTVA permit, you must observe and obey all Federal, state, and local laws and regulations applicable to the LTVA.
  33. Campsite Maintenance. You must keep the LTVA and, specifically, your campsite in a neat, orderly, and sanitary condition.
  34. Length of Stay. Between April 16 and September 14, you may stay in an LTVA only 14 days in any 28-day period. After your 14th day of occupation at an LTVA, you must move outside of a 25-mile radius of that LTVA.
  35. Penalties. Under 43 CFR 2932.56(b), if you knowingly and willfully violate or fail to comply with any of the supplementary rules provided in this notice, BLM may revoke your LTVA permit. You may also be subject to issuance of a citation and/or arrest with a fine under 18 U.S.C. 3571 and/or imprisonment under 18 U.S.C. 3581, and the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (43 U.S.C. 1733(a)).

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