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RVing message boards => Boondocking => Topic started by: blw2 on November 14, 2016, 03:32:42 PM

Title: Finding BLM camping
Post by: blw2 on November 14, 2016, 03:32:42 PM
As an East Coaster, I'm often jealous of you folks out West with so many dispersed camping options.

I'm looking into a trip out to the Canyon next summer.  I know summer isn't the most ideal time, but maybe in the more Northern areas at higher elevations it might be doable.  I figure mostly we'll be looking to plug in, or at least be nearer teh attractions and action.... but I wouldn't mind getting off the highway a time or two....

Thing is, I know nothing about how it works.  i was looking into web re-sources.  Found this map
https://www.blm.gov/style/medialib/blm/az/images/camping.Par.80518.File.dat/DispersedCamping.pdf (https://www.blm.gov/style/medialib/blm/az/images/camping.Par.80518.File.dat/DispersedCamping.pdf)
as a Dispersed camping location map for the state of AZ.
What am I supposed to do with that???  Not enough detail or resolution to be useful at all by my estimation.   No way to tell what is public and what's not....
Most likely I'll be coming in I-40 from the East.  I see that there's a scattering of land there, but how to find it?

A similar web site I found linked for New Mexico seems to be down at the moment....

But are there better resources out there someplace, that might help me find some potential spots along our route?
Title: Re: Finding BLM camping
Post by: Sun2Retire on November 14, 2016, 03:40:30 PM
Have a look at The Ultimate US Public Campgrounds Project. They have a pretty slick app plus you can even purchase POIs for your GPS off their website.

Also freecampsites.net
Title: Re: Finding BLM camping
Post by: SeilerBird on November 14, 2016, 03:42:10 PM
http://www.forestcamping.com/
Title: Re: Finding BLM camping
Post by: UTTransplant on November 14, 2016, 06:07:27 PM
AllStays Camp and RV app shows dispersed camping areas. They look like a Forest Service logo, but the background is shaped like a D instead of being a circle. I don't see any right off I-40, but there are definitely some that show up in northern Arizona. The official way is to call up the local land use manager where you are interested in staying (BLM or FS mostly) and ask them. Each land area has a public access map that shows very specifically what land is public and what activities are permitted there. You generally are ok though if you just look for places where people have pulled off before and put up a fire ring. Some state lands also allow dispersed camping.

You have already been told to be careful about heat in the southwest in the summer. The north rim is cooler, and there are FS and NPS campgrounds available first come/first serve. We actually love Mather Campground at the south rim if you can take the lack of hookups - huge beautiful sites. The trailer village is a parking lot :-(
Title: Re: Finding BLM camping
Post by: VallAndMo on November 14, 2016, 06:40:21 PM
Hi,

+1 for freecampsites.net; also, campendium.com is pretty good.

Cheers,
--
   Vall.
Title: Re: Finding BLM camping
Post by: SeilerBird on November 14, 2016, 06:55:25 PM
As you approach the Canyon on 180 you will pass through a small town called Tusayan and after you leave town on the left is a road called Long Jim Loop. Travel one quarter of a mile and camp anywhere. You are less than one mile from the south entrance to the Grand Canyon. It is never crowded and beautiful.

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Tusayan,+AZ+86023/@35.9774244,-112.1366952,14z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x87331bf02d762a89:0xfe5ab4020c69355f!8m2!3d35.9735954!4d-112.1265569
Title: Re: Finding BLM camping
Post by: blw2 on November 15, 2016, 09:30:42 AM
great!!!  Thanks to all, I have some research to do now....

SeilerBird, now that's right up my alley!  DW likes to be close, but the cheapskate factor is good on that one 8)

UTtransplant, now you have me second guessing my trailer village reservation.  I don't like parking lots..... I saw that it was in my research, but figured I'd need or want hookups for AC during the stay, and easy dumping too..... oh well, if I'm going to be an honest Boy Scout I guess mather isn't an option anyway, since they list 30ft maximum length....
Title: Re: Finding BLM camping
Post by: SeilerBird on November 15, 2016, 09:52:30 AM
The reason Mather is limited to 30 feet is not because of the size of the sites. It is because it is a very old campground with very narrow roads and a lot of trees. Trailer Village is a parking lot, but a nice one.
Title: Re: Finding BLM camping
Post by: Sun2Retire on November 15, 2016, 11:02:11 AM
The reason Mather is limited to 30 feet is not because of the size of the sites. It is because it is a very old campground with very narrow roads and a lot of trees. Trailer Village is a parking lot, but a nice one.

Would you say it's one you can "sneak" into with a bigger rig if you're careful or don't even think about it?
Title: Re: Finding BLM camping
Post by: SeilerBird on November 15, 2016, 11:12:49 AM
Would you say it's one you can "sneak" into with a bigger rig if you're careful or don't even think about it?
No, they have thirty feet marked off on the pavement in front of the registration office.
Title: Re: Finding BLM camping
Post by: Lou Schneider on November 15, 2016, 11:28:02 AM
If you stay outside the park, you'll have to pass through the entry gate every day.  There's usually a fairly long line, you'll have to wait in it the first day to buy your entry pass but after that you can bypass the lines by using the re-entry lane.  Or use the free NPS shuttle bus to get to the Canyon.

If it's too hot to use Tom S's boondocking suggestion, another possibility is Grand Canyon Camper Village (http://www.grandcanyoncampervillage.com/home.html) in Tusayan.  It's basically a large open meadow with sites scattered around it.  The electric and water sites are more spread out than the full hookup if you can get by without a sewer connection.
Title: Re: Finding BLM camping
Post by: SeilerBird on November 15, 2016, 11:51:13 AM
There is no line before 8 am. Grand Canyon Camper Village is $41 per night in winter and $56 in summer.
Title: Re: Finding BLM camping
Post by: VallAndMo on November 15, 2016, 12:39:24 PM
Hi Tom,

As you approach the Canyon on 180 you will pass through a small town called Tusayan and after you leave town on the left is a road called Long Jim Loop. Travel one quarter of a mile and camp anywhere.

Thanks for the great tip and the excellent directions! I just followed them on Google Maps and with satellite view I found a large RV camped there, with slides extended and everything (see screenshot #1 attached, which shows GPS coordinates of 35.9810498, -122.1270864).

The only problem I see is that, according to the US Public Lands app, it is not BLM land yet (see attached screenshot #2), the BLM land would start further North (orange "border" near the top of the map).

But praxis is better than theory, so perhaps the app is imprecise or perhaps people acting like it's BLM land ended up making it so in practice...

Anyway, thanks again and I will be sure to stop there next time we go visit the Grand Canyon.

Cheers,
--
   Vall.
Title: Re: Finding BLM camping
Post by: SeilerBird on November 15, 2016, 01:27:24 PM
It is located in the Kaibab National Forest and I have spent dozens of nights camped there over a ten year period of time and many times a forest ranger would drive by and wave looking for illegal campfires. So I know you won't have any hassles camping there. South of there is a nice forest service campground with sites but no hookups called 10x. It was ten dollars a night the last time I camped there.

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Ten+X+Campground/@35.9379336,-112.1313135,15z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x873310bdcac3cc73:0xd9bba02af0c3f4c8!8m2!3d35.9379293!4d-112.1225588
Title: Re: Finding BLM camping
Post by: UTTransplant on November 15, 2016, 04:23:33 PM
Mather was fine with our 30' trailer and 20' truck. There were definitely bigger trailers than ours there. Only a loop
or two allowed trailers, but I don't remember any big problem getting in. We had a site reserved and just pulled on in. Your Class C obviously turns differently, but take a look on Google maps to see.
Title: Re: Finding BLM camping
Post by: Lindesu on November 16, 2016, 11:14:36 AM
We have been to the Canyon several times, usually in early August. Now, I confess that we were not boon docking during these trips, but to address you worries about AC or lack thereof, I have always found the temperatures very nice up on top, and by evening it was downright cold!  If, however, you go into the canyon, to hike or take a river raft trip, you will find that temps down there are blazing hot in the summer.  There is a huge difference in temperatures just due to elevation.  So, though you are technically in the desert of AZ, you are also quite high up at the rims.
Title: Re: Finding BLM camping
Post by: blw2 on November 16, 2016, 02:08:10 PM
It's early yet, my diving into these tools.....
but I'm confused a bit...
using the US Public Lands app, and similarly an online map I came across yesterday (but forget which one) agreed, there is a widespread area indicated to be BLM, but it's checkerboarded or "tiled" like a bad signal on a digital TV..... along I-40 toward the Eastern side of AZ, and I'm just pointing this out as an example, near Holbrook.
I can only assume this means that BLM is in this general area.... but there's not nearly enough detail re. the boundaries for it to be at all useful in my estimation. 
I'm just not sure what to do with that information...
Title: Re: Finding BLM camping
Post by: SeilerBird on November 16, 2016, 02:16:35 PM
It's early yet, my diving into these tools.....
but I'm confused a bit...
using the US Public Lands app, and similarly an online map I came across yesterday (but forget which one) agreed, there is a widespread area indicated to be BLM, but it's checkerboarded or "tiled" like a bad signal on a digital TV..... along I-40 toward the Eastern side of AZ, and I'm just pointing this out as an example, near Holbrook.
I can only assume this means that BLM is in this general area.... but there's not nearly enough detail re. the boundaries for it to be at all useful in my estimation. 
I'm just not sure what to do with that information...
The very best course of action is to visit the local forest service headquarters in the area you want to camp in. I have done this in the past and they are always very helpful. They will give you maps very clearly marked with where you can go and fill you in on the local rules. For example campfires are permitted in that campground north of Tusayan. They even provide fire rings. If you just drove in there you would assume campfires are permitted. However during dry seasons they will frequently institute a ban on campfires. They post notices to that effect but sometimes the notices disappear.
Title: Re: Finding BLM camping
Post by: DamianF on November 16, 2016, 05:12:19 PM
For some interesting perspectives of BLM dispersed camping, you might use: http://www.geocommunicator.gov/blmMap/Map.jsp?MAP=SiteMapper (http://www.geocommunicator.gov/blmMap/Map.jsp?MAP=SiteMapper) on a laptop along with a second tab opened with Google Maps.  Most of the time Google Maps has better satellite resolution, and the Geo Communicator overlay opacity can be set a tad heavier that way.  On the Geo Communicator, look at the right side columns and click a check mark on Surface Management Agency to see the BLM land as an overlay.  Also click a check mark on Roads.  You can be more selective if you open the folders, but I usually don't. I generally don't use Geo Communicator without comparing to Google, and usually the other way around if I think we'll be on BLM land.  There are quite a few options to choose from on the format. I have had some  trouble getting Geo to work on my smart phones very well. Something to check out anyway.  Good luck.
Title: Re: Finding BLM camping
Post by: Old_Crow on December 29, 2016, 05:37:31 AM
One thing I haven't seen mentioned is "go to the North Rim".  Fewer people, it's higher elevation, so cooler and has nice pine forests, and there's enough dispersed camping within 10 miles of the park gate to camp everyone on this forum for free.

We were camp hosts this past summer at DeMotte Campground, which is a forest service campground 5 miles outside the gate to the park.  We sent a lot of our overflow out there with several stopping by on their way out to thank us for the recommendation.

We took our Jeep on many miles of the FS roads and there are camping spots everywhere.  I've seen tents and hammocks pitched right on the rim, large military style tents hidden in the woods, and even a "mini-city" of 5vers 30 miles off the pavement.
We thought of that one as the ultimate in "leave me the F alone" camping.  ;)

Oh, the Forest Service has available a "motor vehicle usage" map which shows all the FS roads and spurs with many of the dispersed campsites marked. 
Title: Re: Finding BLM camping
Post by: blw2 on December 29, 2016, 09:49:18 AM
I appreciate those tips.
My issue I think.... and perhaps this is only a barrier in my mind..... but it seems that it might take going to the area and doing a lot of scouting about.  What I'm looking to do is have some "areas" in mind (highlighted on a map).  I'm mostly just looking for places as I pass through for the night.... not to stay there any length of time
....like SeilerBird's tip about the place just south of the canyon park entrance.
I would know, that if I'm getting close to that area and getting ready to stop for the night, that I could pull off there and find a spot as an option....
Title: Re: Finding BLM camping
Post by: blw2 on December 29, 2016, 09:53:07 AM
or I if I came across a really beautiful place we might decide to stay half a day or even a full day if it were worth it.... but mostly I'm just thinking stop in late afternoon just for the night

I'm going to look into these forest service motor maps.... thanks
Title: Re: Finding BLM camping
Post by: German Shepherd on December 30, 2016, 09:38:19 AM
or I if I came across a really beautiful place we might decide to stay half a day or even a full day if it were worth it.... but mostly I'm just thinking stop in late afternoon just for the night

I'm going to look into these forest service motor maps.... thanks
Me too , i want to go west also and seek the same information,, thanks !
Title: Re: Finding BLM camping
Post by: Old_Crow on December 31, 2016, 05:48:14 AM
You can order them here:

https://www.fs.fed.us/recreation/programs/ohv/ohv_maps.shtml