Nevada doesn’t get too many tourists outside its main cities of Las Vegas and Reno because many believe it's just a barren desert. Though the vast desert terrain spreads far and wide between the cities, there is more than meets the eye if you take the time to get off of Interstate 15 or 80.
In the north, Lake Tahoe and the Sierra Nevada beckon experienced hikers, while the far south has the cool waters of Lake Mead that are perfect for kayakers boondocking near Las Vegas. Travel off the beaten path and surround yourself with natural beauty as you begin your boondocking in Nevada trip. All you need is a good-quality map and a sense of adventure!
Can I Go Boondocking in Nevada?
Of course, you can! In fact, there might be no state better suited for boondocking than Nevada. A full 85% of the state’s land is owned by the federal government, including the national forests and the national park that are free or low cost
. Great Basin National Park
, Nevada’s sole national park, doesn’t even charge an entrance fee.
Boondocking in Nevada can be challenging, though. The deserts are blazing hot in the afternoon and freezing at night. Up in the mountains, snow covers the roads at least six months out of the year. It’s a state full of extremes, and preparation is key to having a good time here. However, those that come ready to meet Nevada’s challenges are rewarded with an amazing boondocking experience that’s like nowhere else in America.
Top Locations For Boondocking in Nevada
Camping in Nevada is a true adventure. Most of the places you can go boondocking in Nevada are primitive campsites. These areas offer very few amenities and don’t accept reservations. Come prepared
with everything you’ll need for the trip: adequate water supplies (drinking and washing), food, fuel (gasoline and propane), and empty black water tanks if there are no toilets at the site. Below are some of the Battle Born state’s best spots for getting off the grid.
Lower Bluster Campground
This high elevation remote campground sits just outside the town of Jarbridge in the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest near the Idaho border. It’s a beautiful alpine location close to the Jarbridge River with abundant hiking opportunities close by. Due to its high elevation, it’s only open from June through October.
Amenities and space are limited at this mountain campground. However, a vault toilet is available, and each site comes equipped with picnic tables so you can enjoy dinner around the table. RVs should not exceed 25 feet in length as campsites are quite small, and the road to reach them is challenging for larger vehicles.
More information: Lower Bluster Campground
Berry Creek Dispersed Campground
This campground is also in the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest but in a non-contiguous section much further south. Berry Creek is about two hours from Great Basin National Park and is a good base camp for exploring this remote section of the state. The campground is at 8,200 feet, though, so it’s best to stick to summer and early fall trips as it can get quite cold (and snowy) outside of those months.
There’s a single vault toilet at Berry Creek, but it’s not serviced during the off-season (late October to early May). The roads up to the campground are very windy and rough, so be warned that larger RV rentals are likely to get stuck.
More information: Berry Creek Dispersed Campground
Sacramento Pass Recreation Area
If you’re thinking about visiting Great Basin National Park while boondocking in Nevada, Sacramento Pass is much closer than Berry Creek and sits at a far lower elevation, making it a year-round camping option. It’s about forty minutes west of Ely, one of the largest towns in eastern Nevada with about 4,000 residents. This is a good spot to pick up supplies before heading to Sacramento Pass, as services are nearly non-existent outside of Ely.
Given its remoteness, there’s actually a fair amount of amenities at Sacramento Pass, including toilets, fire pits, picnic tables, grills, and trash cans. There are also over six miles of hiking trails close by and a small fishing pond.
More information: Sacramento Pass Recreation Area
Stewarts Point Dispersed Camping
Lake Mead is one of the most popular recreation sites in Nevada and northern Arizona. It’s just outside of Las Vegas and functions as an oasis in the vast desert surrounding the city. It’s also home to several dispersed camping areas that are quite popular with boondockers. Camping at Stewarts Point is technically free. But since it’s inside Lake Mead National Recreation Area, you do need to pay the park’s entrance fee.
Stewarts Point sits on the northern end of the Overton Arm of Lake Mead. It’s almost an hour and a half from Las Vegas, which helps to keep the crowds down, but less than half an hour from Valley of Fire State Park.
There’s a flush toilet, and that’s about it. The town of Overton is roughly twenty minutes from Stewart’s Point, though, and has stores where you can grab food, fuel, and water on your way to your site. Like most of the campgrounds near Lake Mead, there are no designated sites at Stewarts Point. It’s a massive dirt pad with lots of rutted roads fanning out from it. You can park anywhere, but the sites closest to the bathroom are the ideal location.
More information: Stewarts Point Dispersed Camping
Government Wash Dispersed Camping
This is one of the more popular boondocking sites within the Lake Mead National Recreation Area. It’s much closer to Las Vegas, which attracts more crowds. Fortunately, there’s plenty of space for everyone to spread out here. Unfortunately, due to its easier access, there may be more powerboats here that could be bothersome to kayakers.
As this is a dispersed camping area out in the desert, you shouldn’t expect too much in the way of amenities. There are flush toilets and some trash cans, but not much else. The roads coming into the camping area aren’t the best, so you’ll need to be careful with low clearance vehicles. Visitors can park wherever they can find a spot off the road. As there are no designated sites, you’re not limited in how long your RV can be.
More information: Government Wash Dispersed Camping
Explore the Beauty of Nevada With Cruise America
If you’ve got the time for it, pick up your RV rental in Las Vegas
and take a loop through the entire state. Making a long-term rental
with Cruise America is a lot less expensive than you think and will save you loads on accommodation costs. In a comfortable and convenient RV, you can easily travel the Battle Born State and explore all the terrain has to offer.
Are you ready to see past all of Nevada’s casinos and neon lights and get out into the wilds with your RV rental
? Start your adventure today by making an RV reservation with Cruise America!