I'v been reading the boards for a while now and it seems like a great source for someone who is planning a roadtrip like me and my brother. We plan to do a 4 week roadtrip mostly in California, but also want to go and see Las Vegas and Grand Canyon atleast. We are both students so it will be budget traveling for us. We don't plan to make reservations at campgrounds and hostels too far in advance to avoid it becoming restricting. So I would like to know will we be able to find campground to put our tent at as we arrive without restrictions? We plan to travel from mid june to mid july! We dont care about the quality of campgrounds at all but the most important thing is that will we be able to do this at the peak traveling time that we plan to go at it. Thanks for any replies and I really enjoy reading the boards.
At Grand Canyon
Reservations are almost always a necessity at Grand Canyon campground (Mather) in the tourist seasons -- but there is a forest service campground called Ten-X south of the canyon along SR64 in which you might be able to find a spot if you do it early in the day (before it fills up).
Keep in mind also there is a difference between National Park lands, and forest service (BLM) lands. You can almost always camp on BLM lands outside of developed campgrounds (where you cannot, in National Parks) -- but it'll be like backpacking -- you'll have to be able to do it without facilities of any kind -- no tables, no privies, no water, etc. This is easily done, without too much expense. The one thing that I always forget -- BUG REPELLENT! Oh, and sun screen! Don't leave home without them! Bob
Thanks and one more about BLM lands
We dont mind bugs we are really used to them here in Finland but sunscreen definately! We also dont mind really roughing it, sounds actually more fun. How easy are BLM lands to find in California and around Grand Canyon??? Thanks again for the advice!!
Very common in the west
Much of the land in the American west is public land. You can find national forest lands marked on many maps, commonly available. "National Forests" are also many times marked by highway signs. Bob
You are going to want to get to places early in the morning to get a campsite. There is a walk in tent campground in Yosemite Valley that is first come first serve but I hear it fills up very fast in the day. On the eastern side outside of Yosemite there are several national forest campgrounds that never seem to fill up, but keep in mind it's a long way to Yosemite Valley from here.
Four weeks is along time, so since you are going to the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas, I highly recommend going to Bryce and Zion National Parks. Both have one first come first serve campground....again they fill up by mid day.
if you go to either a BLM website, or visit their actual offices, you can get maps of where BLM land is. it's relativally easy to find, but make sure you remember the leave no trace rule. that includes stuff like toliet paper, and garbage. blm camping is great fun, and some of the best experiances i've ever had were staring at the desert after a long day of driving. if you're lucky you might run into wild horses. good luck!!!
"but make sure you remember the 'leave no trace' rule. that includes stuff like toliet [sic] paper, and garbage."
EXCELLENT point. People are beginning to forget this one -- I even saw trash IN THE GRAND CANYON when hiking there last December. It's absolutely unbelievable that some care so little about our land that they toss their trash anywhere (as well as destroy the land in other ways). Bob