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Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Finding enroute boondocking campsites

By now many of you snowbirds are leaving the increasingly warmer southwestern deserts for the early Spring of home bases in the northern states, which haven't quite warmed up just yet. If you've considered dawdling on your trip, waiting for the warm weather to hit home before you do, you've no doubt found that finding good boondocking campsites along your route can be daunting.

First, let me make an assumption. I'll bet you travel mostly the same route north and south every year. If so, here is how to locate boondocking sites that you can use year after year, but you will have to put in some effort the first time around first.

  • Limit the number of miles you are willing to drive per day since there is no rush to get home and you can stop along the way to enjoy the area.
  • Figure out your route so that you will be on public lands when you need to look for a campsite for the night.
  • Stop around three o'clock in the afternoon. That's early, I know, but it will allow you about an hour or so to scout for a good boondocking campsite.
  • Slow down as you pass through your chosen camping area so you don't miss any possibilities.
  • When you see a forest service or other public lands road, pull off to the side and park. Then walk down the road to see if it leads to possible boondocking campsites.
  • If so, drive in and unhitch. Now take your tow/toad and explore further. If you find a better spot, move to it. If not, stay where you are.
  • If you find a better spot that has room to turn around or make a loop (see photo - Klamath National Forest, US-97 in NE California between Weed and Klamath Falls, Oregon), you will not have to un-hitch the nest time you use the campsite.
  • Record the location on your GPS, or write directions in your campground book or journal so you can find it again next year.
A little extra effort in the "boondock campsite identification" stage will pay off later when you have collected several campsites along your favored routes.

Check out my boondocking eBooks at


  1. We love to stay at primitive campsite when we travel. We buy county map books for each state that we are going through on our travels. These county map books will have all of the national forest, BLM, and state forest campgrounds in them for each county and makes it easy to find them.
    Sally D.

  2. Wow, good stuff. Never thought it about it before. Thanks for the info.