the dyrt
THE BEST CAMPING NEAR
Mojave National Preserve, CALIFORNIA
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senior friendly

ice cream truck usually comes on friday afternoon or saturday morning. horse shoe pit. pool is one of the cleanest. hot.

Great Place To Camp In The Desert

We wanted to check out ZZYZX but there was no camping there so we had to explore other options. Really wanting to be as close to the dried salt lake area where you can literally yell out and hear your voice echo for miles we discovered Hole-In-The-Wall. It sounded a bit funny considered it was in the middle of the desert and everything is like a hole in the wall as you pass through miles and miles of nothingness, but we gave it a shot and were very pleased.

It is a first come first serve campsite but when we were there that wasn't an issue there were only a few campers. It made for a quiet night in the desert where we were surrounded by low laying vegetation and views of the mountains around. It looked like a pretty large campground overall with lots of sites each with a picnic table and fire ring.

There was no potable water when we were there and only pit toilets. Pretty basic, no hook ups and no showers.

It was pleasant though and I would say it made us happy that we had stumbled upon it. It was $12 fo the night for our site and I did notice that those having the senior card could get a discount, so something to look forward to when I get older!!

It was pretty no frills camping. But since we always come prepared we had firewood ready to go and were able to enjoy setting up then venturing over to ZZYZX to check out the "abandoned" site, which is actually partially used as a research facility and partially a ruin of times passed. Really unique experience from every angle.

TIPS:

  • Pack extra water since there is none available and if you are interested in a shower make sure you have an outdoor shower bag already filled before you arrive.

  • While you can have a generator they do have a quiet hours policy for other guest. The campground is so quiet at night and everything echoes in the canyon.

  • Do not camp in washes because even though it seems dry when rain comes it quickly moves across the desert and will flood these areas and create very scary conditions.

Excelant and Peaceful Campground

This campground is an excelent place if you like basic and secluded campgrounds. Each campsite is just the perfect size for 1 tent/RV. With the site you will get a picnic table and a fire pit. The fire pit also has a gril bar so you can use it for cooking/bbq if neded. Campground is super peacful and relaxing. Situated at the botom of a clif with desert views on other three sides. It can be pretty windy, so do look at the weather channel before comming and plan accordingly. You can still stay there even in the windy nights, just be ready for a lot of noise as the wind bangs on your tent pretty loudly. We were here at the end of May, just before the temperature started climbing too much and even though it was Memorial Day weekend there was enough empty sites. The campgroud is First Come First Serve, but it seems like it's never fully packed, and it's been pretty easy to find a spot everytime.

Kelso Depot, Mojave Cross and the largest Joshua Tree Forest, as well as Kelso Dunes are all within an hour ride from the campground.

First to Review
Hot Hot!

We pulling in very late, and it was still very hot! They have the swimming pool open all the time! we rented a cabin and there was no air condition on when we arrived and we turned it on and went swimming at 10:30 at night and by the time we got back to the cabin it was cooled off! nice clean but hot!

Easy and pretty hiking, crowded campground

We tried to stay at the campground, but it doesn't take reservations and all the sites were full by Thursday afternoon in February. We did explore the hiking trails, which were nice sandy paths with pretty easy terrain. The river is very pretty and fast moving. It was too cold for swimming in the winter, but the beach was clean and would be great during the warmer months. The bathrooms were also clean and there were some nice picnic pavilions, which included wheelchair accessible tables. This would be a great place for a family trip, but definitely have a backup camping plan during the busy season!

Amazing views

Very limited shade, but sites are very close to some really neat hiking spots like one where you have to climb down a small canyon by holding metal rings that were attached to the rocks. Since there's no city lights to pollute the sky, there's amazing views of the night sky.

Clean and Beautiful

This is a great little campground. Especially since it's so close to a really awesome hike the Rings Trail and others in the area. Each campsite was clean and flat, the bathrooms were basic pit toilets but they were very clean also and there were water spigots through out the area.

Night Drive

Gorgeous open plains/canyons make for awesome star watching. Nearest city about 1 and a half out with lights. Honor system. No showers. Hole in the ground outhouse toilets. No water, so bring your own. Coyote visits. Sweet sunset and sunrise views.

Winter Camping Without the Snow

Having camped here twice this year, it's a favorite of mine. Temps are decent, even in January (mid-30s for lows) and perfect in April. Tree cover is still a bit sparse and hiking options are limited, but it's a great place to set up camp and do absolutely nothing. Normally, water is available, but they are revamping the water system and the result is that there is no water available at the campground until Spring 2019, so be sure you bring plenty with you.

Gorgeous scenery and quiet, SUPER windy

Pros: very quiet campground, with sites that are some distance apart. Absolutely breathtaking scenery - this campground is in the valley between hills and the undeveloped land around the campsites is covered in an amazing variety of cacti. The cost is also reasonable at $12/night. The tent sites are nicely designed with a large tent pad, a picnic table, and fire ring. The visitors' center is very close up the road, and they have flush toilets and water, as well as a very small gift shop, but not really anything else.

Cons: The only way to get to the campground is driving for about a 1-2 hours on unpaved roads, which are rough in some spots. Once you get there, there are only pit toilets and no sinks or showers. There is usually potable water in the campground, but that was also unavailable during my visit because of drought conditions (however that info was easily found on the website and I was prepared for that). But by far the worst thing about this campground was the wind. It was breezy all day, which was fine, but at about 9 or 10 pm at night the winds picked up to about 30-40 mph sustained through the whole night, with gusts of ~50 mph. It definitely caught myself off guard, and by the looks of the remaining tents the next morning it caught a lot of other campers off guard also.

If the conditions are like that most of the time (possible since it's in a valley?), I wouldn't tent camp there again because it wasn't relaxing at all. But if that was a fluke or I had an RV, I would consider another stay there. There were a lot of ORVs in the area, and I think anyone who enjoys doing that would love this campground.

Clean campground near Colorado River.

This was a small, 24-site campground near the Colorado River. The sites are not reservable so first come first served. The grounds and bathroom were clean. There are coin showers so make sure to bring quarters if you’re planning to use them. Otherwise, the river was really cool and refreshing. There were ants on our tent pad so we didn’t use the regular tent. We were one of the few tent campers, everyone else was in RV’s/trailers.

It is somewhat near the highway so you can hear cars that drive over the rumble strips from time to time (so bring ear plugs if you’re a light sleeper).

The sites also have hookups, a grill, a fire pit and shade ramadas. There are a few bushes separating you from other campsites and they were spaced pretty decently where we didn’t hear the RV noises.

The beach area to the river was within walking distance. There are shade ramadas too and some have picnic tables. The water was very cold but refreshing.

I would camp here again in the cooler months or if I had an air conditioned rig during the warmer months. It got up to the high 90s during the day but was nice and cool late at night.

if it wasn’t for the river I’d give this campground about 3 stars because of the ants and highway noise.

(sorry for the lack of photos for the whole site)

Great visit

Went on a Saturday night and had no problem finding a spot. There is no potable water at the campground currently, but you can get some at the visitors center a few miles away. Go to the back of the campground for some more private spots with a few trees.

Sunrise Suprise

Was driving out late and need a place to crash found this campground and came in the dark didn't know what to expect. Woke up to a excellent sunrise and a great camp. Options for RVs all the way to pop up tents has water that's clean, clean toilets, and both garbage and recycling bins

Ranger Review: Seattle Sports FrostPak™ CoolPak at Mid Hills Campground

Campground Review About an hour drive from I-15 or I-40 in the Mojave National Preserve, this high desert campground has an abundance of desert life with ample views of the surrounding mountains. I camped at site 21 at the far Northern end of the campground. The site was surrounded by juniper trees and pinyon pines which offered shade during the day and a wind break at night. I camped here in late May and while valley temperatures were in the upper 90s, this campground stayed about 10° cooler and was almost chilly at night. A fire came through the campground in 2005 leaving the southern sites much more exposed than the northern sites. Some northern sites also have views of other mountain ranges.

One thing to note it that this campground is a bit far from some of the main attractions of the Mojave Preserve. It’s about a 30 min drive to Kelso depot and an hour to the closest food and gas, so come prepared. The campground had massive sites that could easily fit multiple tents (in fact the group next to us had 6 trucks and as many tents on their site). This campground is good for families, couples, or groups and apparently is popular with hunters and off roaders. The nights I was there it was quiet and secluded despite most sites around being filled.

My favorite aspect of the campground was the abundant wildlife. At my site, I saw many lizards, bunnies, kangaroo rats, birds and beetles as well as blooming cacti and wildflowers.

The fee to stay here is a very reasonable 12$ per night and it is first come first serve. This campground has pit toilets and water available. Each site has a picnic table and fire ring with a grill grate. Click here for more info about the campground!

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Product Review

As a Dyrt Ranger, I also get products to test and review in the field. At this campground I tested the Seattle Sports FrostPak™ CoolPak.

This FrostPak™ CoolPak was a great companion for a hot desert trip! Why you ask?

1. This cooler is very well insulated while still being spacious. It held ice for about 10hrs while sitting in the sun and kept drinks cold for over a day. It held a 6 pack easily with ice.

2. The backpack feature works great making it easy to carry and access. The straps are adjustable and comfortable. It is as heavy as you pack it though using freezer packs may provide cool temperatures for lighter weights. I foresee packing it with drinks and lunches and bringing it to the beach, to a picnic or out on the lake.

3. Though many backpacks are prone to tip, this one doesn’t. It stands very well on its own meaning you don’t have to worry about losing your ice or your lunch if you leave it open.

One word of advice: the backpack has a zipper at the top and while every other part is well sealed, the zipper is not and may slowly leak over time if the bag is not upright. Overall great product perfect for many different adventures!