THE BEST CAMPING NEAR
Mojave National Preserve, CALIFORNIA
27 Reviews 23 Campgrounds
Camping California Mojave National Preserve
Retrieving Results
EXPLORE
Most Recent Mojave National Preserve Camping Reviews
Unexpected fun in the Mojave Desert

This is a simple campground but it's quite and spread out enough that you have privacy.  We saw some great wildlife when we came across a few deer and a gorgeous jack rabbit!  The sunsets were unreal!!!  Don't expect much from this simple campground except a place to come back to after a day of exploring the desert.  It can also get a little windy, but sites 11 & 24 seemed the best to avoid the wind.  

Be warned - we took a backway unknowingly to the light tunnels and ended up in a pretty dicey situation even for a Jeep Grand Cherokee.  Service is touch and go in a lot of the desert.

Unbelievable Experience!

This was a last minute decision while driving from CA to IN. It’s a 35 site campground, no reservations accepted. We had a back up plan in case it was full, but that wasn’t necessary, there was only one other person there. We chose a campsite on the opposite side from where he was. We stayed on the west side, which was beautiful, as we looked directly at the canyon walls. There are pit toilets and trash receptacles at frequent intervals. There is non drinkable water available. No firewood on site, and you can’t collect. You are roughing it here, but if you are okay with that, you can’t beat this experience! We paid $6 for the night with our ATB pass, it’s $12 normally. It was crazy windy through the night, I don’t know if that’s normal or not. So windy we left the pop up trailer hitched to our Jeep because the gusts were incredibly strong and we were worried about the trailer being tossed. All kinds of critters about, including in the restrooms, so be aware.

Good times at AVI KOA

If you’re looking for some peace and quiet you might want to skip this campground, but if you’re looking for some fun and a late night out this is a great spot. The KOA campground is nothing special, very basic, barren wasteland with full hookup sites. The cool thing here is that the AVI casino is directly across the street and is the only thing around for miles, so you’ll most likely be spending your time there like we did. We did not hang out at the river as it looked like total mayhem (fun but chaotic), crowded beach area with boats everywhere, and loud music. The pool area was also crowded but we managed to find a table and lounge chairs and let the kids loose. You can’t bring in your own drinks unlike the beach area but we were able to order a couple of rounds of over priced mediocre cocktails/ beers. After the sun went down all the parents decided drop off all kids at the kids care play center where you can leave your kid in there till 2am, yes that’s right 2am. All of us parents laughed at that but then went out gambling and eating out late and ended up picking our kids up close to 1am. The kids loved it, it was a bit of a lord of the flies situation in the kids center that late at night (just running around wild and crazy) but they were safe and had a blast. After getting back to the camper and putting our zombie kids to sleep we noticed that it’s still a party outside with fireworks going off throughout the night. It wasn’t terrible but fireworks are legal there and people set them off late into the night. Again, if you are looking for a fun night with friends and family check this place out, but if you’re looking for a peaceful place look elsewhere.

Nice campground

Had plenty of room for multiple tents on one campsite. The campsite was well maintained and was great if you like to do some plain and simple camping. Very close to several good hiking trails and not far from several other desirable locations within the national park.

Quick Vegas Getaway

Facilities are clean and spots are plentiful May-September due to the extreme heat. All sites are pull through RV sites that easily accommodate 2-3 tents (4man). Rumors have it they are clearing sites to create a tent only section but it will not be ready until fall 2020.

Until then expect to pay the $20/night + $10 utility hookup.

Campground is right next to Avi Casino

This KOA is right next to the AVI Casino. Looks like a great place to stay if you don't want to pay casino room prices, but have all the convinces of staying at AVI. Journey is literally right across the street, and you can walk over for many things to do at the AVI resort.

Camp under the stars in a Joshua Tree forest
  • Free primitive campground great for boondocking! First come first serve.
  • Right across from the Teutonia Peak trailhead. Perfect for going on a day hike and explore the landscape surrounded by Joshua Trees
  • Shell gas station about 11 miles up Interstate 15 if you need to pick up water and supplies
  • Dirt roads with gravel with some small rocks when approaching campground.
  • Fires are allowed and some sites have firepits. You can always make your own with the rocks in the area.
  • The land is owned by Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and dedicated to the fallen soldiers of all wars
  • The best sites are the two right around the White Cross Memorial boulders. The one near the front of the cross (entrance) is great for group camping. It has two picnic tables and is right next to a large Juniper tree. The one in the rear of the White Cross is very spacious and has large rocks that protect from the wind.
  • Amazing star gazing in the dessert with very little light polution
  • Some spots may be difficult for vehicles without high clearance. Beware of scraping the underbelly your cars or trailers on rocks in the road.
  • Pretty secluded and remote camping. There were about 6 other campers near us -- mostly RVs and a few tent sites
  • No showers, toilets, running water. Practice LNT and pack in pack out.
  • Wifi is okay -- 2 out of 4 bars (AT&T)
Nice and shady but too many drugs and druggies

The people that run the place are horrible. I thought it looked like a great place but found out quickly that it was much safer to go somewhere else. Will never use that place again

More permanent trailers than RV-ers

This is a smallish lot with more permanent housing than your average RV resort. It is on the Colorado River, and does have a case on site that has great bar foods and drinks available as you watch the traffic moving along on the river.

Closed

Not sure what happened here, but it's a ghost town. Looks like the owners just packed up and left with the lights still on. The sign out front says it's for sale, so maybe one day this campground will make a return.

Small, but cozy and right on the Colorado River

This is a small campground located right next to the Colorado River. This site has a motel, RV and what looks like tent sites. Looks clean and has views of the docks right on the water

Not much going on here...

This area has an unheated pool and a rec area that has a pool table, card table and a couch facing a big TV that's equipped with a VCR and a big library of tapes to go with it. They also have a laundry mat here, a pretty well stocked store and a couple of horseshoe pits. The site itself isn't that great, there's no concrete slabs, it's just a big gravel parking lot with a few separation bushes and plants. But it is a decent location because its walking distance from the Colorado River, (and beside it) is the River Front Cafe. The cafe has more of a bar feel, but it has some nice views as you are eating some pretty good food.

T-mobile has great cell service here, and the water pressure is fantastic. Just don't buy gas here in Needles. It's twice the price of any current gas station. Go to one of the other towns that lay right on the outskirts of Needles town.

Feels very private!

This site is a walk away from Needles KOA, so if you need anything small, it's a very short walk to their store (where they carry some foods and drinks).

This campground is also a very close walk to the Colorado River, and the River Front Cafe which has some pretty great food if you don't feel like you want to cook.

This campground has huge bushes and trees in between each RV station and gives you the feeling like it's totally private. It also gives you some extra sun protection and shade, making your camper feel cooler.

It has a pool and laundry mat on site, but I didn't see much else.

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!

~~~

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!