Dispersed Camping: Where is it and how do we find it?

With Social Distancing Considerations, even though majority of campgrounds are closed, I know state by state, Dispersed camping is opening up. And let’s face it, dispersed over campgrounds, might be our only option for a greater part of the next while. My own experience is it can be tricky finding dispersed camping in general and securing a spot. What are your tips and tricks for dispersed camping?

In the West and Southwest states, it’s easier to find, but these are my suggestions:

  • Look for “state trust land” (Arizona has state trust lands available for recreational activities, but these are not “public” lands and you must have a $20 permit (annually).

  • Check with BLM (the Eastern states have their website here: https://www.blm.gov/programs/recreation/recreation-activities/eastern-states)

  • Check with the county you want to camp in (find the county name, search online for recreational camping opportunities).

I’ve only ever done dispersed camping in Arizona, where it is easy to find outside of the Phoenix Metro area. There are even long term (September to April) visitor areas near Quartzsite and Yuma.

Good luck!


In this zone also make sure to check out national forests!! Dispersed camping is often available in these and having dome some dispersed camping in this region before I know that there are numerous camping areas that are tucked away in those forests. National Forest sites can be a bit vague sometimes but you can look at more regional postings from that area and find more info from the individual ranger stations and I noticed they are advising in many areas just to call and ask.


Also, here are a couple of sites that I’ve used to find some dispersed camping:


But always make sure things haven’t changed with the current COVID-19 situation. I know some states have clamped down on dispersed camping because people are leaving excessive mounds of trash. (I know we don’t do that kind of stuff with our Leave No Trace mentality, but some do.)