Bivy Spots: Joshua Tree

  • Updated: August 15, 2017
  • Post By: Matthew Hengst

Joshua Tree Bivy Spots

Camping in the desert is usually really easy.  Drive to the desert, find a spot that isn't a road or private property, and throw out your sleeping bag!  However certain areas like Joshua Tree can offer some challenges since it's a National Park surrounded by housing and the campgrounds all have a bad habit of filling up early.

The following are a few locations near Joshua Tree that I've used in the past.

BLM Dispersed Camping Area

Officially this is where the park points you for camping when the campgrounds are full.  It's a big flat area that seems to be all but unregulated.  (Just make sure you're actually in the designated BLM area and not someone's private property)

Black and white map showing small BLM dispersed camping area north of the park at the intersections of Sunflower and Cascade roads.

It's a large blasted hellscape without any real features beyond the occasional burned piece of furniture.  Also rain can turn the area into a mud pit.

If your worried about your vehicle getting in here Sunfair Road is paved and you can cut across at Sunflower Road or Regan Road and miss the roughest part of the dirt roads.

I've been there at night and seen campfires and lights that appeared to be tucked into the hills further to the east but I haven't stayed there yet.

Section 6 / Onaga Trail Desert View Conservation Area

The signs when you enter say it's day use only but you'll find a large number of people camping back here on any given night.  It's conveniently located just outside the northern park entrance and has some really nice spots if you go further back complete with (likely illegal) fire pits.

Head south on Park Blvd from Twentynine Palms Highway making a left on Onaga Trail and heading east.

It's a dirt road from here and I would recommend having at least a high clearance vehicle.  I've seen plenty of vans getting back here but the road can degrade at any time due to rain.

The first few side roads lead to houses so make sure you go in at least past the gate.  Personally I drive back as far as possible so as not to be visible from below.

Keep your impact minimal and for the love of god please don't be one of those idiots that's leaving toilet paper out there under every rock.

As of 2018 I've seen reports of sweeps being done to clear people out.  If you do get hassled here please let me know.

247 North of Linn Road

I used this years ago before I was aware of the other better options.  We got there very late, left early, and only has a single odd desert encounter.

Drive north along 247 until you get out past the houses and find an empty patch of desert.  North of Linn Road east of 247 seemed to be the best bet the only downside is a lot of people seem to leave trash out there.

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