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Jill Sanford | 09.07.2017

The Mojave Desert spans from Southern California to corners of Nevada, Utah, and Arizona, encompassing about 50,000 square miles across the Southwest. It is home to about 2,000 native plant species, the most clearly recognizable of which is the Joshua tree. If you aren't sure if you are still in the Mojave or not, look for the presence of these quirky plants. They are a tell tale sign you are in the Mojave.

You have a few options when it comes to camping in the Mojave Desert, which includes Joshua Tree National Park, the Mojave National Preserve, Death Valley National Park, the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, the Big Morongo Canyon Preserve, and the Colorado Desert, among other points of interest.

Fully supported campgrounds, dispersed roadside camping, and backcountry sites are all options in the Mojave Desert. A few best practices to keep in mind are water consumption, Leave No Trace principles, setting up camp on durable surfaces, and packing out all your trash. For more on Mojave-specific LNT tenants, click here.  Even if you are used to dispersed or backcountry camping, you may want to opt for supported campgrounds just to have a reliable water source.

Here’s a list of Mojave Desert Camping options by region:

Joshua Tree National Park:

Death Valley National Park:

Mojave National Preserve:

Other California Sites:

Las Vegas Area:

Western Arizona:


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