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Old 11-28-2018, 11:21 AM   #1
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Boondocking on NPS land

I did a bit of research but I can not find any information about boondocking on National Park Service land. I can find all kinds of information about their camp ground, but that is not helpful.

Are you allowed to boondock on NPS land?
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Old 11-28-2018, 11:37 AM   #2
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Call the NPS and ask.
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Old 11-28-2018, 11:57 AM   #3
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Generally you need to stay in a campground in the national parks. There are a handful of very remote areas where you're allowed to hike in and pitch a tent but no roads to drive a RV. If people parked wherever they wanted in a national park the parks would be in terrible shape.

You can boondock on national forest and BLM lands but inquire where first. Again, you just can't plop down anywhere.
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Old 11-28-2018, 01:31 PM   #4
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I don't believe that any of the national parks allow boondocking. However, I am aware of several national parks that are immediately adjacent to a national forest, where boondocking is allowed.



Are there any particular parks that you are interested in?


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Old 11-28-2018, 02:08 PM   #5
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Here's one you could try with a tent:

https://www.nps.gov/gaar/planyourvisit/camping.htm
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Old 11-28-2018, 03:38 PM   #6
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If you're talking about using the back country areas of the NPS parks, you have to get a back country pass at most of them that allows you access to the lesser traveled areas. Inquire at the main welcome centers or park ranger offices. I know Bryce Canyon NP does it this way.
As someone mentioned, they don't always have road access, but there's usually a USFS road nearby where off grid camping is allowed. Again, check their whereabouts at the nearest NPS ranger station. We couldn't get a campsite at GCNP South Rim one time, but there's a USFS road just south of Tusayan that the rangers said could be used for overflow campers. No facilities, just RV parking sites.
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Old 11-28-2018, 04:28 PM   #7
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I was asking about anywhere to park my 5th wheel.

I am fully self contained, which is the reason for an RV vs a hotel room. I am not worried about hook ups or services.

I have seen the rules for BLM and USFS ground, I just could not find any for NPS.

At this time I am not looking at a particular park, but living in the PNW we have several. I know I can call each one and find their rules, but if there was a link that actually covered it then having printed documentation is always best vs, "I talked to someone on they phone and they said it was ok".
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Old 11-28-2018, 05:44 PM   #8
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The rules are usually available on the specific national park web site.

Except for Death Valley NP, most of the California based National Parks don't permit RV camping outside of developed campgrounds. Most of the back country in these parks are also designated wilderness areas without roads and don't permit vehicle access at all. In Yosemite you can't even backpack in and camp in a tent outside a campground until you are at least 4 miles from the nearest road.

Death Valley has a lot of unpaved Jeep quality roads and may permit boon docking but the roads may not be suitable for pulling an RV on them.
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Old 11-28-2018, 07:49 PM   #9
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I know of several areas where boondocking is done on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. I have no idea if it is "legal"? But I have seen boondockers right on the rim. Talking to locals is always a good idea. But you don't find locals in an RV park. Those in uniform aren't going to tell you what you want to hear.
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Old 11-28-2018, 08:50 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ByeTheWay View Post
I know of several areas where boondocking is done on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. I have no idea if it is "legal"? But I have seen boondockers right on the rim.
We've boondocked there, also, but I believe you will find the boondocking areas are on national forest lands... same for the South Rim. I think the 'uniforms' are the ones you want to ask about legal spots.
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Old 11-29-2018, 06:59 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2008Seneca View Post
Call the NPS and ask.
Or, call the NPS, and ask them specifically if there's an NPS.GOV webpage that covers your questions.
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Old 12-06-2018, 05:48 PM   #12
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Big Bend national park allows "back country camping" with permit. Have done it in a class B, would be tough in 5th wheel
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Old 12-06-2018, 07:34 PM   #13
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There are several dispersed camping places in Big Bend that will accept fifth wheels. Check with Rangers at Panther junction

There are a few boondocking spots at Crater Lake

Dog Canyon in Guadalupe National Oarkis remote with great hiking. We called the Ranger at Dog Canyon about availability. His answer was basically “please come, it is lonely here!”

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Old 12-06-2018, 10:50 PM   #14
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The OP asked about boondocking. Big Bend and Guadalupe's Dog Canyon have designated campsites although they are more secluded than the front campgrounds. Still, you can't just go off wandering and set up camp anywhere you want.
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