Life On The Road, My Way

7 Tips to Free Camping


There’s free camping available all over the US if you know where to look. So what is BLM land? That stands for Bureau of Land Management and it’s publicly owned land. You can camp anywhere on BLM land for free; you don’t need permits, you don’t need to check in and you don’t need to pay a fee. It’s considered dispersed camping so none of those numbered spots with a concrete slab, no security guy roaming around in a golf cart, no camp fee, and no capacity limitations. You won’t get turned away when the campground fills up. You can park anywhere on public land and spend the night. It’s %100 free camping. There are however some guidelines for camping on BLM Land


You can’t cut away or clear out a new place to camp. They are everywhere and easy to find, there’s no reason to cut down trees or trample plants to make new ones. Many plants are endangered, or indigenous to those areas. There are damaged areas being regrown after careless visitors or wildfires that can’t be trampled. Be respectful of the land, there’s a reason it’s protected and loved. Destroying the land is only going to lead to more restrictions and future fines or permits.

Yes, it’s free and you don’t even have to check in or call a campground for reservations. You don’t have to tell anyone you’re there. All you need to do is show up and enjoy the land but that doesn’t mean no one cares about it and that doesn’t give anyone the right to tear it up. These lands are cherished by the locals and we do everything we can to keep them safe and open to the public. Be respectful and enjoy being completely one with nature. We certainly love it.

free camping, grand canyon

Location: Grand Canyon West


Stick to the roads already in place. There are a lot of protected vegetation and wildlife. Driving across the land can do more damage than you might think and it takes years to repair. So stay on the roads, please.


There are fire pits in most spots, so if you don’t see one it’s probably not a camping spot. However, you’re free to camp there. Campfires are a ring of rocks set up to contain the fire. Look’s something like this.

free camping tipsIf you’re not familiar with building a campfire, it’s best to find a place that already has one. Build your fire up as much as you want within the rock circle but keep an eye on it. If it’s the desert, it’s dry and the vegetation could catch fire quite easily. NEVER go to sleep with a fire still burning. EVER. Forest fires start quickly and get out of control before you know it. Always put out the fire before going to bed.

It’s not a bad idea to check online before you go. If conditions are bad or there’s been a big fire in the area recently there are limitations on fires. Check out the BLM Website before you leave for your trip

There are levels of Fire Danger that prohibit the use of campfires. If you see any signs with threat level markers or color indicators that means fires are strictly prohibited and there are huge fines if you get caught, possibly even jail time.

Fire Danger Warnings

Green: Low
Blue: Moderate
Yellow: High
Orange: Very High
Red: Extreme
Here’s the website to know if there are restrictions in your area: FIRE RESTICTIONS


Bury it in a 6” hole and as far away from waterways as possible. I know it’s hard but try to find environmentally safe toilet paper, not a requirement but it does help.
I prefer using Coleman Biodegradable toilet paper but you can find other brands at most outdoor outfitters like Bass Pro Shop or Sportsman’s. Walmart now delivers and you can get your 4 pack here.


At least 200 feet. A lot of our rivers and waterways are used for drinking water. So think before you squat. YUK. It may be free camping but you can still be fined for endangering the public by contaminating the water supply. 

Free Camping
Photo Credit: NJKuhr

Location: Zion National Park


You can camp in the same spot for up to two weeks, after two weeks you are required to move to a new location at least 25 miles from your original spot. It sounds inconvenient but it’s meant to prevent people from living on the land permanently. A little crazy but it happens.


Take everything you brought with you when you go. Because these parks are open to everyone there isn’t a clean-up crew or a garbage service so pick up after yourself. Don’t burn bottles in the campfire or leave behind trash. Glass gets broken into shards and can puncture tires, people clean up fires and move them depending on wind and can get cut. Animals are curious beings and plastic pollution is poisonous.

Many birds collect brightly collared items and more often than not the chemicals are deadly. There’s no such thing as a maid service out in the wild. If you can take the time to go to a store, purchase the item with well earned cash, and then pack it out, you can take it back with you. If that isn’t incentive enough to respect the land, Park Rangers will note your arrival and your license plate, so if you trash the camp site you’ll also be ticketed for littering, which in some states including Utah can be upwards of $1,000 for a first offense, and even jail time if the land is damaged. It may be free camping but it’s not free to damage it.

Enjoy your road trip, the free camping opportunities, and always remember that this is home for a lot of people even if you don’t see them. Always leave a place better than you found it.

I’d love to share your photos so feel free to send them.

As per usual, I took way more pictures than I could possibly post on here so if you’d like to see more I have several accounts that I’ve posted more images on.

P interest

Happy Travels.
See you out there.
Hey, Look it’s me.


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  • Christine

    I think that especially now, these are great places just to get away. Traveling is still restricted and camping in spots like these will relax you, be one with nature, and at the same time still be in social isolation during this pandemic. 

    I was wondering about the two-week stay rule. If anyone stays longer or decides to live there, is there someone who checks that? And where can you buy Coleman biodegradable toilet paper? Online or are they also available at the local stores?

    • NJKuhr

      Yes, park service rangers check regularly, they mark down license plate numbers, date of arrival, and will either ticket or tow any vehicles or campers left in one spot for more than two weeks. BLM Land is public space but there are laws protecting the land. People can’t move onto the land and live there permanently. Coleman biodegradable is available at sportsman, or online at amazon and Walmart. I’m working on getting a link to purchase the item.

  • Lana

    Wow! I never do real camping before and this is the first time I know about BLM. Very intersting, I love it! Honestly I was thinking that perhaps I can try to live longer than 2 weeks there. Could be amazing! No body check or see or whatever, but then yeah it does make sense, if I stay more than 2 weeks it could be possible for me to want to move there permanently.

    But since I never done that before, do you think it can be done in another country too? And is there any apps for BLM camping activity or stuff?

    • NJKuhr

      The website for Bureau of land management has maps available to show where the BLM land is so you can camp for free. But the park service rangers checked regularly and are very strict about the daily limit. As far as other countries are concerned it depends on the country. Some have strict regulations, and others have very loose laws regarding camping long term. 

  • Paolo

    Hi Norma,

    thank you for these recommendations. I love suggestions such as “leaving the place better than we found it” and not “making new roads”. Nature is so beautiful and we show gratitude by preserving it.

    But what I like most are these nice pictures you have shared with us. Thank you! You’re a good photographer.

    • NJKuhr

      Aww, thank you. It’s the landscapes that make it so easy to take photos of. There’s not much truly wild places in the world. We should preserve as much of it left that we can. 

  • DarmiMaddie

    Thanm you for sharing here. Being a very good camper ajs I like doing it almost daily, seeing something like this here is simply great to see and I value it here. Thank you firnshfimg here with us. Having tips like this can really make the difference in our journey and how we do things and prepare for the camping in here. Thanks

  • Jbryce

    It’s very thoughtful of you to share this amazing article, I’m a very big lover of camping and I take a lit of time planning on when to go with my friends and family. Camping on BLM land for free is very good as you don’t have to pay any amount of money. These tips are very valuable and they’ll be quite helpful, thanks for sharing

    • NJKuhr

      Of course, sometimes not knowing things before hand can ruin a trip. I’ve arrived at places and wondered why not one of the travel sites I visited had told me anything that really mattered.

  • Jackie

    Ah, never have I actually camped on bml land but a friend in my squad said he and his family had the chance to go on a camp like that last year and he would love to share that experience with us. Since I knew nothing about it, I decided to check online and here you are. I think it’ll be great. Thanks for this 

  • Clark

    A wonderful guide for lovers of camping and the outdoor life on how to still enjoy camping but at the same time help to preserve the environment. If each of us do our part, then there should be no need for resources (like labor) to be wasted on repairing the Earth. Those resources can be better utilized elsewhere. 

    I can feel your love of the outdoor life as well as nature as I read your post. I saw that you have many posts relating to road trips and nature. I’ll be off now to read about your Logan Canyon trip!

    • NJKuhr

      That is exactly how I feel. We can enjoy this wonderful resource we have without damaging it. I’m so glad you’re reading more post. I have more coming, but if you have any locations you would recommend I love hearing about new places to see and explore. 

  • Christina

    Very neat article! Love all the respect for the environment and I agree wholeheartedly. I’ve never had a chance to camp out like this but I would certainly like to some day, and these are all good tips to keep in mind. Hadn’t thought about the permanent living thing, is it possible that someone would just drive back and forth every two weeks? Haha.

    Happy New Year!

    • NJKuhr

      It does happen, people stay out there for months and just move camp spots every two weeks but I think the forest service really keeps an eye on areas to make they’re not being damaged.

  • Volkert

    Great article you have Here and quiet an informative one too. Love the way BLM has restrictions over nature and wildlife itself. Although am curious to find out like how are you supposed to dispose human waste. Cause that’s one thing that requires privacy while you are helping yourself out. Even though its digging a 6″ hole, like do you have to do it in public open space, cause BLM has restrictions or protection over vegetation and wildlife?

    • NJKuhr

      Some areas do have out houses or porta-potties but areas that don’t are usually remote enough not to need them. I do recommend burring your waste if you’re staying for long periods but for the most part it’s not restricted the further into the wilderness you go. 

  • Jerry McCoy

    I found those tips for camping on BLM lands very helpful. I love to camp and see our beautiful country. I had forgotten about the Bureau of Land Management lands until I read your article.

    I am a firm believer in leaving an area better than I found it, others like to camp as well. It is the responsibility of each of us to respect the land and treat it with reverence. After all, if we pollute or desecrate the land where will we get our food and our water. There are many majestic sites around the world that are now gone because people did not respect the land, the people who live there or themselves.

    It is so easy to be a good citizen when camping. Enjoy the land in all of its aspects without destroying it. Clean up after yourself and help the land show you its bounty. There is so much the land can show you and give you if you just respect it. The wonders and beauty that are available to all is extraordinary. You just need to open your eyes, ears and heart to the beauty that is offered.


    • NJKuhr

      Absolutely. I couldn’t agree more. I was spoiled growing up in a place where it was a mentality to clean up after yourself and leave our wilderness areas as wild as possible but traveling and moving to other places where people weren’t was shocking. I’ve seen some amazing locations trashed to such an extent no one visited. It was heartbreaking. 

  • Dan

    What a great site! I love camping but I don’t think there is such a thing as BLM land in the UK and you will be seen off very quickly if you tried setting up a tent anywhere other than an actual campsite. I thinks it’s pretty cool you are able to do it over there though and can kind of understand you have to move on after a period of time to prevent people setting up homesteads everywhere – Can you camp in the Grand Canyon?. Dan 

    • NJKuhr

      There are campgrounds in the Grand Canyon and you’ll need permits. The National Park, the north and south rim, both have campgrounds that are first come first serve. Grand Canyon West require permits from the Havasupai tribe, since GC West is tribal land and ran by the reservation. 

  • Cathy

    Always leave them better than when you first found it – that’s what my high school art teacher always says when we went camping during summer breaks. Recently, I revisited one of the parks with my kids, and believe it or not, the place was exactly the same as it used to be two decades ago. The rivers are very clean and the trails are all visible. Certainly, no one maintains that area, but the previous campers must have been clearing some shrubs off the roads to maintain accessibility. The untainted place brought back a lot of good memories. 

    • NJKuhr

      It makes a big difference. I grew up in a great state that respected its wild lands. Utah is very clean so visiting countries and parks that weren’t cared for was a big shock. You don’t notice when the trash is gone but you certainly notice it when it’s there. 

  • Williams

    Thanks for sharing a post about the bureau of land management, I never had of the bureau of land management before, know about this know enlighten me and I will plan to go camping with my family this year. My only concern is, is it secure? And available all year round?

    • NJKuhr

      It is available all year round and it’s very secure, the roads are maintained and park ranger patrol the areas to clean up and monitor any damages. In some cases it’s safer than the permit based camp sites because fewer people know about it and fewer people are around. I’ve been camping and had almost the entire mountain to myself but knew there were BLM officials around that I can turn to if I need any help. 

  • Stephen Tan

    Your article is informative, easy to read, and covered your title well. After COVID 19, many people loved road trips to go to nature to avoid the virus. The investment is slightly high to me, but it is a meaningful lifestyle for me. See the camping place is so nice and cool to stay for two weeks.

    Your 7 tips to take care of the land are quite complete and well understand. Thanks for teaching me to respect the environment, especially the drinking water source. I sound reasonable and a must for me to take care of. I hope the day I go on a road trip soon.

  • LineCowley

    These are some great tips about camping on BLM land and I think most people that enjoy camping, will respect the environment and the area that they are in. One of the reasons for camping, is to be able to enjoy the outdoors and be one with nature, but it is sad that some people will disregard the requests to be mindful and respect the area in which they are camping. 

    It is important to remember to take nothing but photos and leave nothing but footprints, whenever you are camping and enjoying nature.

    • NJKuhr

      absolutely, i’ve been to many places around that world that people weren’t taking care of and eventually those places had to be closed to the public. Maya beach in Thailand for example broke my heart. I was more and more grateful to have grown up in Utah where the people are more mindful of our wildlands. 

  • rjkennedy

    I know many folks love the great outdoors, the fresh air, fishing and many other things that comes with hanging out with friends. Getting out and away is a great experience, for the outdoor type. I’m not much into camping or even hiking. (Basically I’m afraid) Just the idea of myself as a black man sleeping outside in a tent, out in ‘no mans’ land, doesn’t sit too well with me. But really camping isn’t for everyone, regardless of where it’s at.

    • NJKuhr

      That’s true too but there are other ways to enjoy the great outdoors without camping. You might want to check out mini-airbnb or glamourous treehouses. It’s the good side of camping without the roughing it part. 

  • Kokontala

    I have found these tips of camping on BLM land so important and interesting. Well, there are so many places which can be suitable for camping, without having to go to parks or any places which are owned by other  people or government. In such places, we chill freely without anyone’s disturbance but I feel the importance of maintaining such places and improving them for the better while visiting them.

    • NJKuhr

      I couldn’t agree more. It’s important to keep wildlands wild but still want to visit them. How can we develop a respect and appreciation for something we never experience. But knowing it’s not some wasteland no one cares about and you can do whatever you want is important too. 

  • Mike

    Hello there! Oh wow, that is really awesome that you can go to places like BLM land and camp for free. The place is quite beautiful with a mix of rock as well as a place near water. This is also a place that I want to add to my bucket list. Since I haven’t had much experiences with camping and this is an all natural place, what would you recommend for when needing to use the restroom? Thanks for posting this.

    • NJKuhr

      All natural. So are the restrooms. The article includes a few suggestions for this. Avoid going to the bathroom near waterways and on trails. Depending on where you are there might be public restrooms near designated locations but usually not within walking distance of where you want to camp. There’s outhouses at historical sites or information centers but not out in the wildlands where you would be camping. The choice of toilet paper is more concerning than the tree you use to squat behind. 

  • Barbara

    Reading this article brought back good memories. Years ago, when I was young, my husband and I and my young son often went camping in Colorado and surrounding states. We never camped in BLM land ,but we did camp in Nat’l Forest land and Nat’l park land. Rules were close–sometimes we had to pay a fee , make a reservation. It’s a wonderful way to experience our country’s  natural landscape. By the way, your pictures are beautiful. If people are interested in taking some spectacular pictures- camping in natural places is great way to go. If you want to take an inexpensive vacation, BLM lands is a good place to go. Barb Nelson

    • NJKuhr

      Exactly, though if you have to pay a fee or get a permit that usually means it’s not BLM land and is part of a national  or state park. The fees are for maintaining the park. 

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