Sleep under a Zillion Stars
There are over 300 Campsites in the Park
You'll get to sleep under the stars and wake up in the middle of the California desert. If you're lucky, you'll get to hear coyotes howling in the distance. Spooky, but amazing.
How it Works
Camping is $15 (or $20) per night. First Come - First Serve.
No reservations for individual campsites. The best time to find an available campsite is typically in the morning (9am-noon), right after people pack up and leave. If you arrive late Friday night, it can be hard to find a spot at the smaller campsites.
are based on the "Honor" system.
There are no attendants, no security cameras, no credit-card readers - Just little yellow envelopes, and YOU.
At the entrance to each campground, there is a Bulletin Board / Sign with campsite information. Nearby, there will be a metal box with Yellow envelopes. Pick up one (or two) of these envelopes on your way in. Then drive in and locate an available campsite.
As you drive thru the campground, you will notice that each campsite has a numbered post with a metal clip on it. If there is a yellow slip clipped to the post, then the site is taken (regardless of whether there is a car there or not). If there is no yellow slip on the post AND the site is empty, then the site is available (if there is a car/belongings present, but no yellow slip, then keep looking).
Once you locate/choose an empty campsite, park there. Then fill out the yellow envelope and put your fees in for each night you will be staying. Tear off the slip from the envelope and clip it to the numbered post in front of your chosen site. Then deposit the sealed yellow envelope back in the metal box near the Bulletin Board at the entrance of the campsite. You are all set! Lucky You!
Each campsite has parking (1 or 2 cars), a Fire Pit, a Metal BBQ and a Picnic table. That's it. No water. No electricity. There are common restrooms (bring toilet paper) and dumpsters. You'll find that people are pretty cool here, so do your part and be cool as well - remember the Honor system? Typically, a Park Ranger will cruise thru once a day, so have your Yellow slip on the post!
When your stay is completed, pack everything up and remove the yellow slip from your numbered post. Then the next camper will know that the campsite is now available.
Leave the campsite cleaner
than you found it
Which Campground to Choose?
There are a number of different campgrounds in the Park. They each have their own personality, and they each target a certain type of visitor. I'm listing these in the order of desirability. Yes, it's my personal opinion...
Hidden Valley (Intersection Rock)
- 44 campsites
- This is the favorite campsite for climbers because there are tons of climbs within walking distance (There are 1000s of established climbing routes in the park). It can/will be full during prime season (September - April) but it attracts a nice group of visitors. (If it's full, check out Ryan campground a few miles away).
White Tank (Arch Rock)
- 15 campsites
- This campground is located out East in the park. It is more secluded and attracts a fun group of Star Gazers. It has only 15 spots, so you'll want to get there around 9-10am to get a spot (just as someone is leaving).
- This campground is right next to Arch Rock.
- It's a cool place to take pictures of the stars at night, but don't expect to have this place to yourself on the weekends. It attracts a crowd, but that's part of the fun!
- Bring your head lamps and go out night hiking. It's a pretty enclosed place, so there's little chance that you'll wander off too far. It can be noisy during the weekends as people will show up at all times of the night for night photography.
- Go with the flow! (If it's full, check out Belle campground about a mile away).
- 18 campsites
- This is on the Eastside, near White Tank.
- It's quiet and secluded and a good choice if White Tank is full.
- 31 campsites
- Located near Hidden Valley.
- It's quiet and secluded and a good second choice if Hidden Valley is full. Also, it's an easy walk over to Cap Rock (day or night) to visit the unofficial grave marker for Gram Parsons!
- 120+ campsites
- This campground targets RVs, larger Campers and big groups.
- It is not as quiet or intimate as the other campgrounds.
- I suggest you stay here only if the other campgrounds are full.
Indian Cove Campground (climbers) and Black Rock Campground (RVs/Families)
- These campgrounds are accessed from outside the main park and both have about 100 campsites each.
Before visiting, check the Park website for more details, regulations, pet restrictions, alerts and current information.
It's the desert!