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Old 12-28-2012, 10:08 PM   #1
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Joshua Tree National Park

We just spent Christmas, four nights, boondocking in Joshua Tree National Park Cottonwood Campground. Although it was very cold at night and we had battery issues, I would so recommend this place. The scenery is awesome. There are some very nice hikes of various lengths from the campground. The sun warms your tin can up very nicely during the day. The sunsets are spectacular and we were treated to a full moon on our last night. The campground host is very friendly and helpul and there is fresh potable water and a dump site available. Maybe best of all, if you have a NP Senior Pass, the camp fee is only $7.50 per night.
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Old 12-28-2012, 11:49 PM   #2
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Last winter

We were there last winter for a few nights, but the campground was full. We ended up boondocking just outside of the Cottonwood entrance in the BLM right there. Beautiful scenery!
The funny thing that happened was that a small plane had to do an emergency landing on the park road at that end. Nobody was hurt and the rangers were able to get it off of the road just as it was getting dark. It seems that a man was taking his girlfriend for a ride, and they ran out of gas!!! True story!
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Old 12-29-2012, 01:31 AM   #3
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We camped here on December 8th and 9th (2012). Not exactly boondocking, since the campground roads and sites are paved; and there are picnic tables, fire rings and flush toilets. However, Joshua Tree NP is a beautiful cool weather destination or overnight stopover, and Cottonwood campground is only about 5 or 6 miles north of I-10.

Note: The area between I-10 and the south entrance to the park is BLM land where you can boondock for free. If you arrive in the daylight hours, you can see RVs parked in this area. Not sure, but the area south of I-10 may be BLM land, too.

See link below for directions and map, in section entitled "BLM Land Near Cottonwood Spring":

How to Camp Near Joshua Tree National Park: 9 steps - wikiHow
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Old 12-29-2012, 07:27 AM   #4
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We were at Joshua Tree a couple of years ago.

Spectacular area, so unique, and you can't beat the price.


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Old 12-29-2012, 08:12 AM   #5
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We were also there a couple of years ago, and camped at Jumbo Rocks campground. We loved it there. But, we were in the smaller Casita trailer, and doubt if there are any sites there large enough to get a 31 footer into. It is boondocking with pit toilets, but a spectacular area.
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Old 12-29-2012, 08:39 AM   #6
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Belle Campground a few weeks ago.
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Old 12-29-2012, 09:27 AM   #7
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You can also boondock east of joshua tree but the road conditions vary depending on how bad the rains were compared to the last road grading.
No sites but some awesome rugged country with mining in the area back in the late 1800's up till about as late as the 1980's.
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Old 12-29-2012, 09:35 AM   #8
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Any comments on the Black Rock CG?
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Old 12-29-2012, 09:47 AM   #9
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When we visited JT, we looked at all the campgrounds, and they were all nice, but at that time only Jumbo Rocks had paved interior roads of the Northern campgrounds in the higher elevations. They were all boondocking with pit toilets except the one on the South end of the park the OP visited....it has water and a dump station.
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Old 12-29-2012, 10:15 AM   #10
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Any comments on the Black Rock CG?
I stayed there for a couple of nights. Very easy access, just off the highway and barely out of town. Water and dump station. Lots of pull through dirt sites and a small visitor center. If I remember correctly, a two night limit unless you have a reservation.

I would guess it is busy on weekends with LA area climbers coming into the park.

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Old 12-30-2012, 01:10 AM   #11
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Note: The area between I-10 and the south entrance to the park is BLM land where you can boondock for free. If you arrive in the daylight hours, you can see RVs parked in this area. Not sure, but the area south of I-10 may be BLM land, too.
I'd advise against boondocking south of I-10, specially not along box canyon road (I believe that's the name of the road going south west) unless you are in need of some fresh bullet holes in your tin can... It's a well-known area for camping and practice shooting, I've experienced it first hand a few years back and moved out quickly.

North of I-10 seems safe and has great views and not too much noise form the Hwy.
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Old 12-30-2012, 10:52 AM   #12
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The roads in and around the campsite are terrible. The blacktop is all rutted and broken up. It would be better if there was no black top at all. Beautiful area though.
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