Thus far, Sash and I have been camped here at Joshua Tree South BLM for three weeks now, with a goal of staying here for four.
This area lies just on the southern border of Joshua Tree National Park, right along Cottonwood Springs Rd. This is technically BLM land here, and as such, the usual 14-day camping limit applies. However, it’s clear that a number of RVers stay here for much longer.
The camping area is not mentioned on the BLM website, but it does appear on Google Maps as, “BLM Joshua Tree South” and “Bureau of Land Management Dispersed Camping Area“. Google Maps shows the camping area as being on the west side of Cottonwood Springs Rd, however the area actually extends to both sides. We camped on the east side, which is much more dispersed, while the west side is packed closer together.
There are no BLM signs marking this area, and it’s doubtful the BLM has even formally identified it as a camp site. However, the Joshua Tree National Park often directs campers here when their own campgrounds are full.
For the most part, it’s a quiet area. No one has thus far bothered us here. We have not seen any BLM officials, National Park rangers, or even Sheriff’s deputies. It almost seems as if you could stay here indefinitely.
About a week prior to us coming here, a big storm rolled through here and caused severe flash flooding, which actually shut down the southern entrance to Joshua Tree National Park. The BLM area was hit hard as well. The floods carved huge chasms into the soil rendering the network of dirt roads impassable. By the time we arrived here, much of the dirt road were still impassable, and thus we could not venture further away from Cottonwood Springs Rd. We still managed to find a site about 1/4 mile away, and enjoyed decent peace and quiet.
But as of this writing, BLM crews repaired the dirt roads, and vehicles are able to drive all the way into Chiriaco Summit.
Verizon 4G coverage came in excellent here, ranging between 4-5 bars. I opted to turn off our WeBoost amplifier to save on our RV’s battery bank.
There’s plenty of hiking through this area. While there is quite a bit of trash left behind, much of it doesn’t seem littered. That is, the desert has a way of absorbing much of it into its sands, decaying it, or blowing it away. What’s left are rusted metal remnants of past campers. A lot of it is actually interesting to look at.
There’s an RV dump station and fresh water at Cottonwood Spring campground inside Joshua Tree National Park for $5.00. The Chevron Station at Chiriaco Summit has propane refill. The drive into Indio for supplies is 21 miles along I-10.