When visiting a national forest, you expect to have a quiet night and morning or even some falling raindrops and chirping birds. If you find a place to camp at no fee, your experience becomes even better as you enjoy your free camping stay in the forest.
Typically, camping involves being located right next to someone else like some kind of suburban camping experience. Dispersed camping in a national forest means finding campsites off of a forest access road. When using such camps, you have to commit a lot of effort and time commitment since you will need to do more than just establishing a campground. You have to look for the right spot since accessing forest roads is not easy. But your efforts are paid back when you get the perfect slice of the forest you will enjoy your sleep at night.
The free camping offered in such forests helps you to save money on your adventurous encounter. Also, it protects the most popular places from damage and overcrowding. In a dispersed site, you will be self-contained, and you might not have neighbors. Also, essentials like running water, sinks, and toilets are rarely available.
BLM is an agency that supports different programs that promote recreation, mining, and grazing. Almost all of the information on free camping in BLM land also applies to National Forests.
Dispersed camping and free camping is not prohibited in any National Forests and BLM land. You can find places for dispersed camping by following forests’ access roads and remote sites or on the sides of main roads. With dispersed camping, you can also opt to backpack for a certain distance then find a quiet place away from people or roads.
Dispersed camping sites in National forests and BLM lands are available to those who get there first and are not reserved in advance. When using dispersed locations, the authorities expect you to choose a location which is far from trails, water bodies and roads.
The beauty of enjoying dispersed campsites is in the lack of amenities like fire pits, showers, and toilets. If you are planning to use such a site, therefore, you should arrive prepared and self-sufficient. If your dispersed site is in the bear territory, you will have to carry a storage container that does not tell your food’s odor since dispersed camping doesn’t have luxuries like bear lockers.
To find a dispersed campsite, you can opt for an area of interest in the National Forest. Afterward, use the satellite view of Google Earth to confirm whether your route has pull-of. Also, you can choose a trail and look around it. Small clearings in the forest or dirt pull-ifs are indicators of existing camp spots.
When you get an idea of where you want to camp, confirm whether there are any fire or local camping restrictions. You can contact the local ranger at the station or any other officer. If you want to use disperse sites during off-seasons, check-in advance and ensure your route is evident because some forest access roads can be closed.