Campers have more scenic, off-grid places to go RVing thanks to recent legislation by President Obama. Earlier this summer he approved the expansion or creation of national monuments in Nevada, Texas and California.
Of the three, the Nevada and California national monuments have on-site RV camping opportunities, with the Nevada monument having the most. Here’s the scoop on what you’ll find in the Basin and Range National Monument in Nevada and the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument in Northern California.
Go RVing in Nevada at Basin and Range National Monument
To the untrained eye, the vast, seemingly empty expanse of desert terrain in south eastern Nevada seems devoid of interesting places to go RVing and camping but the recent designation of Basin and Range National Monument is about to prove to visitors that there really is epic amounts of adventure waiting for the off-grid nature lover.
Located about two hours north of Las Vegas, Basin and Range National monument is 704,000 acres packed with over 13,000 years of native and western settlement culture. This new national monument has perhaps the greatest number of places to go RVing and camping simply because of the vast, expansive land within the monument’s borders. As the first the Bureau of Land Management monument site in Nevada, the new protected area includes the areas of Garden Valley and Coal Valley; the Worthington Mountains, Golden Gate Range, Seaman Mountains, and Mount Irish Range; the Hiko Narrows and White River Narrows; and the Shooting Gallery rock art site.
In addition to these scenic destinations, the monument includes one of the west’s most unusual, mile-long art projects known as “City” by artist Michael Heizer. This mammoth outdoor sculpture work has been in progress since 1972 and located in Garden Valley, near the town of Hiko. Heizer has used his privately owned land to create a massive earthen sculpture representative of ancient pyramids that may eventually be open to the public.
From the earliest Native American inhabitants to the miners and ranchers who were tough enough to inhabit the region, now you can experience the rich solitude of this remote, vast landscape at a cost of next to nothing. To experience the best of Basin and Range National Monument, the BLM recommends:
This wilderness area contains limestone cliffs, natural arches, and 2,000 acres of forest. It is best accessed from the west, via Highway 375 near Rachel.
Placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976, this collection of prehistoric rock art is about 90 miles south of Ely on Highway 318.
The Mount Irish site is about 4 miles north of the intersection of Highway 318 and Highway 93, and indicated by a BLM sign. According to Sangres.com, “The entire mountain range is filled with pre-historic and historic cultural resources, including many petroglyphs, ancient campsites, hunting blinds and lithic scatters.”
As the name implies, this canyon is believed to have been used by earlier inhabitants to drive game animals toward hunters. Petroglyphs here show all three of the main art styles found in the Pahranagat Valley: Great Basin Abstract, Pahranagat Representational, and Fremont Representational.
Although motorized vehicles are not permitted in the Worthington Mountains Wilderness area, the usual dispersed camping guidelines for BLM land applies to other areas within the remainder of the monument. Bring all of your own provisions and get ready to go:
- Rock Hounding
- Off-Highway Vehicle Use
Go RVing in California to Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument
Drive your RV about 100 miles northwest of Sacramento to experience California’s newest national monument, Berryessa Snow Mountain, an area featuring” a dazzling outdoor wonderland rich in unique natural features and loaded with recreational opportunities,” according to Berryessa Snow Mountain preservationists. They add:
“Visitors can find California’s second-largest population of wintering bald eagles, float the thrilling rapids of wild and scenic Cache Creek, witness herds of wild Tule elk, and catch a glimpse of black bears. Opportunities for hiking, camping, botany, birding, hunting, and horseback riding abound. Tourists and nature lovers in California will see more than 330,000 acres in northern California set aside for a new monument at Berryessa Snow Mountain.” The area is managed by the BLM and includes the Snow Mountain Wilderness, Cache Creek Natural Area and the Mendocino National Forest. It features an endless region of places to enjoy the outdoors, however due to the rugged nature of the area, designated RV campsites and dispersed camping opportunities for RVs of any size are limited.
Start exploring the area by reserving a campsite at Cache Creek Regional Park, a 45-site riverfront park that receives accollades by other RVers. Keep in mind that summer temperatures can soar into the 100s and potable water supplies are scarce. For more ideas about great RVing adventures at national monuments, stop by the iRV2 Discussion Forum topic “Camping Locations, Plans & Trip Reports.”