Dispersed camping in National Forests is a great option for campers who want to get away from developed campgrounds. These primitive camping spots offer no amenities, except for the occasional fire pit. On our long drive from Ohio to California, we made it a point to stop in at our favorite spot outside of Flagstaff, Arizona. In the video below, we share how we find dispersed camping in National Forests.

Dispersed Camping in National Forests

The best method for finding a spot is to visit the local forest office. Ask the ranger for guidelines on dispersed camping in that particular national forest. Then grab a copy of the Motor Vehicle Use Map to locate available camping spots in the area. Most national forests have a a 14 to 30 day camping limit.

Additional Resources

US Forest Service – search for the National Forest you want to camp in, then locate the dispersed camping guidelines and motor vehicle use maps for that area.

Allstays Camp & RV App – turn on the filter for “Public Lands” to display dispersed camping in a specific area.

Freecampsites.net – a community driven website where users share free camping spots they’ve discovered including dispersed camping.

Campendium – this website has a specific National Forests section. Turn on the “free” filter to narrow down search results.


Pack it in and pack it out. When boondocking in the national forest or on BLM, pack out all trash and follow the guidelines for proper human waste disposal.

If you enjoyed this post, check out more Free Camping posts.

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