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14 Best Castle Mountains National Monument Boondocking Spots

Last updated on May 9th, 2022 at 12:18 am

Castle Mountains National Monument

There is a variety of terrain and landscapes as well as the Castle Mountains National Monument Boondocking. This vast Monument, located just north of Big Bear City, California, contains many miles of trails. Throughout these trails, you can find an abundance of wildlife as well as beautiful skyscrapers views. In addition, there are free campsites for those who want to spend the night under the stars.

The Castle Mountains National Monument is situated in the Mojave Desert, near Barstow, California. It was labeled a United States National Monument on February 12th, 2015. The Monument is managed by the BLM (Bureau of Land Management), and visitors can camp for free at campsites provided within the area. As a couple who just returned from the Castle Mountains National Monument, we have to say that this oasis in the desert is an incredible place for those who enjoy being outdoors.

If you are eyeing a place to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life, or if you love nature and history, then the Castle Mountains National Monument is the perfect destination for you. Here are some of the motives why we think you should visit this beautiful monument.

History of the Castle Mountains National Monument

The Castle Mountains National Monument was created by President Barack Obama on February 12th, 2016. The Monument is located in the Mojave Desert of California and is managed by the Bureau of Land Management. The Castle Mountains National Monument spans almost 31,000 acres of public land and is home to various wildlife, including bighorn sheep and the endangered Desert Tortoise.

Pockets of a green oasis can be found throughout the Monument where water flows out of mountainsides creating small desert ecosystems that sustain plant and animal life. The Castle Mountains are predominantly made up of Mojave Sandstone cliffs and feature formations like quartzite monoliths which are rare in the California desert.

The Monument is named after its most notable landmark, The Castle. The formation of sandstone that forms The Castle is known as Entrada Sandstone which means “in ingress” or “entry” in Latin. This type of sandstone was formed when giant dunes moved across the area and compressed the sand, which eventually turned to stone.

The Castle Mountains National Monument is open year-round for recreation activities like hiking, camping, horseback riding, and wildlife viewing. Visitors can enjoy 17 miles of trails that wind through the Monument’s rugged landscape. The most popular trail in the Castle Mountains National Monument is the strenuous but rewarding 4.8-mile hike to the summit of The Castle.

The Castle Mountains National Monument is rich in history. The area has been tenanted by Native Americans for centuries and was later used by ranchers and miners. In 1911, President William Howard Taft declared a National Monument to protect its natural beauty and cultural significance.

Today, the Castle Mountains National Monument is home to archaeological sites, abandoned mines, and beautiful landscapes. Visitors can reconnoiter the area by hiking or driving through the Monument’s scenic roads. There are also opportunities for camping, fishing, and wildlife watching.

 

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14 Boondocking Locations for Castle Mountains National Monument

1. Castle Mountains National Monument Boondocking Locations – Mojave National Preserve – Caruthers Canyon

Address
Caruthers Canyon Road
California
GPS: 35.231815, -115.301365
Elevation: 5561′

Management Public – National Park Service

The road in is 4×4. Mojave National Preserve – Caruthers Canyon is open all year. This is a free dispersed campsite. First come -> First Camped. Reservations not accepted.

2. Castle Mountains National Monument Free Campsites – Southern Nevada Visitor Center

Address
East side of Highway 95 (Veteran Memorial Highway), north of the Laughlin Highway
GPS: 35.223153, -114.85945
Elevation: 2556′

Management Public – Rest Area (Official)

The road in is Paved. Southern Nevada Visitor Center is open all year. There are 30 or more campsites at this location and the maximum RV length is unlimited.

3. Castle Mountains National Monument Boondocking Spots – Terrible’s Casino Searchlight

Address
670 US Hwy 95
Searchlight, Nevada
GPS: 35.46034, -114.918243
Elevation: 3560′

Management Private – Casino

Free overnight RV parking in this casino parking lot. No tents! Laundromat and Redbox nearby.

4. Castle Mountains National Monument Boondocking Locations – Christmas Tree Pass

Address
Christmas Tree Pass Road
Searchlight, Nevada
GPS: 35.264019, -114.778462
Elevation: 3553′

Management Public – Bureau of Land Management

Free dispersed camping on BLM land near Bullhead City. Lots of room for any sized rig. OHV traffic is common here. Christmas Tree Pass Road is the southwestern border of the Spirit Mountain Wilderness. No motorized vehicles are allowed in the wilderness. You may only enter the wilderness on foot or via horseback.

5. Castle Mountains National Monument Boondocking Locations – Banshee Canyon

Address
ESSEX, California
GPS: 35.038746, -115.398631
Elevation: 4121′

Management Public – National Park Service (Official)

The road in is Gravel and .4 miles from a paved road. Banshee Canyon is open year round. There are 1-5 campsites at this location and the maximum RV length is unlimited. You may stay 14 days at Banshee Canyon.

6. Castle Mountains National Monument Free Campsites – Mojave National Preserve – Sunrise Rock

Address
58025 Cima Road
Cima, California
GPS: 35.296813, -115.535667
Elevation: 4892′

Management Public – National Park Service

This is a free dispersed campsite. First come -> first camped. No reservations are accepted. The “get directions” above are not the correct coordinates! Those lead to the entrance of a public property. Better to use the “Mojave Cross” coordinates instead.

7. Castle Mountains National Monument Boondocking Spots – Mojave National Preserve – Black Canyon Road

Address
Black Canyon Road
California
GPS: 34.982465, -115.388898
Elevation: 3547′

Management Public – National Park Service

Mojave National Preserve – Black Canyon Road is open all year. About 10 miles up from I-40 I think, on the West side of Black Canyon road, past where the location is flagged. Last West road before Park Service Road. Maybe only 100 yards off the pavement. Very nice, maybe a little exposed.

8. Castle Mountains National Monument Boondocking Locations – Mojave Cross

Address
35.3168, -115.5449
NIPTON, California
GPS: 35.316771, -115.544844
Elevation: 5050′

Management Public – National Park Service (Official)

The road in is Dirt and .3 miles from a paved road. There are 1-5 campsites at this location and the maximum RV length is 35 feet. You may stay 14 days at Mojave Cross. A couple of good boondocking sites near the Mohave Cross and Teutonia Peak trailhead. Right in Joshua tree forest and with granite outcrops nearby.

9. Castle Mountains National Monument Boondocking Locations – Mojave National Preserve

Address
Needles, California
GPS: 35.120022, -115.528793
Elevation: 3390′

Management Public – National Park Service (Official)

Mojave National Preserve is open Year Round. You may stay 14 days at Mojave National Preserve.

10. Castle Mountains National Monument Free Campsites – Lake Mohave – Nellis Cove

Address
Boulder City, Nevada
GPS: 35.403584, -114.659445
Elevation: 653′

Management Public – National Park Service

The road in is Dirt and 11 miles from a paved road. There are 1-5 campsites at this location.

11. Castle Mountains National Monument Boondocking Spots – Ivanpah Dispersed

Address
Unnamed Road
Primm, California
GPS: 35.57267, -115.39243
Elevation: 2605′

Management Public – Bureau of Land Management

Free Dispersed camping in the Bureau of Land Management Needles District. No reservations. First come, first served. The minute we got off the highway the road is not paved. There are a few bumps in the beginning but we over came them with our minivan

12. Castle Mountains National Monument Boondocking Locations – Telephone Cove

Address
Searchlight, Nevada
GPS: 35.229776, -114.59444
Elevation: 680′

Management Public – Nevada state?

The road in is Dirt and 4 miles miles from a paved road. Telephone Cove is open year round. There are 30 or more campsites at this location and the maximum RV length is unlimited. You may stay 7 days at Telephone Cove.

13. Castle Mountains National Monument Boondocking Locations – Route 66 Rest Area #2–Essex

Address
Old Route 66
Essex, California
GPS: 34.819267, -115.081421
Elevation: 2627′

Management Public – Rest Area (Unofficial)

The road in is Paved. Route 66 Rest Area #2–Essex is open year-round. There are 1-5 campsites at this location and the maximum RV length is Any.

14. Castle Mountains National Monument Boondocking Free Campsites – Pioneer Casino

Address
Laughlin, Nevada
GPS: 35.15549, -114.57401
Elevation: 525′

Management Private – Casino (Official)

Free camping in the parking lot… Register at the casino.

Our Top 10 Castle Mountains National Monument Trails

With all the fantastic options worldwide, it’s hard to know which trails to hike. That’s why I have composed this list
of the top 10 trails at Castle Mountains National Monument that are sure to fulfill your outdoor adventure dreams

Castle Mountains National Monument Hiking #1. Kelso Dunes Trail

1. Kelso Dunes Trail

This is a very hard hike. I train with a trainer specifically for uphill climbing and hiking and I struggled. Didn’t even get to get all the way to the top because it got dark and it takes much longer than it states. I got half way maybe but had to turn around before sun down to avoid being stuck out here. I started at 3:00 pm and the sun went down at 5:30, didn’t stop for breaks.

Length: 2.9 mi
Elevation gain: 479 ft
Route type: Out & back

Dogs on leash, Kid friendly, Hiking, Views, Wildflowers, Wildlife, No shade

Castle Mountains National Monument Hiking #2. Hole In the Wall Rings Trail

2. Hole In the Wall Rings Trail Castle Mountains National Monument Hiking

The trail was really fun! We went counterclockwise, so we went down the rings, which in our opinion was probably easier than going up but we also have long legs and we’re use to scrambling down rocks. The trail was well kept and there was a bathroom at the trailhead/end of the trail depending on the direction you go.

Length: 1.3 mi
Elevation gain: 127 ft
Route type: Loop

Dogs on leash, Kid friendly, Hiking, Rock climbing, Bird watching, Cave, Views, Wildflowers, Bugs, Rocky, Scramble

Castle Mountains National Monument Hiking #3. Lava Tube Trail

3. Lava Tube Trail

This trail was really easy but super cool!!! We decided to do this short hike last second and it was totally worth it! The light shines into the tube throughout certain times of the day which makes it look mystical. We made it down the dirt road in a minivan.

Length: 0.5 mi
Elevation gain: 62 ft
Route type: Out & back

Dogs on leash, Kid friendly, Hiking, Nature trips, Walking, Bird watching, Cave, Views, Wildflowers, Wildlife, Scramble

Castle Mountains National Monument Hiking #4. Hole In the Wall to Mid Hills Loop

4. Hole In the Wall to Mid Hills Loop Castle Mountains National Monument Hiking

Absolutely stunning trail!! Panoramic views the whole time, had more encounters with cows than people. It can be a bit difficult to stay on the trail during the middle 3-4 miles, would definitely recommend making sure your phone is fully charged and using the AllTrails maps to keep on target.

Length: 15.5 mi
Elevation gain: 2,473 ft
Route type: Out & back

Dogs on leash, Hiking, Mountain biking, Views, Wildflowers, Wildlife, No shade

Castle Mountains National Monument Hiking #5. Teutonia Peak Trail

5. Teutonia Peak Trail

It was beautiful and fun, but very windy and cold. We found the AllTrails directions very hard to follow so we ended up using GPS. Also, we used more gas than expected due to getting off track. Make sure you plan your route carefully, take plenty of water, gas and warm clothes. There are some significant water crossings so be prepared for that too.

Length: 137.9 mi
Elevation gain: 8,513 ft
Route type: Point to point

OHV/Off-road driving, Views, Wildflowers, Wildlife, Rocky, No shade

Castle Mountains National Monument Hiking #6. Mojave Road OHV Trail

6. Mojave Road OHV Trail Castle Mountains National Monument Boondocking Locations

It was beautiful and fun, but very windy and cold. We found the AllTrails directions very hard to follow so we ended up using GPS. Also, we used more gas than expected due to getting off track. Make sure you plan your route carefully, take plenty of water, gas and warm clothes. There are some significant water crossings so be prepared for that too.

Length: 137.9 mi
Elevation gain: 8,513 ft
Route type: Point to point

OHV/Off-road driving, Views, Wildflowers, Wildlife, Rocky, No shade

Castle Mountains National Monument Hiking #7. Barber Peak Loop Trail

7. Barber Peak Loop Trail

Relatively easy hike with the highlight being the rings and holes in the wall. We combined the Hole in the Wall and Barber loop… which means you overlap the best part of the trail (if you are looking for something a bit more intense). The hikes had great views and easy terrain allowing significant interaction with the cattle; we even saw a newborn calf that could only have been a few days old. Keep your eyes out for the markers. Love the rocks.

Length: 5.6 mi
Elevation gain: 754 ft
Route type: Loop

Dogs on leash, Hiking, Views, Wildflowers, Rocky, Scramble, No shade

Castle Mountains National Monument Hiking #8. Rock Spring Loop

8. Rock Spring Loop Castle Mountains National Monument Boondocking Locations

Went to make the turn off Cedar Canyon onto Providence Ranch and the road was gated with an old Private Property sign. Maybe Google took me the wrong way? Looked like a cool trail and weather was perfect in the 50s in February.

Length: 1.4 mi
Elevation gain: 144 ft
Route type: Loop

Dogs on leash, Kid friendly, Hiking, Walking, Views, Wildflowers, No shade, Historic site

Castle Mountains National Monument Hiking #9. Lava Beds Trail

9. Lava Beds Trail

Would not necessarily call this a trail. It is a mountain of gravel that you can traverse. The gravel is fairly loose in some spots, making it a little sketchy. Good footwear recommended if you decide to take this on. At the top is an okay view of the lava beds below. Overall not really a hike but if you like scrambling up gravel this is your spot.

Length: 1.0 mi
Elevation gain: 337 ft
Route type: Loop

Dogs on leash, Hiking, Nature trips, Walking, Bird watching, Running, Views, Wildflowers

Castle Mountains National Monument Hiking #10. Silver Peak Trail

10. Silver Peak Trail Castle Mountains National Monument Boondocking Locations

The forty acres on top of Silver Peak are private property. I’m the owner. You’re welcome to visit at your own risk so long as you respect the remote wilderness setting and “leave no trace.” This includes no camping, fires, or firearms. The steep hike to Silver Peak is quite strenuous and potentially dangerous in hot or cold weather.

Length: 7.9 mi
Elevation gain: 2,188 ft
Route type: Out & back

Dogs on leash, Hiking, Running, Views, Wildlife

My Motivations to Boondock Castle Mountains National Monument

1. The History: The Castle Mountains National Monument is rich in history. This land was once inhabited by the Apache, Navajo, and Paiute tribes. You can still see the evidence of their cultures today in the form of petroglyphs and artifacts.

2. The Scenery: Castle Mountains National Monument is a beautiful place to explore. With its red rock formations and towering mountains, it is easy to see why it was once called the “red rock country.”

3. The Activities: There are many things to do and see in Castle Mountains National Monument. Hiking, camping, fishing, and mountain biking are everyday activities here. You can also explore the local ruins and petroglyphs.

4. Get in Shape: The Castle Mountains National Monument is the perfect place to get in shape. Over 130 miles of trails are open for hiking, biking, and horseback riding.

5. Explore Local Native American Ruins: If you love history, the Castle Mountains National Monument is calling your name. Here you can explore local Native American ruins with your friends and family.

6. Cool in the Summer: If you love hiking, but hate the summer heat, then Castle Mountains National Monument is an excellent domicile to visit. There are plenty of shaded trails and camping areas where you can stay cool in the summer months.

7. Close Proximity to the Las Vegas Strip: If you are traveling from out of state, you can still enjoy all of the things that Castle Mountains National Monument offers. It is only about a 90-minute drive from the strip!

8. Get Outdoors: Many people spend their whole lives trying to find a place where they can genuinely be outdoors. Castle Mountains National Monument is your chance to get away from the hustle and bustle of life.

9. More Than Just Red Rocks: There are more than just red rocks at Castle Mountains National Monument! You can explore 13,000 acres of a desert landscape teeming with wildlife. It is also home to the endangered desert tortoise.

10. Connect with Nature: The Castle Mountains National Monument is the perfect place to connect with nature. With its towering red rocks and ample trails, you can explore this beautiful land however you like.

We hope we have convinced you to visit the Castle Mountains National Monument. It is a fantastic place that offers something for everyone. So what are you waiting for? Plan your trip today!

Places and Things to Do and See in Castle Mountains National Monument

The Castle Mountains National Monument is a wonderful place to experience the beauty of nature. There are many great things to see and do, from wildlife to hiking trails. Make sure to visit our Blog for more information!

1. Hiking Trails: Many hiking trails wind their way through the Castle Mountains National Monument. Some of the most popular routes are the Cucharas Trail, the Apache Canyon Trail, and the Deadman’s Creek Trail.

2. Wildlife Viewing: Visitors to Castle Mountains National Monument can enjoy viewing a wide range of wildlife, including pronghorn mammals, mule deer, elk, mountain lions, golden eagles, and hawks. Many small species, such as badgers and coyotes, live in the area.

3. Camping: Visitors to Castle Mountains National Monument can choose from several campsites along Main Road. There are also an inadequate number of campgrounds in the Lee Gulch area. These sites require a reservation and a fee.

4. Geocaching: This national Monument is perfect for you if you enjoy geocaching! You can cache on all but three trails within this Monument, making it the most popular location to geocache in California.

5. Horseback Riding: Riders can enjoy a fantastic trip through the ponderosa forests and open meadows of Castle Mountains National Monument. There are many trails available for horseback riders, and most are suitable for all experience levels.

6. Photography: The natural beauty and varied landscapes of Castle Mountains National Monument make it an ideal place for photographers of all experience levels. There are opportunities to capture wildlife, wildflowers, and mountain scenery photos.

7. History: Castle Mountains National Monument is rich in history. Visitors can explore the area’s history by visiting the Monument’s museum, reading interpretive signs, or taking a guided tour.

8. Stargazing: The dark night skies of Castle Mountains National Monument make it an excellent place for stargazing. With minimal light pollution, visitors can enjoy a clear view of the stars and planets.

9. Relaxing: Castle Mountains National Monument is the perfect place to relax and enjoy the beauty of nature. With its quiet, peaceful atmosphere, visitors can enjoy a wonderful break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

10. Connecting with Nature: Castle Mountains National Monument is a great place to connect with nature. Visitors can enjoy hiking and biking on the trails, viewing wildlife, camping under the stars, and simply taking in the exquisiteness of the area.

Top 10 Trails to Hike at Castle Mountains National Monument

The Castle Mountains National Monument is home to one of the most beautiful landscapes in America. The geographical formation of this area began about 15 million years ago when an undersea volcano was raised above the ocean floor by a violent volcanic eruption. Over time, the surrounding ocean floor was raised and tilted, creating the dramatic landscape that is now seen today.

The trails at Castle Mountains National Monument are some of the most diverse in California. From easy nature walks to strenuous backcountry hikes, there is something for everyone. So no matter what your level of fitness or experience, you will find a trail for you. Whether you want to take a mellow nature walk to enjoy the rich environment or embark on a strenuous backcountry hike, there is a trail that will match your ambitions and abilities.

As an outdoor enthusiast myself, I love nothing more than spending my free time exploring the great outdoors. Whether it be backpacking across Europe, camping on the Appalachian Trail, or hiking up a mountain in Colorado, I am always looking for opportunities to travel and experience new trails.

For complete photos and videos of our trip visit our photos on our page Facebook Page

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