Carrizo Plain National Monument

Overview:

If your a van or RV nomad looking to get away to the middle of nowhere, then Carrizo Plain National Monument is the place for you. The National Monument is operated by the Bureau of Land Management as public lands.  There is a lot of wildlife to include birds, deer, and small animals. What makes it even better is that you can boondock here.  

Adventure:

If you have ever wanted to explore California’s Central Valley, the Carrizo Plain National Monument is a perfect place to begin. The Bureau of Land Management operates Carrizo Plain National Monument which is 204,107 acres. 

Map: Carrizo Plain National Monument Map

Brochure: Carrizo Plain National Monument Map and Guide (10Mb)

The main activities here are exploring the surrounding area, boondocking, wildlife photography, and camping. The best time of the year to visit is in the spring when all the wildflowers are blooming.

Carrizo Plain National Monument is in a remote area, with the nearest community an hour away. You’ll want to make sure you’re stocked up on fuel, water, and other supplies before making the trip out.

Soda Lake

One of the main attractions is Soda Lake which is a white salt lake bed surrounded by endless grassland and mountains. It is the largest remaining natural alkali wetland in southern California and the only closed basin within the coastal mountains.

The lake and surrounding area are home to many types of endangered animals as well as migratory species, you’re sure to encounter wildlife during your visit. 

Camping

There are two  BLM campgrounds and plenty of dispersed camping. Vans and small RVs trailers can fit into the campsites but be careful that the roads are dirt and gravel and can get muddy after the winter rains. Below are a few details on these camping options.

  • KCL Campground:  There are 12 campsites at KCL, two of which are ADA compliant. The campsites are available on a first-come, first-served basis. If visiting during the peak season or over a weekend, you’ll want to plan to arrive early to beat the crowds. There is a vault toilet but no water or electricity at the campground. Be sure to fill up your RV’s water tank and bring along the solar panel. Make sure to check if have a fire is permitted.  
  • Selby Campground: this remote campground has 13 campsites, and each has a fire pit and picnic table.  There is no water, electricity, or garbage pickup.  The campground also has very little shade.
  • Dispersed Camping:  There are thousands of acres of land where dispersed camping is permitted. Van, RV, Car, tent, backpack, and horse camping are allowed at the campsites and backcountry areas.  The dispersed camping sites offer plenty of privacy, seclusion, and beautiful scenery. Make sure you practice Leave No Trace so everyone can enjoy these areas.  

Directions:

There are two main entrances into the monument, one on the north end and the other on the south. If coming from the north, take State Route 58 to Soda Lake Road. If coming from the south, take State Route 33 or 166 to Soda Lake Road.

The roads at Carrizo Plain National Monument are dirt and gravel. RVs should take extra caution while traveling on the monument roads due to the bumpy and uneven nature. These dirt roads can get muddy after the winter rains, so beware.

References and Other Adventures:

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