Johnson Valley is the perfect location for any van or RV nomad who loves to be boondocking in the middle of nowhere while enjoying tons of off-roading. Johnson Valley is located north of Joshua Tree National Park in the Mojave Desert. The valley has also become the epicenter for off-roading and rock climbing with the arrival of the King of Hammers off-road rally.
Johnson Valley Off-Highway Vehicle Area (OHVA) is the perfect refuge for any van or RV nomad looking to get away into the desert. The valley landscape has steep red rocky mountains, rolling hills, an open valley, dry lake beds, and sandy washes.
Johnson Valley is the eastern portion of Lucerne Valley and borders the United States Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center. The area has elevations ranging from 4,600 feet at Hartwell Hills to 2,300 feet at Melville Dry Lake.
Johnson Valley OHV encompasses 96,000 acres and is managed by the Bureau of Land Management. The southeast portion of Johnson Valley offers many rocky hills known to the rock crawler worldwide as the “Hammers.” This area is for experts and has gained off-roaders’ attention in recent years.
The north portion of Johnson Valley offers a riding experience for novice and intermediate riders with some small dune. This is the perfect place to practice your off-roading skills.
King of Hammers
The off-road rally called, The King of Hammers is held here annually. The rally draws the best in off-road racing and buggy rock climbing and is open to the public. The event attracts thousands of spectators, so boondocking becomes limited during this time.
Website: King of Hammers
Johnson Valley provides a vast area for boondocking up to 14 days. Anderson and Means Dry Lakebed, Cougar Buttes, and Soggy Dry Lake are the most popular areas to camp, but the camping options are endless. The camping is free, but there are no amenities, and cell service is spotty.
The riding area can be entered from Highway 247 at Old Woman Springs Road or Camp Rock Road, 55 miles southeast of Barstow. Most visitors access the area off Camp Rock Road by driving north off of Highway 247. Staging for many competitive events is at Anderson Dry Lake, 10 miles north of Highway 247 and east of Camp Rock Road. These are graded dirt roads.
References and Other Adventures
- Website: Bureau of Land Management – Johnson Vallet OHV Area
- Website: King of Hammers
What are the top 5 boondocking locations in SoCal for van and RV lifers? The top 5 boondocking locations are: Anza Borrego Desert Joshua Tree