Boondocking a Dry Lake Bed: Southern CA

Boondocking a Dry Lake Bed: Southern CA

There’s just something so striking about the patterns that form in dry cracked earth – it’s pretty dang photogenic. That’s exactly what you’ll find here at Silurian Dry Lake Bed, just north of Baker, California. Be aware though, you will also find incredibly strong winds – so much so that we kept both our slides in the entire time and had to park in a way that shielded our RV door because otherwise the wind was ripping it out of our hands!

Dog on dry lake bed with RV
Peppy soaking up the sun and the scents on the breeze

THE QUICK DETAILS

  • This is free camping on BLM land with a max stay of 14 days and no on-site amenities
  • GPS: 35.5266, -116.1785
  • There is no specific entry road, just look for paths that others have used so you can minimize your impact
  • We were here Feb. 27-29, 2019 and had moderate temperatures but super strong winds – I would guess up to 50mph
  • Be aware of any precipitation in the forecast, I imagine it’s a muddy mess when it rains and you could easily get stuck
  • We had no problem working and streaming video on AT&T
  • You can see more photos and reviews on Campendium
Dog on dry lake bed with man
Paco especially loves to run in the great wide open

This was a very brief stay for us, just a couple of nights on our way to Death Valley but from the photos we saw it looked like such an intriguing place, we had to go check it out. There was no one else out there on our first night and the next day we saw someone else had arrived but they respectfully put so much distance between us I’m not even sure what type of rig it was! This wide open area is simply perfect for dog owners. We love when we can let our pups run wild and free and there seems to be something about the wind that really energizes them. The large cracks in the ground sometimes caused the occasional falter but for the most part it was a perfect running ground.

Dog scratching her ear on a dry lake bed
Sometimes you just gotta stop everything and scratch that itch

We enjoyed getting out on our bikes and touring around the dry lake bed, we actually did this a couple different times it was so much fun. It’s pretty dang freeing to be able to cover a lot of ground, in any direction, with no worries about obstructions or traffic. You could just ride and ride. Pro tip: bike into the wind on your way out so that you can have it at your back for the ride home!

Man biking on dry lake bed
Feeling carefree and riding into the sunset

It was a little difficult to fall asleep with sound of the howling wind and the rocking of the RV but once asleep it didn’t wake us up. We ended up rearranging for the second night so that the nose of RV was pointed into the wind and it wasn’t hitting the bedroom directly – and as mentioned above, we also angled so that the RV door was more protected and that made a huge difference.

Brad had read about some wild hot springs in the nearby town of Tecopa, so we planned to stop as we were headed to our next destination. Unfortunately, these were not the idyllic, instagram-worthy type of hot springs…these were mucky-bottomed, smelly, slimy and tepid springs…we got in to try them out but I don’t think I was in there more than 2 minutes! Our feet easily sunk over a foot deep into the muck and it was just pretty icky. There are developed hot springs in the town which I’m sure are much much nicer, so if you’d like to soak, we would recommend shelling out a little cash…sometimes you really do get what you pay for!

Be sure to check out all the fun in our video:

Maggie Pitcher

Hi, I’m Maggie! I enjoy exploring new cities but my real passion is spending time in nature. Hiking, kayaking, and photography all fill my cup to the brim, as does spending time with my sweet little family. We’ve been living and traveling in our motorhome since 2016 and it’s one of the best decisions we ever made. When I’m not scrambling up waterfalls or researching our next stop, I spend my time video editing for our YouTube channel, blogging and taking pictures – we love this way of life and have no plans to stop anytime soon!