Located in far southeastern Nevada near the Arizona border, Jumbo Springs Wilderness is the perfect place for RV travelers wanting to experience the sparseness between Lake Mead and the Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument. The history of Jumbo Springs Wilderness dates back to 2002 when Congress selected it, but in reality, there has been little to no use of the area by humans due to its extremely remote location. Owned and maintained by the Bureau of Land Management, you are welcome to use it for free camping on BLM land.
Although this is a relatively small area of wilderness at 4,670 acres, there are plenty of interesting features to be observed and appreciated. The area is perfect for photography, off-trail hiking, and stargazing, while also providing visitors with plenty of wildlife viewing opportunities. Some of the species that you could get a glimpse of include the desert tortoise, bighorn sheep, coyote, and rattlesnakes. For RV lovers looking for even more recreation, you can also visit Lake Mead, which Jumbo Springs Wilderness overlooks.
Don't expect to find any developed camping areas within Jumbo Springs Wilderness. Still, for RV campers wanting some more luxury, the closest place to stay is within the Lake Mead Recreation Area. If you are ready for primitive camping, Jumbo Springs Wilderness and it's BLM free camping is waiting for you all year round.
Since Jumbo Springs Wilderness is located in the most southeastern section of Nevada, it is extremely tricky to access. There are no paved roads that will take you to the wilderness, so you will have to take your RV onto dirt roads if you wish to reach it. While many roads will take you to the park, only one is accessible without the use of a four-wheel drive. The only way for RVs to reach the wilderness is from the north by taking a maintained dirt road that will take you near the northern boundary.
Jumbo Springs Wilderness features absolutely no services or amenities, so you need to be prepared to bring everything with you that you will need to enjoy this primitive adventure. The closest supplies are in Mesquite (around 58 miles away), Glendale (around 71 miles away), and Moapa Valley (around 76 miles away). Las Vegas is the closest city to Jumbo Springs Wilderness, which is 121 miles to the west. Although the mileage distances from these places aren't too far, the dirt road driving near the wilderness area will make traveling very slow going.
Parking will not be a worry once you reach Jumbo Springs Wilderness. You are free to park at the end of the access road and also use this area as a camping spot if you are planning on staying.
For RV campers wanting a little more luxury, there are also private campgrounds available within the Lake Mead Recreation Area. Owned and operated by different companies, here you will be able to spend a little more money for the ability to have more amenities on offer to you.
The most well-known and popular private campground at Lake Mead is right next to the Boulder Beach Campground and offers visitors full hookups throughout the 115 sites that are on offer. Most of the sites will overlook the lake and the roads inside the campground are all paved and well maintained. Other amenities available include a picnic table at each site, showers, restrooms, water collection points, laundry facilities, and a dump station. Pets are also allowed and you can get both WiFi and cell phone reception with no trouble at all.
All of the private campgrounds near Lake Mead are quite popular, so reservations are recommended so that you don't miss out.
Jumbo Springs Wilderness is a haven for dry camping, so if you are looking for anything that resembles a traditional campground you will have to head outside of the area. That being said, there are some great options within the Lake Mead Recreation Area, including the Boulder Beach Campground.
Recognized as the largest campground at Lake Mead, Boulder Beach Campground has 148 RV friendly sites available for visitors to call home during their adventure. The campground is pet-friendly and is located right on Lake Mead, which allows you to park up your RV and walk to the lake for activities or relaxation that you are craving.
Like all of the public RV campgrounds at Lake Mead, there are no hookups available. However, there are some great amenities. These include WiFi access, water collection points, restrooms, and a picnic table/grill being located at each individual site.
Boulder Beach Campground solely operates on a first-come, first-served basis, so if you want to stay here we recommend you arrive early to avoid disappointment.
Another popular Nation Park run campground at Lake Mead Recreation areas is the Las Vegas Bay Campground. Featuring 84 campsites, the Las Vegas Bay Campground is a little smaller than Boulder Beach Campground so it will suit RV lovers looking for a little less noise.
Each site at the campground comes equipped with a picnic table, fire ring, and a grate, but there are no hookups to be found at any of the sites. The amenities are similar to those found at the Boulder Beach Campground, as WiFi, water collection points, toilets, and a dump station are all available to use. If you feel like having a picnic there is also a designated picnic area too! Pets are also allowed and you should be able to get cell phone reception on all of the major providers.
Las Vegas Bay Campground operates on a first-come, first-served basis and will suit RVs under 40 feet in length. The campground is open all year round.
Jumbo Springs Wilderness is a hidden gem for hikers who don't mind exploring areas that are off-trail. The elevation within the wilderness varies from around 4,700 to 2,700 feet and the views that you can see after hiking to the higher points are to die for.
If you don't feel up to climbing ridges and mountains, you could also explore the flat terrain where the RV-friendly access road ends. Hiking is more well-suited to the cooler months so the brutal heat doesn't affect your exploration.
To the untrained eye, it may look like the wildlife situation at Jumbo Springs Wilderness is bleak. However, that is not the case. There are plenty of diverse animals that call the area home or visit to catch their food. Snakes are very common (watch out for them) and so are lizards.
If you are perched high up during dusk or dawn, you may also get a chance to see some of the larger inhabitants of the area, such as coyotes and bighorn sheep. Since this area is hardly used by humans you may be the first person to see some of these animals out there.
One of the best things about being outside with no contact with the rest of the world is that there is nothing stopping you from taking a seat or lying down to watch the skies above. Stargazing is the perfect way to feel further connected to nature, and the clear skies and minimal distractions in the Jumbo Springs Wilderness will be the perfect chance for you to enjoy it. Stargazing can be done all year round, but when the cloud cover is nonexistent, you will be able to see more stars.
Imagine being able to snap as many photos as you like without having to worry about people getting in your way or causing a scene. The remoteness of Jumbo Springs Wilderness will allow you to snap as many pictures as you like of the sparse landscape and imposing mountain peaks. Whether you shoot on film or digital you will need to be prepared for what conditions await you and plan accordingly as there will be no power hookups during your visit.
Although nothing is exactly "close" to Jumbo Springs Wilderness due to it being extremely difficult to access, visiting Lake Mead should absolutely be on your to-do list when exploring this area of Nevada. The lake is a great place to enjoy some water-based recreational activities, a picnic, or to learn more about the area. Here you will also be able to camp in more developed areas that are set up to enhance your visit. Lake Mead is open all year round.
Located to the east of Jumbo Springs Wilderness is the Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument that is on the northern end of the more well-known Grand Canyon. The monument could be another spot to check out if you want to see some of the world's most popular canyons without the crowds of the main Grand Canyon area.
Since it is jointly managed by BLM and the National Parks Service you will also have the chance to stay for free at certain sections of the monument. Consider visiting this incredible natural wonder before or after your trip to Jumbo Springs Wilderness.