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LTVA Camping

A growing number of RVers have discovered that the mild winter climate of southern Arizona and California along the Colorado River suits their lifestyle perfectly. Recreational activities abound in this region, from hiking and mountain biking to fishing, outdoor photography, painting, gambling at several Indian casinos, or just visiting with fellow campers and enjoying the vivid desert sunsets.

To meet the needs of long term winter visitors, while at the same time protecting the often fragile desert environment, the United States Bureau of Land Management (BLM) established Long Term Visitor Areas (LTVAs). The United States Bureau of Land Management offers RVers many wonderful free and low cost camping opportunities throughout the West. In the Southwest, the Bureauís fee-based LTVAs draw thousands of RVers every year, who come to dry camp and bask in the desert sunshine.

The BLM offers a seven month permit good at all fee-based LTVAs, as well as a fourteen day permit. The long term permit is good at all LTVAs for seven months, from September 15 to April 15.  Both permits are good at all LTVAs, and permit holders can move from one LTVA to another without additional fees. National Parks Golden Age, Golden Access, and Golden Eagle reduced fee cards are not accepted for LTVA fees.

The LTVA program has proven to be very successful as RVers embrace the independent lifestyle dry camping on BLM lands offers. The areas designated as LTVAs were chosen because of their popularity with winter visitors and because access roads had been developed and facilities RVers need are available nearby. LTVAs are located at Hot Spring, north of Interstate 8 near Holtville, California; at Tamarisk, south of Interstate 8 in California; at Pilot Knob, also south of Interstate 8 in California (near Yuma, Arizona); at Mule Mountain, south of Interstate 10 near Blythe, California; at Midland, north of Interstate 10 near Blythe, California; at Imperial Dam in California; and at La Posa, south of Interstate 10 near Quartzsite, Arizona.


Services and facilities at the various LTVAs range from trash collection points to dump stations, restrooms and water. Not all LTVAs offer the same facilities. In most cases, running water, showers, and bathrooms are not available at the LTVAs. Since only minimal facilities are available at most LTVAs, visitors should arrive in self-contained RVs with sufficient fresh water and waste holding tanks to accommodate their needs. RVs that are not self-contained are not allowed at Hot Springs , Tamarisk, Pilot Knob, and Midland LTVAs. RVers must transport their trash and sewage to the nearest disposal site.

Many RVers have found a way to give something back by volunteering as hosts and for other duties at LTVA areas. These volunteers have helped make the program a success and help to keep user fees low.

RVers who wish to camp on BLM land outside of the LTVAs may stay in one location for up to fourteen days in any 28 day period at no charge, unless otherwise posted.  After fourteen days, short term campers are required to move to another site outside of a 25 mile radius of their original campsite.

RVers can purchase LTVA permits at host entrance stations, or at BLM offices in Yuma, Arizona; Palm Springs, California; and El Centro, California. Permits are not available through the mail. For more information on the Bureau of Land Managementís LTVAs, visit their websites at  for Arizona LTVAs and for California locations.