Overview | Lovell Canyon Camping | Lovell Canyon, Nevada

Many campsites can be found along both Lovell Canyon Road and its tributary roads. Some sites have spectacular views. All campsites throughout Lovell Canyon are “dispersed camping“.

What is dispersed camping?

Dispersed camping is camping outside of designated campgrounds and does not offer any amenities such as restrooms or potable water. Bring everything you need to your campsite.

However, dispersed camping allows you to experience the wilderness area in a more intimate way and can be a great option for those who want to get away from the crowds.

Many of the camping pullouts along the main roads and tributary roads have room for vehicles, trailers and RVs. Others have room to park a vehicle and pitch a tent. Views can be spectacular!

Dispersed Camping Strategy

No reservations are required, it’s “first come, first served”. Some of the best locations seem to be continually occupied, so there is probably a strategy you need to master to land one of those spots. For example, camp in a spot near to that incredible “best” campsite which is your goal, find out when the current occupant of that location plans to leave (there is a 2-week limit), and move in as soon as the spot is open.

Backcountry Camping in Lovell Canyon

There’s spectacular starlit backcountry camping to be had on the great ridgelines on either side of Lovell Canyon:

  • Sexton Ridge on the West side
  • Wilson Ridge on the East side
  • Rainbow Mountains Upper Crest Ridgeline on the mid-lower East side)
  • Approach ridges to all the above ridgelines

Camping Regulations

Take care to observe the camping rules and guidelines listed below on this page in order to preserve the pristine nature of this incredible wilderness area.

Private Camping Areas in Lovell Canyon

Directions to Great Lovell Canyon Camping | Lovell Canyon, Nevada

Take Hwy 160 from Las Vegas toward Pahrump. The highway ascends over a “hump” (the Potosi Mountain area). There’s a saying around here, “Over the hump to Pahrump”. Well, you’ve just traveled over that hump. Around 4-5 miles from the point where the highway begins to descend toward Pahrump there is a well-marked sign on the right for Lovell Canyon Road.

Views Along Lovell Canyon Road

Lovell Canyon Road is a beautiful stretch passing through a Joshua tree forest that soon becomes populated predominately with junipers and pines. There are ridges and meadows and many camping pull-outs along the way. This stretch reminds me a lot of the high desert area around Bend Oregon. Very open and majestic. All the while you’re looking up at the Spring mountains with Griffith Peak standing prominent. Many of the campsites in Lovell Canyon share these views!

Details | Lovell Canyon Camping | Lovell Canyon, Nevada

Rules and Guidelines for Dispersed Camping

These rules and guidelines also generally apply to backcountry camping.

Time limit:

14 days in any 30-day period in the dispersed area. Campers may not return to the same campsite within the calendar year.

Special Use Permits:

Groups of over 25 people: Obtain a special use permit.


Campsites need to be at least 100 feet from any stream or other water source, and 100 feet from a roadway. Do not camp in the middle of a clearing or meadow; try to make your campsite less visible so that other visitors will see a “wild” setting. 

Campsite access:

Drive only on existing roads to access your campsite.

Preserve soil and plants:

Camp on bare soil, if possible, to avoid damage or killing plants and grass. Do not try to level or dig trenches in the ground at your campsite. Pick a tent site that is already level with good drainage.

Be self-contained:

No amenities are provided; such as water, restrooms or trash cans. Bring water for drinking and washing. There is NO safe water source (stream, river, lake) anymore. The only way to ensure that water from any undeveloped source is safe is to treat it. Heat to a rolling boil or use water purification tablets or a water purification filter.

Pack-In Pack-Out:

Contain trash, human and pet waste, and seal food containers. Follow Leave No Trace guidelines.


It’s best to use only propane-type camp stoves with an “On” and “Off” switch or knob. Many parts of Lovell Canyon are recovering burn areas. There is a lot of dry brush throughout the canyon that could easily ignite to create widespread destruction of the wilderness area. 

Gray water (water that was used to wash):

Spread out where it is drained, away from the campsite, to preserve the health of the soils, plants, and animals.

Feces disposal:

If camping along a road or in an area with multiple campsites, dispose in containers (zip lock bags are useful) and take with you.

If backcountry camping, dig a hole six (6) inches deep at least 100 feet away from any water source. When you are done, fill the hole with the dirt you dug up and take your toilet paper with you to dispose of in a proper waste container (Ziplock bags are useful).

Backcountry Rules and Guidelines:

Follow the above rules and guidelines for dispersed camping and note these additional rules and guidelines for backcountry camping:


Permits are required for overnight backpacking trips, and they can be obtained from the US Forest Service.

Plan Ahead and Prepare:

Find out about the area you will be visiting, including any regulations or restrictions. Be sure to have maps, proper clothing, equipment, food, and water. Keep your group size to 10 or less (this is required in Wilderness and recommended everywhere).


For backcountry camping be 200ft from trails and water sources. Camp on bare ground. Avoid damaging plants and grass. Do not try to level of dig trenches in the ground at your campsite. Pick a tent site that is already level with good drainage.

Leave what you find:

Plants, animals, and cultural sites and artifacts should all be left for the next person to enjoy.

Respect Wildlife:

Don’t feed, chase, or harass wildlife.

Be considerate of others:

Think about how your actions affect other people. Loud noises, out of control pets, cell phones, and radios are a few examples of what might bother other hikers.

Pack-In Pack-Out:

Contain trash, human and pet waste, and seal food containers. Follow Leave No Trace guidelines.


Campfires are prohibited. Use a lightweight backpacking stove.

Lovell Canyon Camping | Lovell Canyon, Nevada
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Lovell Canyon Camping | Lovell Canyon, Nevada
Lovell Canyon, Nevada is paradise for car campers. There are great camping spots lining each of the roads, many with spectacular views! All camping is "dispersed camping". Campsites are undeveloped so bring everything you need. It's "first come, first served".
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