I’m taking notes on how to plan dispersed camping. My partner and I will be driving a camper van from San Francisco to Las Vegas along the Eastern Sierras and this is probably our most difficult to plan trip so far. We’ve had a lot of help from people and many recommended looking into dispersed camping spots. I’ve never done it before, it sounds “simple” but I found the information wasn’t readily available the same way as camping spots are on Recreation.gov or ReserveCa.
I started with a YouTube by Wasting Time In The Woods that recommended Gaia to overlay the Motor Vehicle Use Maps (MVUMs) on top of the Gaia map.
Find public land approved for recreational use. National Forests by the Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) tends to be deserts, or Off-Highway Vehicle Areas (OHV areas). Each area has their own rules.
For example, Stanislaus National Forest allows for dispersed camping by parking along the road without blocking traffic and then hiking up to 150 ft to your campsite. Other restrictions apply, but in general that’s a fairly large berth.
I called the Placerville Ranger Station to ask: