Right here in our own high desert, are some of the most clear sky and beautiful star gazing camping areas that you can imagine. Many camping spots are uncrowded and not hampered in your star gazing experience by city lights. Some years ago, Russ and Lori camped at Joshua Tree National Monument where we were able to witness Haley’s Comet pass by our planet.

In those days, it took some planning and study to know what constellations you were looking for. It was a fun study, and still is. Yet, you can find a free application for your cellphone that actually gives you a visual and audio explanation of exactly where you are looking in the sky.

There is no need for expensive equipment to enjoy star gazing. One can simply kick back in their camping chair. Go with a pair of binoculars if you want a bit more of a close-up. Telescopes can be had very inexpensively as well. What you are looking for are the camping areas that tend to be a little darker at night for the full effect.

One camping area that is wide open would be Hole in the Wall, located in the Mojave National Preserve. Right here in San Bernardino County, it doesn’t take much time or fuel to make this a great weekend trip. Thinking about that The Mojave National Preserve is well over 1.5 million acres, you should have no problem securing a campsite.

If you want to camp really close to home, camp at the Stoddard Valley Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) area. Take I 15 north to exit 169 and you are there. This is a great place for dry camping and daytime OHV adventures if you are so inclined.

The Johnson Valley OHV area is located off of Highway 247 between Apple Valley and Yucca Valley. This is indeed primitive camping, but very close to home. Many places to camp there, you will probably experience OHV traffic noise late into the night. Depends on where you camp, but nighttime star gazing is pretty good here. The dirt road off of 247 is ok, but not great for RV travel. You will have to take your time. Recent weather has made some of the roads wash boarded.

Afton Canyon can be a good place for star gazing. It is just less than 50 miles from Barstow. The road is paved until the last few miles. It can be busy on the weekends, especially during the spring/summer transition when weather can be ideal in this area.

Locally, always remember Calico Campground. The RV sites in the upper sections are pretty dark at night. Again, this is very close to many places in the high desert.

If you want to venture a bit further away from The Victor Valley, Dumont Dunes is great for start gazing. Located west of Baker, this isn’t too far of a drive. It is quite a change of scenery with the sand dunes and all. Ample camping areas, maybe camp at The Little Dunes, where there is less evening OHV use.

Last but not least, one of Russ and Lori’s favorite star gazing areas would be in anywhere at Death Valley National Monument. It is not much further than Dumont Dunes as the crow flies, and you have several opportunities for breathtaking sunsets as well as nighttime star watching.

Budgets can be tight this time of year, and saving fuel is wise. Stargazing is free for all, no special equipment required. So sit around the campfire, watch the skies for satellites, space station passes, falling stars, and Let’s Get Rollin’!

To contact Russ and Lori, email them at Russ.Lori.Rollin@gmail.com