Ready for a rugged desert adventure? Try Nevada’s newest boondocking spot near Las Vegas, Avi Kwa Ame National Monument. Here’s what you need to know about this newly designated landmark in the Southern half of the state.
Introducing the Avi Kwa Ame National Monument in Nevada
In March, 2023 President Biden declared America’s newest national monument. What has long been a great boondocking spot near Las Vegas is now called the Avi Kwa Ame National Monument. The declaration is a huge win for the Fort Mojave Indian Tribe and other tribal nations in Southern Nevada. Other groups pushing for the designation included hunters, anglers, backpackers, and RVers like us.
Avi Kwa Ame translates to “Spirit Mountain,” an important cultural landmark within the national monument. The correct way to pronounce it is “Ah-vee-kwah-may.”
The Hopi and Southern Paiute people consider it sacred land. Tribal nations believe that their creation story begins at that location.
This new national monument is home to vital wildlife like the desert tortoise, bighorn sheep, numerous bird species, and plans like the ancient Joshua Trees. The designation means it is protected forever from commercial development. But existing roads and cattle grazing stays, and outdoor recreation opportunities will remain open for recreation enthusiasts. In fact, advocates for Avi Kwa Ame are looking forward to adding more recreation opportunities to the area now that it is protected from activities like mining and solar farm installations.
Can I Camp in Avi Kwa Ame National Monument?
Yes, camping is still allowed at Avi Kwa Ame. If you find yourself leaving Las Vegas headed south on State Highway 95, make it a point to go camping in this 500,000 acre designated area. It’s located halfway between Boulder City and Laughlin, Nevada.
There is no better place to try desert boondocking in the most rugged, wide open camping areas in the Mojave Desert. It’s filled with ancient petroglyphs, rockshelters, and artifacts from tribal nations, old timey miners, and rugged desert overlanders.
The monument is a perfect place to get away from the craziness of Sin City. It’s a good addition to the many free and cheap camping locations near Las Vegas. Night sky here is dark and full of stars. It’s quiet too. And if you’re towing an off-road RV, when you get way into the backcountry, you might not see anyone during your stay.
What Can You Do at Avi Kwa Ame National Monument?
The Avi Kwa Ame monument area is protected from commercial development. But that doesn’t mean you can’t go boondocking there. Or four-wheeling. You can enjoy backcountry hunting and hiking, too.
- RV camping
- Bird and wildlife watching
- Ghost town exploring
- Mountain Biking
- and more!
What to Know About Dry Camping at Avi Kwa Ame
Road are vehicle-accessible, but that doesn’t always make them easy driving for RVs. Tread with caution. You can start exploring on Wee Thump Joshua Tree Road, located on westbound Highway 164, about eight miles west of Searchlight.
This monument has lots of dirt roads, but most are rugged and not meant for RVs. If you begin on Wee Thump Joshua Tree road, you can safely take an RV on eight miles of a graded road. This road gets narrow in places but if it hasn’t rained, it’s fine for any RV. Stop at the old windmill tower and livestock area, which makes a great campsite. Don’t take your RV any further until you explore with your toad, bicycle, or on foot.
Prepare for desert weather.
The altitude is at about 4,000-feet elevation. It can get cold, windy, or scorching hot depending on the season. The best part is that if you have a good RV solar system, Avi Kwa Ame’s wide open skies make it easy to generate power.
Watch for thorns.
It was February I went dry camping at Wee Thump. Goat head thorns exploded throughout the windmill camping spot. If you have a dog, ideally they will wear some high quality dog boots. When we camped there, one goat head thorn was so big that it penetrated our dog’s boot sole and poked his paw. Ouch!
Keep your dog on a leash.
Wild boar also call Avi Kwa Ame home. The two species do not mix.
Pack it in, pack it out.
There are NO FACILITIES or trash service at Avi Kwa Ame. Treat it with reverence and respect. Whatever you take in, take out. Leave no trace.
Otherwise, this quiet RV dry camping spot makes a nice place to stay for a night or two. When you’re done dry camping, go clean up at any of the awesome RV parks in Las Vegas. Or, you can always disconnect your RV toad and explore deeper into America’s newest national monument, Ave Kwa Ame “Spirit Mountain.” I guarantee you’ll find plenty to see, do, and enjoy!