As far as I can tell, the springs there closed in 1974, and I can't see any accommodation still active in what is now basically an abandoned town. Is it legal to free camp there still, now that it's been reclaimed by the government?

  • If it's now a part of the California State University, I guess you would have to ask them?
    – uncovery
    May 14 '15 at 4:40
  • Unless free camping is available on state land, even if a uni shares it. I'm still looking.
    – Mark Mayo
    May 14 '15 at 7:43
  • 1
    This is an awesome name. I approve.
    – Ankur Banerjee
    May 15 '15 at 15:48

Well here is the straight scoop from the guy who has lived here and run the place for 31 years. National Park Service regulations state that there is no road-side camping along Zzyzx Road, nor at our facility here at the California State University Desert Studies Center. Visitors are asked to park at the Park Service "Orientation Center" parking lot near the end of the pavement of Zzyzx Road. Walk-in access to the historic site is open 7/365 during daylight hours.

We are certainly not an abandoned ghost town as is often reported on the web. Far from it. We are a field station of the California State University (since 1976). In 1994, our site was placed within the Mojave National Preserve by an act of Congress, and which is now administered by the the National Park Service. Their regulations and rules currently apply. This land was formerly under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Land Management. Wanna know more? Go to our website at: http://nsm.fullerton.edu/dsc/

  • 2
    That is an amazing first-hand knowledge answer. Thank you so much!
    – Fattie
    Jun 24 '16 at 21:57

The way I understand it is that Zzyzx (I love this name) is part of the Mojave Natural Preserve in which camping is allowed, if not encouraged seeing as it is one of the main leisure activities for visitors. Both camping at organised camp grounds, as well as roadside camping are allowed. To this purpose, the Mohave NP Camping regulations explicitly mention Zzyzx Road, stating that it is forbidden to camp within 1/4 mile of it:

Camping is not permitted: within 1/4 mile of any paved road or the Zzyzx Road;

It would therefore seem that you can camp close to Zzyzx. You can definitely pass by the settlement though since a self-guided trail begins there. Indeed Zzyzx Road becomes Paul Tiberius Road which connects to Old Government Road/Mojave Road, and the latter is one of the many trails through the Mojave NP.


After some more research myself, I found the Wikivoyage article on the Mojave desert states:

The best way to experience the Mojave is to camp. Much of the area is Bureau of Land Management land, with open camping allowed.

The Mojave Road
Dry Lakes
Dumont Dunes
Kelso Dunes

So it appears that open camping is possible on BLM land, including the area of Zzyzx.

  • Indeed the Barstow Field Office page says Except for "special areas" with specific camping regulations, visitors are welcome to camp anywhere on BLM managed land.. However I'm getting the feeling that Zzyzx is under the Needles Field Office jurisdiction. Whether this makes a difference or not I can't figure out.
    – JoErNanO
    May 14 '15 at 12:58
  • FYI, the acronym for the US Bureau of Land Management is BLM, not BOLM.
    – mkennedy
    May 14 '15 at 19:19

The BLM hasn't run Zzyzx since 1994. It's now within the National Park system. No camping is permitted along the road or in any parking lot, and rangers frequently issue tickets. Everything around Zzyzx Road is considered National Park Wilderness.

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