Nellis Dunes: OK for Camping or Not?

TLDR: Not.

I was looking for a spot closer to Las Vegas Motor Speedway, where there was a kart racing event that I wanted to visit, and literally across the street is a large BLM managed area for off road riding. Nellis Dunes is listed on the BLM website as Dispersed – Nellis Dunes. It does not say that camping is prohibited. It only says, “No facilities or services are available within the recreation area.”

If you search for info online, it is not listed on most of the boondocking-related websites. One site, Boondockers Bible, which I’d never come across before, listed it as OK for camping. And Google Maps has many comments and reviews that mention camping as being a common thing.

I decided to go take a look. The spot near the auction company lot mentioned in Boondockers Bible was clearly posted, “No Camping”. And though there was one motorhome parked in the area, it had the look that says “meth” more than “nomad”.

I drove farther south to the first large BLM sign describing Nellis Dunes, and it also said “No Camping”. However, there were stone fire rings widely scattered across the area. I drove in further, over towards a couple of trucks and trailers that had some off road riders gathered around and asked if they knew what the camping situation was. I got a response in Spanish with a sweeping arm gesture and thumbs up. So OK, I optimistically guessed?

I drove to a spot that was perhaps a quarter mile from the road, but still visible from it and unloaded my bike to ride over to LVMS, two miles down the road.

When I got back after dark, my house was still there and the view of the Vegas lights to the south was pretty spectacular. I decided to disregard the signs and spend the night.

Nobody came to visit in the night and apart from the noise of Air Force jets flying overhead, it was peaceful enough. B1-B bombers do make one hell of a racket though. When I got up at dawn and walked around, the amount of trash scattered everywhere was horrible. Not far from where I parked there was a BLM sign, shot in half, that used to say, “No Shooting – No Camping”. So make of that what you will.

I can’t recommend Nellis Dunes as anything but an emergency stopover. If you carry dirtbikes or a UTV, maybe you can put it on your list, as the riding area looks to have some interesting trails and a variety of terrain. I expect that the place is much busier in the spring and fall when the temperatures are moderate. It is unclear if the “No Camping” signage is enforced in any way, or if it is merely a suggestion. Evidence indicates many people have camped there recently.

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