BLM Camping

California Trail Center

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is responsible for 1 in every 10 acres of land in the U.S.

If you want to learn about the bravery of early American pioneers, visit California Trail Center in Nevada. This historic site is operated and managed by the Bureau of Land Management, a federal agency that oversees public land across the United States. There are plenty of recreational opportunities at the California Trail Center, including hiking, camping, and automobile tours. It is the perfect place to see life-size dioramas, original art, and multimedia exhibits related to this time in history. 

While you are there, make sure to watch a historical re-enactment, speak with the staff, or hike the trail. This is a great spot to learn about the men and women who forged westward to find a new life. Many of these settlers sold all of their belongings for a chance to reach California. The California Trail Center is working to preserve many of the artifacts related to this time in history, including several pioneer wagons. Visitors will have a better understanding of one of the most important events in the history of the American West. 

What to See and Do

What to See and Do

Hiking and BikingHiking and Biking

California Trail

When visiting the California Trail Center, there is one main trail to explore the area. It is an easy trail that offers beautiful views of the Ruby Mountain, the Humboldt River, and the historic South Fork Canyon area. Parts of the trail are accessible for those in a wheelchair or who have difficulty walking on uneven surfaces. 

Length: 0.80 miles

Intensity: Easy

Ruby Crest Trail

If you want to challenge yourself, this trail is located in the Humboldt National Forest and takes about two to three days to complete. However, you don't have to tackle the trail's entire length at once. There are several spots where you can enter and exit the trail. 

Length: 35 miles

Intensity: Moderate

Fishing and BoatingFishing and Boating

If you want to hit the water, there are several great places to launch your boat or cast a line. The South Fork State Recreation Area features an extensive reservoir with trout, bass, and catfish. You can even swim and boat in this artificial lake. Wild Horse Reservoir is another spot to check out on your vacation. The reservoir is the perfect place to boat or fish. 


Rock climbing is allowed on Elko Mountain. This spot has an elevation of 7,505 feet, and it is one of the most famous landmarks in the area. You can climb but only at your own risk. Once you reach the top, you can see the town of Elko and the surrounding areas.

Wildlife ViewingWildlife Viewing

There are many native animals in the California Trail Center area. Mule deer, mountain goats, and Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep are some of the most common species in the region. This area is also known for various peak-dwelling birds, including the Himalayan snowcock. 


If you want to pack a lunch and visit the California Trail Center, picnic tables are found throughout the area. You are welcome to sit down and enjoy a quick snack. Make sure to bring your own supplies. There are no grills or pavilions at this location. When you are finished, place all garbage in the designated receptacles.


Bureau of Land Management Camping

RV Camping Caravan Icon

Unfortunately, there are no Bureau of Land Management camping grounds available for RV camping at the California Trail Center. However, there are several camping spots nearby this location. At Ward Mountain, 33 campsites are accessible for RVs. These sites also have campfire rings and picnic tables. While you are there, you can bike or hike the trails in this beautiful forest. 

Another camping option is the South Fork State Park. It is not one of the Bureau of Land Management campgrounds, but it is close to the California Trail Center location. There are spots for both developed and primitive camping at this state park. The sites have grills, campsite tables, and a restroom with showers.

While BLM RV camping at the California Trail Center is not possible, you can find plenty of alternatives, such as the Iron Horse RV Park. This RV campground is known for its rustic landscaping and easy access to Highway 80. There are 92 sites that can accommodate wider RVs. Plus, all of the sites offer full 30- and 50-amp hookups. If you are searching for recreational activities, this resort is in the center of it all. Whether you want to horseback ride or fish, you can find something to do within a short distance of this RV resort.

Free Camping Campground Icon

While the California Trail Center does not offer Bureau of Land Management free camping, you can boondock in the Humboldt National Forest. There are limited spaces provided on a first-come, first-served basis. Remember that these sites are primitive with no electricity or water. 

RV Rentals Near California Trail Center Plan your next adventure

Planning Your Trip

Credit: Vanna Mae, @vannamaeart

Planning your California Trail Center BLM trip

When you visit any remote campground, you must be prepared for your trip. Make sure to bring a first aid kit, cooking supplies, and other essential items. Some of the free camping spots do not have electricity or water. If you plan to stay at these locations, you will have to rough it for a few days. 

Are you searching for BLM camping? The Bureau of Land Management operates the California Trail Center, but there are no campgrounds. Instead, you can check out the Humboldt National Forest and several state parks in the area. Before you begin your trip, check out our blog for all you need to know about BLM camping.

Leave No Trace Leaf

Since the California Trail Center is a historical area, remember to abide by the Leave No Trace principles. When you visit with your RV, park in a designated area so that you don't disturb any historical spaces or damage the local environment. All garbage and other waste must be placed in the trash bins. The California Trail Center is a vital part of America's history. With that in mind, never take any souvenirs from the land. Finally, always respect other visitors at this historical site.

Leave No Trace

California Trail Center Location

The California Trail Interpretive Center is located off I-80. It is eight miles west of Elko, Nevada. You can take Exit 292 off I-80 and drive past the kiosk. The Trail Center is a half-mile down the road.

Address: 1 Trail Center Way, Elko, NV 89801

Ready to visit the California Trail Center? An RV rental is a great way to experience your destination. Not only will you be close to all the action, but at the end of a long day exploring, you'll have your RV to return to for the night where you'll enjoy a full kitchen, bathroom, and nice soft bed. Not sure about renting an RV? Here's a step-by-step guide to renting an RV with RVshare.