One of the most wonderful aspects of living in Los Angeles is the ability to get away for a weekend! Hiking and camping abound in this corner of the west coast, but so often in California campsites are booked several months in advance or impossibly crowded come summer. Luckily, we found 5 Acres Mojave, a one-of-a-kind camping experience near Palmdale. Just an hour’s drive out of the city, the campsite was remote, scenic and super unique (aka totally Insta-worthy).
While most of the drive was on major roads and highways, the last quarter-mile took us up a winding, soft dirt road through the desert. We passed a heap of trash near the turn-off that had us a little skeptical, but the site itself did not disappoint!
The campsite was soft and sandy and we decided to set up our sleeping spaces on the corner of the site closest to the bar and overlooking the desert valley. (That way, we were able to wake up to some epic sunrise views the next morning!) There was plenty of room for the five of us to spread our tents out and one of us even opted to snooze in their hammock setup under the 5 Acres sign.
After settling in, we had a few drinks, played games and lounged in the shade. Several of us took a trek to the “Kill Bill” church. The Alpine Butte Wildlife Sanctuary and the Four Aces movie ranch in Palmdale are also both easy visits from the 5 Acres site.
There were so many places to explore and so many boulders and Joshua trees dotting the desert landscape, which looked beautiful in the lavender-pink afterglow of the sunset. That night, we all cozied around the campfire, shared stories and roasted marshmallows under a starry sky. The red-painted wood “5 Acres” sign twinkled with decorative string lights and made the ambiance even more magical.
In fact, there’s a lot that makes camping at 5 Acres a uniquely charming experience. The site is equipped with a disco ball-adorned bar, shaded bamboo-thatched roof, a firepit and adjacent seating, plus a propane barbecue and an outhouse (which had only three walls, but the sprawling desert view made for a scenic experience).
This place is constantly evolving. The owner, Francois Pied, bought the land with the idea that it would be used for innovative events and a community art space. He continues to build new structures and accessorize the site based off of visitor recommendations and imaginative ideas that spring from his head.
There’s a putting green (putt and golf balls not included) and a post for screening movies (BYO sheet and projector) and a recently-added two-walled partition to help protect tents against the wind that occasionally rips through the site (you’re a little exposed to the elements out there).
We booked the site on HipCamp, which is a great resource for finding offbeat camping experiences!
Other tips . . .
-Don’t forget the sunscreen! Even though the bamboo thatched-roof bar offers some shade, you’ll still be pretty exposed.
-Bring an EZ-up tent and mats to sit on–they came in so handy for mid-day naps!
-This site is sandy! Prepare to get dusty.
-The last mile to the site might be tricky for low-clearance vehicles.
-Water, water, water!
-The Wandering Alligator
There’s more desert adventures nearby! Check out this camping guide to a weekend in Joshua Tree National Park.