I Hipcamp a fair amount and I not honestly recommend staying here. Ive never left a negative review before so I’m going to be detailed and try to stick to the facts.
Host was in good communication before arrival. The directions were a little hazy at the end with multiple unmarked right turns for the last right turn described.
I arrived and there weren’t any signs or markings. There is a fifth wheeler and some unorganized yard fixtures, a toilet, a shower and pure desert. The online map of sites had me select a site set back behind the hosts trailer upon booking, so I thought I was looking for something set back. I recalled seeing host say she didn’t recommend driving back to site as it’s sandy and cars may get stuck. I went past her camper and looked for a pull off from the road onto property as I thought she said she “cleared brush to make pull ins”. The first inlet I saw I tried to pull in but didn’t notice as my suv is high up there was a tire blocking the right side. I nudged it, got out of car to replace it when I felt it and then backed out and went in the next open space onto property. It did not make sense to me to parks on road as road is one lane.
Host wasn’t back yet so I set up camp about 100 feet back. There were no marked sites to guide so I guessed. She arrived and expressed displeasure I “drive on her yard”. “Yard” is an unmarked sandy desert. She was upset I hit the tire but I apologized and said it wasn’t visible from my turn angle, and I replaced it(it’s a tire not a bed of flowers!). She complained the person the night before drive on “her yard too”. (This means making tire marks in sandy beach like areas Twenty feet onto property. ) I offered the suggestion that the instructions were not clear as far as parking but she insisted it was clear on site. It simply says “park just off road, I’ve cleared brush to make a spot, and not recommended to drive back to site as non 4 wheel drive gets stuck“. As a 4wd person that seemed like a recommendation not a rule. I tried to be friendly and say my only real need was a shower in the am, then I’d leave her alone.
I showered in the tiny trickle of a shower and slept. It was peaceful in the desert and quiet. I slept well. I can’t say I felt overwhelmingly welcome there though. There was cell service though so I felt ok in case host got agitated again.
I woke up from about 100 feet away from her trailer in the morning to hear her ranting to a friend on the phone about how stupid I was to drive over a tire and I drove on her yard, and that she specifically said not to do that on site(not accurate). She then ranted loudly that I emptied her entire 300 gallon tank(not true I washed hair and body and it was less than 10 minutes). There appeared to be a small leak way above my reach in the tank where hose inlets and I’m pretty sure it was leaking it from there overnight. She said that “people need to understand this is an off grid site and not use water like that”.
I felt uncomfortable and unwelcome. I left without staying the second night and I can’t say I recommend staying here. Host does not appear to be like other welcoming and well organized Hipcamp places I’ve stayed. Many places are low in means and humble but big in spirit and generosity. I’ve lived in many third world countries traveling and camp a lot so I am no newbie to “off grid”. My only needs are a friendly host, clear direction, a quiet place to sleep, and a shower. Those were not quite met here. Price is good but I’d be willing to pay more next time for peace and being welcomed.
I should have noticed on booking listing all the shouting capitals, and threats on the site posting for all the things host says she will “shut you down for” and kick you out for. I should have known from that what kind of person this is. Not having good communication then yelling at others you’ve invited for it or in front of them speaks of lack of respect and is not a pleasing camping experience for guests. I’m not surprised from that attitude of disrespect toward guests host constantly appears to feel she is being disrespected. Hipcamp, basic as camping is, is still in the hospitality business, my friend. Oh well. Live and learn. I’ll take the bad review if she posts it for leaving early. All my other Hipcamp reviews are excellent so I can take the hit. Just want others to not have same disappointment and uncomfortable stay I did. Hipcamp is usually so fun. I can’t say I had much fun at Shabby Shanty.
Note: my 4wd suv almost got stuck in deep sand just off her road where she recommends parking. I definitely would not recommend staying here unless you have 4wd. You’ll get stuck in deep sand. The booking shows a pic of a Joshua tree that is actually quite far in the distance not on camp. I thought from pic this camp was going to be in Joshua trees but FYI there’s only one tree in a neighbors area far away.
Peaceful cabin for nature and privacy. Good communication. Adequate showers to freshen up. Only suggestion is to put signs at end of driveways which building it is. Map is helpful but in the dark it’s hard to tell which building is which. Excellent stay!