New Mexico Campgrounds (Neat Public Sites) - Fiberglass RV

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Old 10-09-2008, 04:56 PM   #1
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Adrian W's Avatar
Name: Adrian
Trailer: Lance 1985~'Casita de Campo' ~23' 4"~Dinette Slide Previously: Scamp 16 ft Side Dinette, Front Bath
New Mexico
Posts: 1,185

If you get to New Mexico this is a listing of some nice places to camp and see (if you click on the underlined words or addresses it will take you to a web site):

Aguirre Spring BLM Campground near Las Cruces is a very nice campground. The high wall, needle-like spires of the Organ Mountains curve dramatically around a semicircle of Chihuahuan Desert habitat at the Aguirre Spring Campground. The campground, nestled at the base of spectacular cliffs, overlooks the Tularosa Basin and White Sands National Monument. Alligator juniper, gray oak, mountain mahogany and sotol are a few of the abundant plant species here. Seasonal springs and streams occur in the canyon bottoms, with a few perennial springs that support riparian habitats.

City of Rocks State Park

Oliver Lee State Park

Pancho Villa State Park

Other State Parks
I believe most people would enjoy any of the NM State Parks such as these:

Bottomless Lakes not made it to it yet, on my to do list

Brantley Lake on my list to do

Caballo Lake nice place

Cimarron Canyon very nice camping area

Clayton Lake need to try this sometime

<a href="" target="_blank"><span style="color:#8b4513">Conchas Lake ditto
</span></a><a href="" target="_blank">
</a>Coyote Creek to do list

Eagle Nest Lake not a camping site but very neat, close to Cimarron Canyon

Elephant Butte Lake nice place, did a lot of camping there when we had a boat

El Vado Lake near Heron Lake, but with fast boats, been by it not camped there

Hyde Memorial near Santa Fe, nice place

Leasburg Dam near Las Cruces, nice desert camping by the Rio Gande

Manzano Mountains very nice camping, higher country

Oasis on to do list

Percha Dam nice place on Rio Grande, near Caballo Lake

Rockhound not a pretty site but if into rockhounding a neat place

Santa Rosa Lake on my to do list

Storrie Lake nice place near Las Vegas, NM

Sugarite Canyon

Sumner Lake on my to do list

Ute Lake on my to do list

Vietnam Veterans Memorial not a camping site, very moving place to visit.

Villanueva a neat out of the way camping site on the Pecos River.

Valley of Fires Recreation Area & BLM Campground

The Three Rivers Petroglyph Site & BLM Campground

Datil Wells BLM Campground

I had listed only sites (except for the State Park List) in the southern part of the state. Here are some for up north:

Blue Water Lake State Park

El Morro National Monument is neat to see & has a small campground (no showers or water in Dec but free then); there is a private campgound near by

Bandelier National Monument would be a nice place to visit near Los Alamos and not far from Santa Fe. It was a pleasent campground when we stayed there.

Chaco Culture National Historical Park is a great place to visit with a nice campground in remote area.

Red Rock Campground - We used to stay at Red Rock State Park near Gallup, but it seems not to be a State Park now. I have not been to it in years, some bad reviews in ?? but I have seen some good ones as well in other places. East of Gallop off I-40 not too far from Gallop. We used to stay at Red Rocks State Park but it has been dropped as a state park. However, besides the neat red cliffs there, behind the campground is a white formation called Church Rock .
Church Rock is also the name of the Navajo village. Red Rock is the site of a Pow Wow each year and Indian Rodeo...there used to be a very nice museum by the Rodeo grounds on Navajos. Red Rock Museum offers visitors a glimpse of the past. Through exhibits on the prehistoric Anasazi and the present-day Zuni, Hopi and Navajo, the Museum interprets the unique cultures of the Native Americans of the region. The annual Lions Club Rodeo is ranked with the best in the state of New Mexico. In addition, the non-profit Community Concerts organization host a variety of concerts during the year at Red Rock State Park. Red Rock State Park hosts the world famous Intertribal Indian Ceremonial held in August. Among the festivities are the colorful Indian Dances, the display of Indian jewelry and crafts, and Indian food booths. Gallup's most notable special event is the Inter-Tribal Indian Ceremonial held every August. Native Americans converge on the town for a parade, dances, and an all-Indian rodeo east of town, at Red Rock.
another photo of Church Rock

Ooooh, yes, another rock formation in Northern NM would be Shiprock or Tsé Bit'a'í, "rock with wings" or "winged rock". It is up in the Four Corners Country, Navajo Country north of Gallop.
I am not sure of any campgrounds near Shiprock, New Mexico. I found this one on the net.

Somewhat near, but to the east of Shiprock is Navajo Lake State Park (we have stayed there, once); it is not close. We stayed at Pine River, the most developed area along the lake, includes a visitor center with interpretive exhibits, developed campgrounds, a day use area and a full service marina. Sims Mesa is across the lake, accessible by NM 527, and includes a visitor center with interpretive exhibits, developed campgrounds and a full service marina. The San Juan River area below the dam is world renowned for excellent trout fishing and includes wheelchair-accessible fishing facilities on the river, Cottonwood Campground, seven day use areas and several hiking trails.

Bisti Badlands & De-na-zin wilderness, I have read about them in New Mexico Magazine (simular to Arizona Hwys), but have not gone there. Little visited and largely unknown, the Bisti Badlands is an amazingly scenic and colorful expanse of undulating mounds and unusual eroded rocks covering 4,000 acres, hidden away in the high desert that covers the distant northwest corner of New Mexico. The Badlands are administered by the BLM (Bureau of Land Management), and are known officially, but less evocatively as the Bisti Wilderness Area. There are no signposts pointing the way to the Badlands from any nearby towns, but the usual approach route is along NM 371 from Farmington, the largest town in the Four Corners region - this heads due south through wide open prairie land at the east edge of the great Navajo Indian Reservation, which extends for 200 miles across into Arizona. After 36 miles, a gravel track exits east, opposite an historical marker recording the history of this area and of the nearby Bisti trading post, now derelict.
Approach Roads: Five miles along the entrance track, the grassy plain is replaced quite abruptly by a multi-colored eroded landscape of small clayish hills, shallow ravines, and strange rock formations. The scene is a vivid mixture of red, grey, orange and brown that stretches for many miles. The track passes a large area suitable for parking, then crosses a dry sandy wash and continues alongside the badlands for ca 3 miles before rejoining NM 371. However, the road was fenced off shortly after the wash when I visited, a barrier which looked quite permanent. The far end of the track is actually the official entrance to the badlands, not that there is much difference in scenery or facilities. Several similar un-signposted tracks cross the sandy hills at the south edge of the formations, around a seasonal drainage known as the De-na-zin Wash. A ten mile drive along one such bumpy track leads to the much larger De-na-zin wilderness - equally colorful and even more remote, although partially covered with vegetation. The nearest towns with hotels close to the Bisti Badlands are Bloomfield, Farmington and Gallup. Scenery: After a few minutes walk into the wilderness, the road is out of sight and the surreal landscape is all around. The clayish hills are composed of layers of coal, silt, shale and mudstone with varying hardness and colouration, and are mixed with more resistant sandstone which has eroded into weird formations similar to those of Goblin Valley or Bryce Canyon in Utah. Many small ravines created by rainwater erosion cross through the hills, and there are also occasional mini caves and fissures several meters deep. Much of the surface is unstable - the layers are often loose, rocks are crumbling and some of the formations are quite delicate. Hikers should take care not to damage the features; there are no established trails, but walking along the ravines is the usual way to explore. Petrified wood is scattered across the surface - sometimes entire tree stumps, with the bark still clearly recognisable. Fossils may also be found - the teeth and bones of a variety of species including dinosaurs are embedded in the earthy layers. Abandoned Buildings: The loneliness of this strange and deserted land is emphasised by a cluster of abandoned and semi-derelict buildings nearby. These are the remnants of the old Bisti trading post, and include a large warehouse, a gas station, several storage sheds and most poignantly, a childrens' playground, now overgrown and rusty. One building is still in use - a sparsely furnished church used for services on several occasions a week, and left open for the casual visitor to enter at other times. Walking around this sandy, wind-swept location, which has the appearance of being deserted for many years, is a moving experience, made all the more memorable by the mysterious landscape.

I have seen photos and read about Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks located 40 miles southwest of Santa Fe and 55 miles northeast of Albuquerque, with the most direct access from Interstate 25. From Albuquerque, take the exit for Santo Domingo/Cochiti Lake Recreation Area (Exit 259) off I-25 onto NM 22. Follow the signs on NM 22 to Cochiti Pueblo and Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument. Turn right off NM 22 at the pueblo water tower (painted like a drum) onto Tribal Route 92, which connects to Forest Service Road 266. From the fee station, travel five miles on a gravel road to the national monument's designated parking/picnic area and trailhead.From Santa Fe, take the Cochiti Pueblo Exit 264 off I-25 onto NM 16. Turn right off NM 16 onto NM 22, and follow the signs to Cochiti Pueblo and the national monument. Portions of the Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument have reopened following extensive flood damage. The Cave Loop Trail and part of the Slot Canyon Trail are open. The upper Slot Canyon and Overlook trails remain closed until further notice.
Short videos:
Other BLM sites in this area:

Heron Lake State Park has been designated a "quiet lake" where boats operate at no-wake speeds only. This park is known for its excellent sailing, fishing, cross-country skiing, and hiking. We spent many summers camping here.

Fenton Lake State Park is a small out to the way Park surrounded by beautiful ponderosa pine forests. We camped there once, a very nice place.

Angel Peak Scenic Area a BLM site 19-20 miles north of Nageezi on Highway 44 (US-550) on right side. 6 miles east on gravel road to campground loop (0.6 miles around loop). 3 picnic areas along the way. Go slow. Seriously, over 15 mph and your vehicle will shake immensely. Pit toilets. No toilet paper - bring your own. No utilities. Fire pits - bring your own firewood. Be sure fire is out completely before departure. Metal canopies over some of the picnic tables. Wonderful views of surrounding landscape. Can see lights of Bloomfield 20 miles to the north at night. Stars terrific if not cloudy. Many oil wells in the area. We found it kind of lonely area, on your own type of place. The angel of Angel Peak formation has fallen down however.

Santa Cruz Lake Recreation Area also a BLM site with campgrounds is 30 miles north of Santa Fe ( We have stayed there, a nice area. Other BLM site in this area:

Abiquiu Lake -US Army Corps of Engineers campground, we have driven by but not stopped, they say it has excellent facilities surrounded by red sandstone cliffs and mesas of "O´Keefe Country."
Echo Amphitheater - Natural rock formation is nearby with a campground as well. Close to Ghost Ranch & the Ghost Ranch Piedra Lumbre Education and Visitor Center, located on U.S. Highway 84 just one mile north of the main Ghost Ranch entrance, has exhibits and a gift shop. A very nice museum in "O´Keefe Country." Ghost Ranch also has camping.

New Mexico National Forest Service Campgrounds and/or Dispersed Camping:
Carson National Forest - only personsal experience has been camping up by Taos on the Hwy going to Eagle Nest ( such as La Sombra 8 miles east of Taos along US Highway 64 at 7,800 ft. elevation or Capulin & Las Petacas. One of these can serve as a base to visiting Taos.

Cibola National Forest - from personal experience we have visited Springtime Campground ( and dispersed camped along the road toward it. Springtime is a very out of the way campsite, remote area. We visited it while wood cutting and hunting. It is a long ways on a dirt road to it. We have visited Red Cloud Campground over by Corona, NM also a remote area while hunting and dispersed camped near Corona on US 54( To find other campgrounds check this site:

Gila National Forest - from personal experience, Lake Roberts Area is nice and we have dispersed in the Wall Lake area and Snow Lake area. Also by the Bridge over Gila River on the way to the Cliff Dwellings called Grapevine Campground ( & the near by Forks Campground ( Mesa Campground is walking distance from Lake Roberts (
Iron Creek Campground is in the middle of a recreational corridor spanning from the Mimbres Valley to Hillsboro, along NM Hwy 152 ( a great drive, very scenic. The Quemado Ranger District is the northern most district on the Gila National Forest. It is actually a part of the Apache National Forest that is located in New Mexico and that is administered by the Gila NF. Elevations range from 6600 feet to 9700 feet in the 600,600 acres managed by the Quemado Ranger District. The area covered by the District includes grassland, piñon-juniper woodland, ponderosa pine, and mixed conifer with aspen and fir. There are also riparian areas with cottonwood, willow, and other riparian vegetation. Very nice camping areas by Quemado Lake. See a listing of other campgrounds in the Gila at:

Kiowa National Grassland - have not gotten to use this area.

Lincoln National Forest - from personal experience the camping around Cloudcroft is very good. We have mainly used the campgrounds or dispersed camping area by the Silver, Apache & Saddle Campgrounds on the Hwy going to Mescalero Apache Indian Reservation on NM 244. Sacramento Ranger District. Blanca National Grassland - not gotten to visit.

Santa Fe National Forest - we have camped up above Santa Fe at Black Canyon, I think, and over by Las Vegas, we dispersed camped. We have heard good things about camping over by Pecos 16 to 23 miles north of Pecos on Highway 63 and Forest Road 122 at Holy Ghost, Iron Gate & Jack's Creek. We visited Jemez Falls a very nice area. Here is a listing of campgrounds:

Other site on these Nat'l Forests:
Carson <LI>Santa Fe <LI>Cibola <LI>Apache-Sitgreaves <LI>Gila <LI>Lincoln

If you have a favorite site to visit in New Mexico and wouldn't mind sharing it, do so.
DesertHawk- Las Cruces, NM USA
2015 Lance 1985 ~ Casita de Campo ~23' 4"
~Previously ~ 2005 16' Scamp
2009 White Ford F-150 Reg. Cab Longbed ARE Topper
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