New Mexico Campgrounds

Campgrounds sorted by in order.

Campground Description
Aguirre Spring

A campground at the base of the Organ Mountains in southern New Mexico. These mountains are quite striking, and you have a good view of the east side of them from the campground.

This campground is also near the trailheads for two or more hikes. (It was snowing and foggy when we visited, so we will have to make a return trip to do the hikes.)

Entrance sign
Apache Creek

An unimproved campground amongst ponderosa pines on the northwest side of the Gila National Forest.

Campground view
Big Tesuque

This is a tent-only campground high in the Aspen-Fir zone of the Sangre de Christo Mountains. It is flanked on both sides by streams. Some of the campsites are a nice distance from the highway, and probably have few problems with road noise at night.

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Black Canyon

Black Canyon is a great campground in a Pine/Douglas-fir forest. It is near Santa Fe, but far enough away to be relaxing and a nice change of pace. It is the trailhead for the Black Canyon hike.

This campground is close to the Hyde Memorial State Park campground. Hyde Park has more facilities, but Black Canyon is a delightfully peaceful and attractive campground that is one of our favorites.

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Bluewater Lake Canyonside campground

An open campground near a lake with all of the normal activities one associates with a lake. This campground has electricity and water, but does not have good lake views. For good views without hookups, see the Piñon Cliffs and Lakeside campgrounds, or choose primitive camping on the north and east or soth and west sides of the lake.

Site 35 and the lake view
Cabresto Lake

A widened parking area with a few picnic tables that at times more resembles a busy parking lot than a campground. This heavily-used campground provides hiking access to the wilderness and fishing access to the lake.

cars parked in the campground
Capulin

A nice campground in amongst Aspen and Fir. Most of the campsites here are across the stream from the road, reducing the road noise somewhat.

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Cebolla Mesa

A campground right on the edge of the Rio Grande Gorge. Watch the sun set on the Taos mountains, then go to sleep to the sound of the rapids 800 ft below. Wake up and watch the sun descend into the canyon, then descend into the gorge yourself on the Cebolla Mesa trail.

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City of Rocks State Park

A unique campground situated amongst some of the most unusual rock formations you will ever see. The rocks, which rise up to 40 ft above the ground, were formed by a volcanic ash flow millions of years ago. If you visit in the spring, the botanical gardens will be full of cacti in bloom.

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Coal Mine

A campground in a ponderosa pine forest with a stream and meadow nearby. This campground is part way up the road to the peak of Mount Taylor. Some maps call this Coal Mine Canyon campground.

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Cochiti Lake

A large campground with easy access to the lake and its associated watersports. If you enjoy the water, this is a good campground to visit.

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Columbine Canyon

This campground is probably the nicest of the four campgrounds in the Red River canyon. While camping there, we were buzzed by hummingbirds, and we saw three chipmunks working over a campsite while the people were gone. This campground is also the trailhead for the Columbine Canyon hike.

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Cowles

The Cowles campground is primarily a tent campground along the Winsor Creek, near the Rio Pecos. It is close to the Cowles ponds, where fishing is popular.

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Datil Well

A surprising campground to find is the Datil Well campground. You get to camp in a Piñon-Juniper forest and hike the nature trail.

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Davis Willow

A less-improved campground in a ponderosa pine forest about a mile from the Pecos river. This campground appears to get the overflow from other campgrounds such as Mora and Terrero as well as people who just want a less crowded camping experience.

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El Morro National Monument

El Morro was a popular stopping place for people and animals as they traveled in historic and prehistoric times. When they stopped, some carved signatures or other things into the sandstone bluff near the water hole. Now, you can stop here and see the evidence of these prior trips. Also, if you take the full hike (not yet described on ExploreNM), you can visit the Ancestral Puebloan ruin, Atsinna.

Our tent in a campsite
El Porvenir

A pleasant campground in an open ponderosa pine forest. With access to trails, this campground would also make a nice base for day hikes or longer backpack trips. A small stream runs through the edge of the campground. This campground has many great tent sites, as well as some sites that work well for RVs. The altitude makes for a pleasant stay in the summer.

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Elephant Rock

A nice campground along the Red River amongst spruce-fir forest.

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Fawn Lakes

A nice campground along the Red River in amongst spruce and ponderosa pines. This campground has a separate loop for tents, providing a separate place for those who want to be farther from the RV generators.

campsite 8
Gallo Campground

A campground at the world-famous park. It even has its own small ruin, and it is the trailhead for the Chaco Canyon Overlook Trail.

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Holy Ghost

Holy Ghost is a campground on the edge of the Pecos Wilderness, in a Ponderosa-Fir forest, right at the edge of the altitude where Aspen begin. The campground is on the edge of a stream and has a trailhead into the Pecos Wilderness. Of the many campgrounds in this area, only Jack's Creek might be nicer.

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Hyde Memorial State Park

A nice campground in the Sangre de Cristo mountains outside of Santa Fe. This campground/picnic area is popular, and with good reason. The trailhead for the Hyde Park Loop is nearby, and part of the loop is through the campground.

This campground is right next to Black Canyon.

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Iron Creek

An older, quiet campground, this campground is good for wildlife watching, especially birds. Iron Creek is also close to the trailhead for the Railroad Canyon hike.

A campsite in the Iron Creek campground
Iron Gate

A small, clean campground with excellent access to the Pecos Wilderness such as Iron Gate to the Rio Mora.

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Jack's Creek

Jack's Creek campground is high in the Sangre de Cristo mountains, up in amongst the aspen and fir. It has lots of open space for children to run, along with wilderness access for hiking and backpacking. The campsites are a mixture of some in the sun (nicer for cooler weather) and shade (for the summer). In the fall, the aspen turning are beautiful. This campground also has some of the nicest views of the surrounding mountains of all the campgrounds in the area.

This campground has several double sites which would work well if you are camping with friends. Otherwise, the sites are nicely separated.

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Jemez Falls

This campground is in a wonderful ponderosa pine forest. If you stay here, be sure to take the short hike to Jemez Falls (hike page not yet up) or go further to Battleship Rock (also not yet up). This campground is popular with people using both tents and RVs. Expect it to be full on summer weekends. If you arrive and find it full, check out the nearby Redondo campground.

A tent in site 25
Junebug

A campground in the Red River Canyon in a Spruce-Ponderosa forest.

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Juniper Campground at Bandelier National Monument

The campground for Bandelier National Monument is large enough that the ranger we talked to said she had never seen it full in several years of working here. The openness of the campground means that in the winter, you can take advantage of morning sun to warm yourself. The campground is well-maintained, and is near the trailheads for the Tyuonyi and Frey hikes.

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Kingston

A small campground along the banks of Percha Creek. This campground is near the historic towns of Hillsboro and Kingston, and also within easy driving distance of several hikes.

Percha creek and a campsite
La Sombra

A nice campground with a stream running through it. Of the three in Taos Canyon (the others are Capulin and Las Petacas), this one is the nicest. It is also the most heavily used.

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Lake Alice

Lake Alice campground in Sugarite Canyon State Park is open year-round, and conveniently located near the road. You can reserve many of the campsites here over the web or via phone. However, for a nicer campground, check out the nearby Soda Pocket campground.

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Las Petacas

A wide spot with a stream in the Taos Canyon which has been turned into a campground. This campground is used by people as a place to spend the night, not as a place to spend time (when we spent the night here, most were gone a little after 8am). Part of this is probably due to the fact that this is the first campground you reach after you leave Taos.

If you are looking for a better campground, continue up the road to either Capulin or La Sombra

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Limestone Campground at Brantley Lake State Park

Brantley Lake State Park surrounds the southernmost lake in New Mexico. Full of desert plants and animals, it is an oasis. You can enjoy all of the normal water activities here, as well as many special events such as kite flying and fishing clinics.

The Limestone campground is the developed campground in the park.

Brantley Dam and Lake
Mora

The Mora campground is a very popular campground in a Ponderosa-Fir forest along nearly a mile of the Rio Pecos. Some sites are nice, but overall this campground shows the signs of its popularity in damaged picnic tables, litter, graffiti, etc. I recommend that you consider Jack's Creek, Cowles, Terrero, or Holy Ghost instead.

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Morphy Lake State Park

This campground near a small lake is a great family and fishing campground.

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Oliver Lee Memorial State Park

Oliver Lee State Park has history, an amazing diversity of desert plants, flowing water and the plants and animals associated with it, and a great hike into the Lincoln National Forest. While this campground is probably quite hot in the summertime, most any other time would be an excellent time to visit.

sunset on site 13
Pancho Villa State Park

At the site of the last armed incursion into the continental United States, the state of New Mexico has a park on the site of Camp Furlong, containing a few of the original buildings and facilities. The park includes a museum commemorating the raid and the followup raid done by the US Army.

It also has a pleasant, xeriscaped campground and a native plant garden. In the Spring, the wildflowers are likely to be spectacular (depending on the winter precipitation).

First US Army grease rack
Percha Dam State Park

A quiet campground along the banks of the Rio Grande. If you come here, you will camp under a canopy of cottonwood trees and see lots of birds. People who enjoy fishing can catch their dinner nearby. Kids can play in the playground.

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Red Canyon

This campground has been changed to day use only since the 2008 Trigo fire. I will update this page whenever I hear that this status has changed.

A pair of campgrounds in a ponderosa pine forest with a (dry) stream near the upper camp. With plenty of campsites, this campground will only be full on the busiest of weekends.

This campground is the trailhead for three trails which can be used to make two loops. One of these loops is the Red Canyon/Spruce Spring loop.

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Redondo

This ponderosa-forest campground in the Jemez offers a less-crowded alternative to the popular nearby Jemez Falls campground, but still offers much of the benefits. However for the same fee as at Jemez Falls, you get less for your money, as this campground is less well maintained and has no water.

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Rockhound State Park

The state parks in New Mexico are some of the nicest state campgrounds I have seen in any state. The one here at Rockhound State Park is no exception. Ranging from sites without utilities to RV sites, this campground also has a playground for kids and a short, but interesting trail. This campground at the base of the Florida Mountains is also unique in that unlike all of the other parks in the country, you are encouraged to take up to 15 pounds of rocks home with you.

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Rocky Bay Primitive Campground at Brantlay Lake State Park

Brantley Lake State Park surrounds the southernmost lake in New Mexico. Full of desert plants and animals, it is an oasis. You can enjoy all of the normal water activities here, as well as many special events such as kite flying and fishing clinics.

The Rocky Bay campground is the primitive campground in the park. It has no direct services other than trash cans scattered around.

Brantley Dam and Lake
Sapillo

An undeveloped campground amongst the ponderosa pines in the Gila National Forest.

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Soda Pocket

Soda Pocket campground in Sugarite Canyon State park is surrounded by wildflowers. This feature alone would make it a nice campground. However, it also has trails, an amphitheater with weekend events, and pleasantly-spaced campsites. As I type this in the campground, I have also seen several species of birds.

This campground contains trailheads for or is near the following hikes: Ponderosa Ridge, Deer Run, Grade Vista, Little Horse Mesa.

Due to the 2011 fire, this campground is closed. You should check with the park before heading there if you intend on staying here.

Campground overview from the Grande Vista trail
Sumner Lake State Park Eastside campground

This campground is close to the lake and less parking-lot like than some of the other campsites, yet it does have some amenities such as sun shades and electricity. In the primitive part of the campground, you can camp right on the lake shore.

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Terrero

The Terrero campground is right on the banks of the Pecos river. People who fish will appreciate this.

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Three Rivers BLM Campground

This compact yet open campground is at the trailhead for the Three Rivers Petroglyphs hike.

Our truck in a campsite
Three Rivers Lincoln National Forest Campground

This campground is notable for the large trees which separate the various campsites and the spectacular vistas of Sierra Blanca and the Tularosa basin. Additionally, it is near the Three Rivers Petroglyph hike.

Diana Northup in campsite 3
Trampas

The Trampas campground is a dispersed camping area with a few tables. Located along a scenic stream, the noise from the stream will help cover the noise from your neighbors. This campground is also the trailhead for four trails.

A campsite in the Trampas campground
Upper End

A campground situated on the edge of Lake Roberts in amongst the ponderosa pines of the Gila National Forest. A trail leads off from the campground to (nearly) circle the lake.

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Villanueva State Park

Villanueva State Park is along the Pecos River in a valley cut through sandstone cliffs. It has a trail and also protects sites related to the historic settlement of New Mexico. Fishing and boating (when the river is high enough) are also attractions at this park.

The Rio Pecos at Villanueva State Park
Vista Linda

Vista Linda is an open camprground right beside the Jemez River, making for excellent fishing access (even for people in wheelchairs).

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Water Canyon

Water canyon is a popular camping area; in March when it was still cold, we were one of three groups camping here. Nearby are several hikes, and the area is popular with mountain bikers. Birders also enjoy the avian life in the canyon.

One of the water canyon campground campsites


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