Columbine Canyon

No short text 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.

Campground data:

Controlling agency: Carson National Forest; Questa Ranger District
Official URL:campground web site
Region: North-central; Sangre de Cristo Mountains.
CG elevation: 7893ft; 2406m
Campsite count: 27.
Visual density: 0.00. Visual density not recorded.
Fee: $15.00.
Season: May 01 to October 31. The actual season is dependent on the weather.
Dogs: Yes. on leash.
Horses: Unknown.
Handicapped accessible: Yes. Sites 1 and 8 are reserved for handicapped, but all of 1-8 would probably be fine. The restroom for sites 1-8 is accessible (others may be also; we did not check them).
General tent notes: Sites 1-4 have good tent areas nearby. We also saw tents in other sites.
RV max length: 65ft; 20m
RV parking surface: pavement
RV pull-through spaces? Yes.
RV parking notes: Six sites are pull-through sites.
General RV notes: RV max length is unknown. The water faucets have hose connectors for easy filling of RV water tanks (if you have a hose).
General notes: A truck comes by selling block ice at around 8:30am.
Campground facilities: water, trash can(s) (A dumpster is near the entrance.), vault toilet(s), fire pit (Sites 1-8 have fire pits plus cooking grills. Most of the rest of the sites only have fire pits with grates.).
Campground attractions: hiking, wilderness access, wildlife, wildflowers, fishing, scenery, stream, river.

When we visited it:

Date: 2004-07-14
Cleanliness: 9. Only the common small pieces of litter.


Waypoint Type Description
COLMBNCNCGCampgroundColumbine Canyon CG


Paper maps:
Map name Cartographer Year Scale Topo map? Online access Notes
Carson National Forest US Forest Service 2002 1:126720 N from Amazon (purchase) Camino Real and Questa ranger districts and Valle Vidal Unit side of the map
Guide to Indian Country of Arizona Colorado New Mexico Utah Automobile Club of Southern California 1998 1:0 N from Amazon (purchase) Good overview road map for northwest NM. No scale is given on the map. The corner coordinates are approximate.
Valle Vidal Unit, Carson National Forest US Forest Service 1999 1:63360 Y from Amazon (purchase)
Wheeler Peak BLM 2001 1:100000 Y from Amazon (purchase)
Wildernesses of New Mexico US Forest Service 1981 1:1000000 N No online copies. Base map with national forests, wilderness areas and highways.

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Getting to the campground:

From the stoplight in Questa where NM 522 and NM 38 meet, head east on 38, toward Red River. After about 3.8 miles, you should see the campground on your right. The entrance is right after a collection of privately-owned buildings (a motel and a store).

No short text

About the campground:

Site 1, one of the wheelchair accessible sites
This is site one, one of the wheelchair accessible sites.
Like many campgrounds in the northern New Mexico mountains, this one has its share of chipmunks.
A chipmunk at the Columbine Canyon campground
Site 16 at Columbine Canyon campground
Site 16 is probably the most isolated site.

Columbine Creek runs through the campground. The Red River also runs between the campground and the road.

Columbine Creek in the Columbine Canyon campground

Plants we saw around the campground:

Reader comments about this campground:

On Mon Sep 27 15:06:14 2004 jim may from AMARILLO said:

On Sun Dec 11 01:54:23 2005 RBK from Texas from Somewhere said:
Very nice campground. Back in the early '60s before this campground was established, there was dispersed camping in what I assume is the "Meadows" area. My Dad drove our '61 Chevy in, (note: trail used to be a road) through several creek crossings and we set up our canvas umbrella tent and stayed a week. One of my fondest memories of camping with my family.

On Tue Sep 5 10:20:45 2006 Chip from Santa Fe said:
WOW! Just returned from a great stay here! It was very quite and considering Labor Day weekend, it was not to crowded. Had a great spot by the stream 25, I was in a tent which I was one of only about 3 in the campground. All the RVs were very good with generators waiting until about 11am to turn on and only ran for a short time and then again about 8pm again for only a short time, no all night generators! The other campgrounds were packed and not nearly as clean and quite. The Host was great and the vaults were cleaned every morning.

It did get cool at night down to 34 one morning, that made it even better on the first week of September.

This is a must stay place!

On Fri Jul 6 08:54:30 2007 Troy and Jennifer Duck from Amarillo said:
We love going and do every chance that we get - we are building memories with our 3 daughters who love the fresh mountain air, the streams, and beautiful nature that surrounds the campsite. We plan to return year after year. It is close to Red River and it is fun to take the girls in for ice cream or a meal and still have the chance to return to nature within minutes of doing so. We've gone a number of times and each trip there is special and we meet the nicest people. The sites are clean and not to crowded.

On Thu Aug 16 11:20:48 2007 Sam & Denise from Tulsa, OK said:
We also stayed here on Labor Day weekend 2006. It was the cleanest campground I've seen in 20 years. The camp host was excellent, very personable and a hard worker. She cleaned the restrooms every morning and checked paper stock in the evenings. Campsights are just far enough apart with enough trees in between to make you feel your the only ones around. A firewood salesman came around in the evenings. Maybe I shouldn't post nice things as we plan to go back in two weeks and I want there to be room when we get there.

On Sun Jun 15 22:01:59 2008 Lee from Des Moines, Iowa said:
One of the nicest campgrounds we've stayed in in 20 years. Stayed a week. Beautiful, clean with large sites, great hiking access. We got showers in Questa at a new fitness facility (Questa Fitness and Health) for $3 a day. That included access to the fitness equipment if desired. Very clean and friendly. There is a wonderful guy with llamas that offers day picnics or camping excursions up the trail--Stewart of Wild Earth Llama Adventures ( Pretty neat.

On Mon Sep 1 12:27:26 2008 Anonymous from Denver, CO said:
This campground exceeded our expectations. The sites are spaced far apart and have nice views of the forest, stream and canyon. The camp ground host was very hard-working and kept things clean. Our camp site (#15) was next to a stream so we could barely hear the generator of the RV at the next site or the road. Apparently, August is the monsoon season so it rained on and off so maybe that explains why the campground wasn't full on Labor Day weekend. All the rain made the forest very lush with moss, mushrooms and wildflowers. Things to note: The campground is $15 per night now and the best showers were in Taos at the new swimming pool for $2. Next time we visit, we will probably camp at the Wild Rivers BLM campground (Cebolla Mesa). It was $7, had nice picnic shelters and the toilets were the cleanest I had ever seen.

On Mon May 25 18:27:36 2009 AUSTIN from Lubbock, TX said:
Very nice place, We stayed at the end of June 2008 by the creek in # 15, I think ,the best!! The trail seemed very good

we only went up it @ 1 mile,, very good facilities .

Just watch out for the people from California,, they make big fires ,,no wonder their state is on fire!!!

On Thu Jan 21 23:06:58 2010 Stephen from Dallas, TX said:
I visited in late August 2009 and had a very relaxing time. Except for a few generators running for a couple of hours at a time, it was very quiet and dark at night like I've never seen darkness! In addition to the trail at the campground there is a lot to see close by, including the Rio Grande Wild and Scenic Rivers. The La Junta Point trail is very scenic, but very steep. The campground was mostly full but never felt crowded. The temperature cooled quickly in the evening down to the low 40's but then warmed quickly in the morning to the 60's and 70's. I look forward to a return visit.

On Tue Jun 28 22:11:35 2011 Stacie H. from Jasper, TX 75951 said:
Stayed 7/10 and about to return! We found out about this campground through this website. We were interested in camping our way around the Enchanted Circle Scenic Drive. This was my favorite campground out of a month's worth of camping sites. It is quiet, beautiful, clean and even when it is crowded, you really don't feel "stacked" on top of your neighbors because of the space between sites and foliage. You can hear the water from the creek running at some sites and the temps are great! Upper 40's at night, upper 70's during the day. I got out a magazine and a beach chair one day to "chill out" and had to put on a fleece jacket on in July while I read. Nearest showers and wi-fi are in Red River about 12 minutes away.

On Wed Jun 29 17:37:53 2011 Tonya from Olton Texas said:
My family and I have stayed there for the last two years and we absolutely love it!!! We even took my in-laws last year!! It is close enough to Red River to go mountain Climbing in jeeps or shopping. We plan to return there again this year!!!

On Thu Jun 30 11:44:27 2016 Downs from Amarillo Tx said:
Our extended family - ours of 4, my parents, and sometimes brother's family of 4 - has been regularly camping in the Red River area since 1990 and Columbine is our favorite campground. Lots of fun things to do. Fishing is usually great. Only hiked up to Goose Lake once - long hike.

Now I need to go there again!

On Thu Jun 30 11:44:39 2016 Downs from Amarillo Tx said:
Our extended family - ours of 4, my parents, and sometimes brother's family of 4 - has been regularly camping in the Red River area since 1990 and Columbine is our favorite campground. Lots of fun things to do. Fishing is usually great. Only hiked up to Goose Lake once - long hike.

Now I need to go there again!

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