El Porvenir

No short text 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.

Campground data:

Controlling agency: Santa Fe National Forest; Pecos/Las Vegas Ranger District
Official URL:USFS CG web page
Region: North-central; Sangre de Cristo Mountains.
The campground is on the east side of the mountains, near Las Vegas.
Campsite count: 19.
Visual density: 4.00.
Fee: $8.00.
Season: All year.
Dogs: Yes. On leash
Horses: Unknown.
Handicapped accessible: Yes. The toilets are accessible. There are not specific accessible campsites, but the ground is fairly level.
General tent notes: No tent pads, but there are many good tent locations.
RV parking surface: gravel
RV pull-through spaces? Yes.
RV parking notes: Only campsites 10 and 13 are pull-through.
General RV notes: Most campsites have level parking areas.
General notes: Trailheads for two hikes take off from this campground.

At the trailhead parking, a sign says that people allergic to bees should carry an epipen due to ground-nesting bees.

ATVs are prohibited in the campground.

Campground facilities: water (A hand pump in the middle of the loop.), trash can(s), vault toilet(s) (New in 2011 (or late 2010). In June 2011, the ranger said that they were already having problems with graffiti and vandalism. However, they had been painting over the graffiti, and the toilets were clean when we were there.), cooking grill, fire pit, tent-only (no RV) camping area (Several campsites are walk-in, some across a bridge over a seasonal stream.).
Campground attractions: hiking, wilderness access, wildlife (We saw Abert squirrels, mule deer, a chipmunk, and lots of birds. People in a neighboring campsite reported a bear with a cub, a raccoon, and a skunk.), stream.

When we visited it:

Date: 2011-06-05
Cleanliness: 9. Our campsite had only a few small pieces of litter, but some were broken glass. Overall, we only saw a couple of large pieces in the whole campground.


Waypoint Type Description
El Povenir CGCampgroundEl Povenir Campground, near water pump


Paper maps:
Map name Cartographer Year Scale Topo map? Online access Notes
Pecos Wilderness, Santa Fe and Carson National Forests US Forest Service 2004 1:54000 Y from Amazon (purchase)
Santa Fe BLM 1996 1:100000 Y from Amazon (purchase)
Santa Fe USGS 1954 1:250000 Y from sar.lanl.gov (free)
Santa Fe National Forest US Forest Service 2004 1:126720 N from Amazon (purchase) East half
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 I-25 in Las Vegas, NM, take exit 345. We were northbound and set our odomoeter to 0.0 at the stop sign from the northbound side of the exit ramp. Head into Las Vegas (left if you are northbound) to the stop sign or stop light (it was under construction) at Grand Avenue. Turn right.

Go to the stop light at Mills Avenue, 1.0 miles from the freeway. Turn left.

At 2.5 miles from the freeway, turn right on Hot Springs Road.

At 6.7 from the freeway, you pass through the town of Montezuma, where the Armand Hammer United World College is located. You can see the "castle" on the right.

After Montezuma, the road becomes narrow and has lots of tight turns. Drive carefully; there are not always guardrails, and you will meet people coming the other way. Not all of them are driving safely.

At 15.3 you come to a sign indicating Gallinas canyon is to the left and El Porvenir is to the right. Go right. The road ends in the campground at 17.4 miles from the freeway. In spite of this seemingly short distance, it will have taken you over half an hour to get here.

Note that there are two signs for the campground. One near a parking area for the Hermit's Peak trailhead and one a little farther down the road that is more of a real campground entrance. In between is a turn-off for a church camp.

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About the campground:

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Campsite 10 is similar to most of the campsites that are open to RVs (as well as tent people). You can see that the campground has plenty of trees.
The most isolated campsites is located on the other side of this bridge.
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This is the campsite on the other side of the bridge. You get to place your tent on a bed of ponderosa pine straw.
The tent-only campsites have plenty of flat places for pitching your tent.
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This stream runs along the side of the campground.

Plants we saw around the campground:

Reader comments about this campground:

On Sun Jul 31 20:49:46 2016 Troy from Tulsa, OK said:
I became interested in El Porvenir after an online search concerning the best camping sites in New Mexico. El Provenir was ranked number one. I was sadly disappointed. I chose to stay at Black Canyon Campground first, so my expectations for El Porvenir were high. Both campgrounds are owned but the USDA Forest Service so they have basically the same amenities, except that EP no longer has any running water. EP is less developed with no host. There are only 13 sites, not 19 as previously mentioned. The only positive is Hermits Peak hiking trail, but one does not need to camp at EP to hike the trail. I stayed at EP the first week of June and when I returned for more NM mountain camping in July, I went to Black Canyon with no desire to return to EP. This campground is remote, but families congregate and get very loud. When I stayed, three families took up seven of the sites.

On Wed Apr 19 19:01:35 2017 A from Santa Fe, NM said:
I stayed overnight on Tuesday April 18-19, 2017. I had the entire campground to myself, allowing me to move my tent for the optimal location :). The vault bathrooms are in good condition. There was a faucet for water but the water is not yet turned on (or no longer is available?). Litter was above average, but maybe this was due to Easter/Passover weekend having just occurred. I dug out two fire pits, where the ash had built up very high. Some dude in camouflage gear and an odd looking gun appeared in mid-afternoon and asked for water. No one else was around, and it scared me. I took a hike and found some residences at the church camp 30 yards up the road, with cars parked there and looking inhabited, and so felt safer. At night, the wind noise surpassed the river noise, but I had earplugs and was fine. It is a nice location among the pines. The 10 or so mile drive along the country road is gorgeous. Love the creek. I think Jemez Falls is as beautiful, and I have felt safer there. Still, I recommmend El Porvenir for someone wanting a change of scenery.

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