Villanueva State Park

The Rio Pecos at 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.

Campground data:

Controlling agency: New Mexico State Parks; Villanueva
Official URL:State parks web page
Region: East-central; Villanueva State Park.
CG elevation: 5672ft; 1729m
Campsite count: 33.
Visual density: 0.00. Visual density not recorded
Fee: $10.00. Add $4 for electricity, and $4 for sewer.
Season: All year.
Dogs: Unknown.
Horses: Unknown.
Handicapped accessible: Yes. Site 13-A is an accessible site.
General tent notes: There are lots of flat areas, but you might have to move a rock or two.
RV parking surface: gravel
RV pull-through spaces? No.
Campground facilities: water, trash can(s), fire pit, showers, electrical hookups (In the lower campground), water hookups (In the lower campground), sewer hookups (In the lower campground), RV dump station (Near the park entrance), flush toilet(s) (In the lower campground).
Campground attractions: hiking, wildlife, wildflowers, fishing, boating, history, river, geology, year-round access.

When we visited it:

Date: 2005-01-01
Cleanliness: 9.


Waypoint Type Description
VILLANVASPCampgroundVillanueva State park


Paper maps:
Map name Cartographer Year Scale Topo map? Online access Notes
Santa Fe USGS 1954 1:250000 Y from (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 exit 230 on I-40, head north on NM 3. After about 20.1 miles, turn right into the park. The park entrance is about 1.4 miles from this turnoff.

You can also get there by taking exit 323 from I-25 and heading south on NM 3. The turnoff for the park is about 11.7 miles from the exit, and it is about 1.1 miles from the turnoff.

Villanueva State Park entrance sign

About the campground:

Our truck in a campsite in the upper campground
In the upper campground, most (but not all) campsites have these shelters, which were designed to mimic the look of buildings constructed by the settlers. The collection of shelters is reminiscent of a village.

In this photo, you can see our one-day-old truck in a campsite in the upper campground.

You can see your neighbors, just as in a village.
View from a campsite shelter toward another campsite.
campsite without a shelter
Not all of the upper campsites have shelters.
The lower campground is where all of the RV hookups are. Most campsites have electricity and water, some have sewer also. As with the upper campsites, not all of the lower campsites have shelters.
Our truck in a lower campsite
shelter in the lower campground
Most of the lower campground campsites have these shelters.

Plants we saw around the campground:

Reader comments about this campground:

On Fri Jan 27 19:33:32 2012 Old Fat Man from Texas said:
This is a rather remote but scenic park. Everything was in good repair and nice. If you use diesel there is not a station to fill your tank very close to this park. Fill up as close as you can. I came in from the south and exited to the north. Both roads deserve a good viewing. The trail I hiked was the shorter one at the upper campground and very well worth the effort.

On Fri Sep 19 09:48:50 2014 Al from Rapid City, SD said:
I was there over Easter weekend, 2014. The lower level was PACKED. It looked like a middle-class refugee camp. Kids and Easter candy litter everywhere. Meanwhile, there were only two other people on the upper level. Nice and quiet. Excellent view. Clean.

On Tue Nov 29 11:01:02 2016 tlaw from CO said:
Visited 11-28-16. Upper sites closed for the winter. Site 11a had Electric only, covered shelter with table, fire ring. On Pecos river, 400' bluffs above. Ranger very helpful. Would try upper sites on return.

On Thu May 4 18:56:54 2017 A from Santa Fe said:
I stayed overnight on Wednesday-Thursday, May 3-4, 2017. The cliff campsites opened May 1. I stayed in one of the latter, with much privacy. Only four of the roughly 12 campsites on the cliffs were occupied by sunset. Toilet vaults are very clean. I hiked all three trails. Two of the trails lead to fantastic overlooks. The wind was a little gusty and strong from about 7 to 9:45 PM, then died down nicely, and I slept well. I did a long walk of the grounds in the morning, and I saw some folks had put their tents in the shelter. Water from the several faucets on the grounds tastes good.

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