Camping in Northeast New Mexico | A – J

If you are looking for places to go camping in northeast New Mexico, here’s a list of options, from primitive sites to pop a tent to RVs campsites with all the amenities. Due to the number of campgrounds in northeastern New Mexico, I had to break this up alphabetically, A-J, K-R, S-Z.

If there are additional campgrounds that should be included, please let me know in the comments field below.

Camping in Northeast New Mexico | K – R

Camping in Northeast New Mexico | S – Z

Agua Piedra Campground

Camino Real Ranger District
15160 State Road 75
Penasco, NM 87553
(575) 587-2255

Agua Piedra is located in the Carson National Forest. The campground is nestled near the Rio Pueblo and Agua Piedra Creek in a mixed forest of spruce, fir and aspen trees, which provides some shade throughout the day. At an altitude of 8,100 feet, temperatures cool off significantly at night. Open May 18 – September 16.

The campground includes 40 developed sites. Each has a picnic table and fire ring. Additionally, there are two double sites with two tables and a fire ring, as well as two group shelters located west of the campground. Vault toilets, drinking water from faucets, and trash removal are provided. Firewood is available to purchase from the host. The group shelters (A & B) are west of the campground. Shelter “A” can accommodate up to 50 people for overnight camping. Group shelter “B” can accommodate up to 100 people for overnight camping. Both group shelters are available by reservation.

Outdoor Recreation

Two trailheads begin in the area, including a novice trail. An intermediate, longer trail is available for hiking, biking, horseback riding, as well as cross country skiing and snowshoeing in the winter. There are fly fishing options on the Rio Pueblo River (license required). The river is stocked with rainbow trout and has an accessible fishing dock. Also, hiking to Serpent Lake and Cordova Canyon are popular. Both are within 7 miles of the campground.

Fees

Agua Piedra

  • Standard Non-Electric $16-30
  • Group shelter A $60
  • Group Shelter B
    • 1-50 people $60
    • 51-75 people $85
    • 76-100 People $110

Santa Barbara

  • Single Unit $17
  • Double Unit $47
  • Vehicle at trail head – N/A

Continental Divide National Scenic Trail Map (pdf)

Black Canyon Campground

Santa Fe National Forest Headquarters
11 Forest Lane
Santa Fe, NM 87508
(505) 438-5300

Black Canyon campground is a popular campground in the Santa Fe National Forest, with more amenities than any other campground in the Espanola Ranger District. It is also busier than most. Reservations are advised. There are 36 campsites for cars and RVs, 6 walk-in units for tent camping only, with picnic tables and grills, drinking water, a campground host on site, vault toilets, and several double sites to accommodate up to 16 people.

There is a nice 1-mile hiking loop at the back of the campground. Trailhead parking is available in the lot near the campground entrance. There is no electricity available, and no RV dump station on site. However, there is a dump station available for a nominal fee next door at Hyde Memorial State Park. There are additional outdoor recreation options along NM 475, both above and below Black Canyon Campground, including hiking and biking trails, picnic areas, and, in the winter, both nordic and alpine skiing. Los Alamos County Trails, Bandelier Trails, Valles Caldera Trails, Borrego Trail, Trail side flowers

Eight miles from downtown Santa Fe on NM 475. Take Bishop’s Lodge Road to Artist Road, which will turn into NM 475, also known as Hyde Park Road. The campground is open May 1, 2020. $10 per night for all sites. Register at Recreation.gov

https://youtu.be/YmLRQTRpWMc

Cabresto Lake Campground

Questa Ranger District
P.O. Box 110
184 State Hwy 38
Questa, NM 87556
(575) 586-0520

Surrounded by high peaks, this small campground at 9500 feet overlooks 15-acre Cabresto Lake at the head of a 4 mile trail to Heart Lake. One of the few places in New Mexico to fish for brook trout. There are five free campsites, with one vault toilet. However, there is no potable water. Bring your own and please pack your trash out!

Cabresto Lake is approximately 7 miles northeast of the town of Questa, NM. 5 miles northeast of Questa on Forest Road 134 then 2 miles north on Forest Service Road 134A. The last 2 miles on Forest Road 134A are on a primitive road. RVs are not recommended, because “primitive” means the roads is heinous. If you aren’t a local, it is highly probable that you can high end a compact car with low clearance.

cabresto lake
Cabresto Lake, outside of Questa

Cebolla Mesa

Questa Ranger District
184 State Hwy 38
Questa, NM 87556
(575) 586-0520

Camping/Picnicking. Fishing -1 mile down on the Rio Grande River and Red River. Hiking – Trailhead for Rio Grande wild and Scenic River, Trail #102. 5 campsites at elevation 7,300, open May through October. RVs up to 32′.

8.3 miles Southwest of Questa. Take State Highway 522, 4.9 miles south from Questa to Forest Road #9. Drive west for 3.4 miles to campground. Forest Road #9 is a dirt/gravel road and is hazardous in muddy conditions.

Cimarron Canyon State Park

28869 Highway 64
Eagle Nest, NM 87718
(575)377-6271
Lee.Ferguson@state.nm.us

Located near Eagle Nest on the Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway, the Cimarron River flows through a narrow, forested canyon. The river has eroded a path through the mountains, exposing millions of years of geology in steep rock cliffs. The Palisades tower 400 feet over the roadway. Overall, the park offers beautiful views, interesting geology, quiet camping, fly fishing, hiking and equestrian trails, with ample wildlife viewing opportunities. It is at the center of the Colin Neblett Wildlife Management Area, which is the largest wildlife area in New Mexico. Park Map, Brochure

The park is well-regarded by fly fishing enthusiasts (license required). Many travel from all over the region to enjoy this trout stream. It provides ideal conditions for shallow river wading and dry-fly fishing. In total, anglers can fish eight miles of premier brown trout waters for stocked browns or rainbows. Smaller trout, and blissful peace and solitude, can be found in the Cimarron River’s tributaries, Clear Creek and Tolby Creek.

Cimarron Canyon State Park is 7,876 feet above sea level, with three full campgrounds along the river between Eagle Nest and Ute Park. These include the Maverick, Tolby, and Ponderosa campgrounds, as well as Black Jack Tent Area. All three campgrounds offer numerous individual sites for RV or tent camping, with a total of 94 developed campsites. 50 ft max RV length. There are full bathrooms with plumbing and potable water at each campground. However, there is no electricity. Campfires are allowed when the weather and rangers allow it. Make a reservation on the New Mexico State Parks reservation website

The Palisades in Cimarron Canyon
The Palisades in Cimarron Canyon

Clayton Lake State Park

141 Clayton Lake Road
Clayton, NM 88415
(575) 374-880
Mark.Funk@state.nm.us

Located at an elevation of 5,186 feet above sea level, Clayton Lake State Park is an oasis in the rolling grasslands of northeastern New Mexico. Enjoy boating, picnicking, camping, fishing and hiking. Get a unique glimpse of the past at the most extensive dinosaur trackways in North America or get a close-up look at the stars at the Lake Observatory. Park Map

There are a total of five campgrounds, with 26 developed sites. 7 sites have water, 9 have water and electric hookup (30 amp). There are group facilities available as well. Campgrounds have restrooms, showers, and vault toilets. Reservations

Columbine Campgrounds

Questa Ranger District
184 State Hwy 38
Questa, NM 87556
(575) 586-0520

Columbine Campground is located between Questa and Red River at 7,900 feet above sea level. The campground is at the base of the Columbine-Twining hiking trail, with access to 14 miles of hiking trails. The Red River flows past the campground and a trailhead leads into the Columbine-Hondo Wilderness area.

This campground offers 26 single sites, potable water, and vault toilets. Each site is has a fire ring, picnic table, and tent pad. Please note that no water can be filled directly into a trailer, rv, or motorhome anywhere in this campground – the potable water is only for filling containers you bring back to your site.

The campground is composed of two loops. One small loop at the campground entrance, with open sites and views of the towering mountains. The other is a long loop up the canyon along Columbine Creek. The campsites in this loop are tucked in among pine, spruce and some aspen, which provides ample shade and additional privacy. The campground is located 5 miles east of Questa via NM 38. Open May 18-Sept 30, $18/Site, $5.00 extra vehicle fee. Recreation.gov
May 22, 2020 – July 30, 2020
(Peak Season)
Standard Nonelectric
$18.00
Tent Only Nonelectric
$18.00
July 31, 2020 – September 06, 2020
(First-come, First-served Season)
Standard Nonelectric
$18.00
Tent Only Nonelectric
$18.00
September 07, 2020 – September 13, 2020
(First-come, First-served Season)
Standard Nonelectric
$18.00
Tent Only Nonelectric
$18.00

Conchas Lake State Park

501 Bell Ranch Road
Conchas Dam, NM 88416
(575) 868-2270

Just northwest of Tucumcari, Conchas Lakes is one of New Mexico’s largest lakes, featuring secluded coves, canyons, and sandy beaches. It is excellent for camping, boating, and fishing, with ample water to explore, including 11 miles of the Conchas River or 14 miles of the South Canadian River. With miles of shoreline, there is ample opportunity for hiking and birding too. However, Conchas Lake State Park is at 4,253 feet elevation, which means it gets hot in the summer. Park Map, Campground Map

The campground is 34 miles north of Tucumcari on NM Highway 104. From NM 104, follow the country road north, past the dam and Army Corps of Engineers office complex. The Cove Campground is approximately 2.5 miles from the dam. Restrooms, showers, vault toilets, and playground available.

Reservation Sites: 24 W + E Sites (30 amp), 7 Developed sites with water nearby, 16 W hookup Sites, 1 RV Dump Station

Non-Reservation Sites: 9 W + E Sites (30 amp), 17 W hookup Sites, 1 Handicap Site

Primitive Camping: Estimate of 500 total primitive campsites along Cove Shoreline and Central Shoreline.

Cowles Campground

Santa Fe National Forest Headquarters
11 Forest Lane
Santa Fe, NM 87508
(505) 438-5300

Cowles Campground sits at the base of the Winsor Canyon where it meets the Pecos Canyon. it is within walking distance of Cowles Ponds, Winsor Creek, Pecos River, and Winsor Ridge Trailhead. Located 22 miles north of Pecos via NM 63 and Forest Roads 555 & 121, the campground opens in May. Visitors are encouraged to recycle and pack out trash. No reservations. Additionally, the maximum RV length is 32-feet.

There are a total of 9 campsites, with 1 vault toilet, fire rings, & grills, 2 covered three-sided shelters with fire places, and trash bins. No potable water, utility hook-ups, dump stations or showers. $6.00 per vehicle per night; $6.00 per day for picnicking. No horses or horse trailers allowed and no ATV’s. Quiet hours from 10pm to 7am. All visitors are required to pay a parking fee.

Sunflower by the Pecos River in Cowles
Sunflower by the Pecos River in Cowles

Coyote Creek State Park

Highway 434, Mile Marker 17
Guadalupita, NM 87722
575-387-2328
christopher.vigil@state.nm.us

Coyote Creek State Park is about an hour southeast of Taos at an elevation of 7,667 feet. It is located in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains along a meandering stream. Enclosed by a forest of spruce and pine, the small valley features abundant wildflowers and beautiful fall foliage. Additionally, the park is ideal for fly fishing, camping, hiking and birding. Park Map, Region Map

The campground is located 95 miles southwest of Raton, 25 miles south of Eagle Nest, 45 miles south of Red River, 17 miles north of Mora. Take State Hwy 518 to 434, or 14 miles south of Black Lake via State Hwy 120 to 434. The entrance to the park will be on the east side of the highway near mile marker 17. There is a bath house, dump station, restrooms, showers, and playground. Open year round.

Online Reservation Sites: 10 W + E Sites (30 amp), 2 developed non-electric sites, river group shelter with electric (30 amp).

Non-Reservation Sites:  4 Water & Electric, 1 Handicap site Water & Electric (30 amp), 1 Handicap site W + E (50 amp), 17 Developed campsites with Water nearby. Primitive Camping available in the overflow area only.

Cuchillo de Medio Campground

Questa Ranger District
184 State Hwy 38
Questa, NM 87556
(575) 586-0520

One of three small sites on the paved road to Taos Ski Valley. No trailers over 22′. It provides access to Rio Hondo fishing and hiking in Columbine-Hondo Wilderness Study Area and Wheeler Peak Wilderness. 13 miles northeast of Taos via NM 522 & 150.

Davis Willow Campground

Santa Fe National Forest Headquarters
11 Forest Lane
Santa Fe, NM 87508
(505) 438-5300

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. 15 free, primitive campsites available. Vault toilet and fire pit, but no tent pads, electricity, or water. Not a good place for RVs.

Eagle Nest Lake State Park

42 Marina Way
Eagle Nest, NM 87718
(575) 377-1594
Lee.Ferguson@state.nm.us

Sitting at an elevation of 8,300 feet, Eagle Nest Lake is surrounded by the stunning mountains framing the Moreno Valley. The lake is a man-made reservoir created when the Cimarron River was impounded by the Eagle Nest Dam in 1918. The Dam’s purpose was to store the surplus water of the Cimarron River for irrigation. The lake is home to several species of fish, including rainbow trout, brown trout, cutthroat trout, kokanee salmon, smallmouth bass, yellow perch, carp, white sucker, channel catfish, sunfish, and northern pike (which were accidentally introduced). Anglers can fish from the banks or by boat and ice fish in the winter (license required).

Eagle Nest State Park provides a visitor center, camping, group shelters, restrooms, boating/boat ramps, fishing, trails, as well as R.V. pull through sites. There are 19 campsites, allowing up to 10 guests per site. Vault toilets and potable water are available. The park is a cool retreat from the summer heat for fisherman, boaters, campers, hikers and wildlife enthusiasts. They allow horseback riding (in designated areas). Park Map

Moreno Valley with Eagle Nest lake in the distance
Moreno Valley with Eagle Nest lake in the distance

El Nogal Campground

Camino Real Ranger District
15160 State Road 75
Penasco, NM 87553
(575) 587-2255

El Nogal Campground is a primitive, free campground with few amenities. This is more of a wilderness experience than other campgrounds in the area. There are vault toilets available and campsites for tents. The El Nogal Nature Trail is 1.0 miles long. The trail is open for the following uses: Hiking, Horseback Riding, and Mountain Biking.

El Porvenir Campground

Santa Fe National Forest Headquarters
11 Forest Lane
Santa Fe, NM 87508
(505) 438-5300

Beautifully situated in a mixed conifer forest next to Beaver Creek near the base of Hermit’s Peak. Tent and RV camping, picnicking, fishing, hiking. 13 camping units with picnic tables, fire rings/grills, 2 vault toilets, and bear proof trash bins. No utility hookups, potable water, dump stations or showers. Two trailheads from the campground, including the trail to Hermit Peak. ATVs are prohibited in the campground.

This site is seasonally closed from January 5 thru April 9. $8.00 per vehicle . No Horses or Horse Trailers Allowed, No ATV’s Allowed, 3 Cars Per Site Limit, Quiet Hours from 10pm to 7am. 15 miles from Las Vegas on Highway 65 and Forest Road 261.

Hermit Peak, near El Porvenir campground
Hermit Peak, near El Porvenir campground

Elephant Rock Campground

Questa Ranger District
184 State Hwy 38
Questa, NM 87556
(575) 586-0520

Elephant Rock Campground has excellent fishing access to Red River, nearby Eagle Rock Lake, as well as hiking into the surrounding high country. The campground is at 8,400 feet above sea level, close to the highway, with plenty of large pine trees for shade. The Red River flows near the campground. The nearest hiking trail, Fawn Lakes Trail, is located .3 miles east of Elephant Rock Campground, near Fawn Lakes Campground. There are a total of 21 campsites, including 12 for tents or trailers, and 10 for trailers (RVs under 18′). Each site has a fire ring, picnic table, and tent pad. Potable water and vault toilets are available. The campground is open mid-May to early-September, $18/Site, $5.00 extra vehicle fee. 3 miles west of Red River via NM 38. This is a popular campground, often crowded during summer weekends. An alternative is BLM’s Wild Rivers Recreation Area north of Questa.

Fawn Lakes Campground

Questa Ranger District
184 State Hwy 38
Questa, NM 87556
(575) 586-0520

Recently refurbished campground at 8,500 feet above sea level, with paved camping loops at two small stocked high mountain ponds three miles west of Red River. 22 combination tent and trailer campsites, with picnic tables, fire rings, and vault toilets. Opens mid-May through mid-September, $18/Site, $5.00 Extra Vehicle fee. Like Elephant Rock, this campground tends to get crowded during the weekend. BLM’s Wild Rivers Recreation Area, north of Questa, is an alternative.

Field Tract Campground

Santa Fe National Forest Headquarters
11 Forest Lane
Santa Fe, NM 87508
(505) 438-5300

Field Tract Campground is located on the banks of the beautiful Pecos River. The campground is 10 miles north of the village of Pecos. Visitors enjoy Field Tract for its family friendly atmosphere, fishing and access to the Santa Fe National Forest. The campground offers tent and RV camping, a flush toilet and two pit toilets, drinking water, picnic tables and grills. However, there are no utility hook-ups, dump stations or showers. 6 of the 15 units have three-sided shelters. Campsites are suitable for trailers up to 22 feet in length. The campground opens in May. Campsites are available by reservation ONLY.

Fourth of July Campground

Cibola National Forest & National Grasslands
2113 Osuna Rd. NE
Albuquerque, NM  87113
(505) 346-3900

This site is open for day use or overnight camping. There are vault toilets available; however, there is no water or electric. Tents and pop-up campers ONLY. The campground isn’t large enough to accommodate RVs. This area is spectacular in the fall. $7 per campsite.

Goat Hill Campground

Questa Ranger District
184 State Hwy 38
Questa, NM 87556
(575) 586-0520

Small primitive, roadside camping area with 5 campsites for tents or trailers. Access to Red River fishing and hiking nearby. Open mid-May to early-September. $8/Night for single unit. 4 miles east of Questa via NM 38.

Holy Ghost Campground

Santa Fe National Forest Headquarters
11 Forest Lane
Santa Fe, NM 87508
(505) 438-5300

Holy Ghost Campground is in the Santa Fe National Forest on the edge of the Pecos Wilderness. The Holy Ghost Creek runs alongside the campground. Numerous trails in the area lead hikers and horseback riders into the surrounding wilderness area. There is no trailhead fee for visitors accessing the back-country and no ATVs allowed. Horse trailers are not allowed, but can be parked at Terrero. Please keep your dogs on a leash for their own safety.

19 single campsites, 4 double campsites, with vaulted toilets, water, trash bins, tables and grills. No hook-ups, potable water or showers. $8.00 per vehicle per night. $8.00 per day for picnicking. 3 car per site limit. Quiet hours from 10pm to 7am. 16 miles north of Pecos on Highway 63 and Forest Road 122. In addition to the beauty of the Pecos Wilderness, the Pecos National Historical Park is nearby (outside of Pecos, New Mexico).

Horseshoe Lake

Questa Ranger District
184 State Hwy 38
Questa, NM 87556
(575) 586-0520

In the summer months the trail can be used for hiking and horseback riding. It is used for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing during the winter. There are numerous primitive campsites on the trail. The campsite at the trail junction is the most popular due to proximity to Lost Lake (about a mile) and Horseshoe Lake.

Camping and campfires are not permitted along the lake shore to prevent soil and water damage.  Please setup campsite at least 300 feet from the lake.

Hiking Trail

The trail starts at the parking area. Just past the Trail #55 junction you will cross the “Big Ditch,” which was financed by Lucien Maxwell and other investors in 1868 to divert water over 41 miles to mines in Elizabethtown. It didn’t work out well.

The trail continues up the East Fork of the Red River for about three miles before it turns west across a bridge. From there, it climbs for about a mile past a rock slide, with a spectacular vista point to the wilderness boundary and the Lost Lake Trail (#91) junction. Turning south, the trail becomes steeper and somewhat rockier. Horseshoe Lake is at an elevation of 11,950 feet. The Forest Service stocks the with native cutthroat trout by helicopter. Map of Horseshoe Lake/East Fork Trail 56 

Directions

Travel on NM State Hwy 522 to Questa. Turn right/east on NM Hwy 38, approximately 15 miles. Alternately, from Red River, take the right fork at the east end of town towards NM Hwy 578, Upper Red River Valley Road 578, travel south for 6.4 miles. The pavement ends here. Take the road to the left across the bridge, FR 58A, and travel approximately 1 ¼ miles to the wilderness users parking area. The road from the end of the pavement to the parking area is not maintained. No vehicles beyond the parking area.

Iron Gate Campground

Pecos Ranger District
Santa Fe National Forest
PO Drawer 429
Pecos, NM 87552
(505) 757-6121

Located above 9,000 feet, Iron Gate Campground is an excellent spot to access the Pecos Wilderness for day hiking and horseback riding. The campground opens in May. There are 14 units, with vaulted toilets, trash bin, tables, fire pit/grill, as well as 4 horse corrals. However, there is no water.

Maximum recommended length for vehicle and horse trailer is 30 feet. The campground is located 23 miles north of Pecos on NM 63 and FR 223. Forest Road 223 very rough and not recommended for low clearance vehicles. Additionally, visitors are encouraged to recycle and pack out trash. No reservations and no ATVs allowed. $4.00 per night per vehicle.

Pecos River in the Pecos Wilderness area
Pecos River in the Pecos Wilderness Area

Jack’s Creek Campground

Santa Fe National Forest Headquarters
11 Forest Lane
Santa Fe, NM 87508
(505) 438-5300

Located in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, Jack’s Creek is on the border of the Pecos Wilderness, which features 160,000 acres of majestic mountain scenery, high mountain lakes and the Pecos River.  The campground sits at approximately 8,000 feet, open from mid-April to mid-November. It is about 50 miles from Santa Fe. Perfect for family reunions, recreation events and other large group gatherings, the campground has two group units available that can each hold 40 people.

The campground is heavily forested with fir trees intermixed with aspens, which shimmer like golden coins in the fall. The trees provide plenty of shade if desired, yet enough space to enjoy the sun as well. The creek is adjacent to the campground. A variety of wildlife, such as elk, mule deer, migratory birds, bald eagles (in winter) and other raptors populate the forest. This campground is convenient to Jack’s Creek Trail. Anglers can fish for rainbow and brown trout in Jack’s Creek (license required). In addition to exquisite natural resources, Pecos National Historical Park is fairly close, right outside of Pecos, New Mexico.

Jacks Creek campground
Jack’s Creek campground

Junebug Campground

Questa Ranger District
184 State Hwy 38
Questa, NM 87556
(575) 586-0520

Recently refurbished roadside campground sits near historic Red River mining area and ski resort, with fishing access to Red River (license required). 2 miles west of Red River via NM 38. 16 campsites for tents or trailers, 7 campsites for trailers (RV’s under 22′), $18/Site, $5.00 extra vehicle fee.

Open May through September. 20 campsites at elevation 8,500. This campground gets crowded during summer weekends. As an alternative, try BLM’s Wild Rivers Recreation Area north of Questa.

Camping in Northeast New Mexico | K – R

Camping in Northeast New Mexico | S – Z

1 COMMENT

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here