Camping in Northeast New Mexico K-R

If you are looking for places to go camping in northeast New Mexico, here’s a list of options from K-R. From primitive sites to pop a tent to RVs campsites with full 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 | A – J

Camping in Northeast New Mexico | S – Z

La Bobita Campground

Carson National Forest
208 Cruz Alta Road
Taos, NM  87571
(575) 758-6200

La Bobita Campground is an overflow camp open only when all other nearby sites are maxxed out, which is left to the judgement of the concessionaire. Also, the area is a good spot for a large group. The location, near the Red River, is a perk for anglers bumped from the more popular campgrounds. $8/per vehicle, $50/group/night.

La Junta

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

8 family units with fishing access, also popular with motorcyclists. A family unit consists of parking for at least 1 vehicle, a picnic table and a grill. Picnic tables, vault toilets, drinking water. No electricity. Trailer mobility – under 16′. $11.00/Night for single unit, $5.00 per extra vehicle. Adjacent to Rito la Presa Fishing Trailhead to La Cueva Lake Trail #8 and Duran/Policarpio Trail #13.

La Junta Canyon

Opens May through October. 30 campsites at elevation 9,400. 20 double sites, 10 group sites for 20-50 people. Both are 4 miles north east of Tres Ritos along Forest Road 76, off of State Highway 518.

If you can’t be bothered to fire up a grill, head to the Riverside Cafe at Sipapu Ski & Summer Resort. It’s a historic lodge with classic New Mexican-fare and has a full bar, with a variety of local beers on tap.

La Sombra Campground

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

Popular Taos Canyon site near Capulin Campground and Shady Brook. No Drinking Water. Trailers not recommended. No Garbage Service. Adjacent to Rio Fernando for Fishing. A family unit consists of parking for at least 1 vehicle, a picnic table and a grill. There are 13 double sites, first come, first served. The forest service recommends no trailers over 16′. The campground is located 8 miles east of Taos along US Highway 64. $6/night.

Las Petacas Campground

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

Set in a beautiful canyon quite close to Taos, there is good access to Rio Fernando de Taos for fishing. The campground opens in late May. There are a total of 9 double sites, with a vault toilet. No electric or water. No reservations accepted, $6/night. The campground is located four miles east of Taos along US Highway 64.

Links Tract Campground

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

Primitive, free dispersed camping 16 miles north of Pecos on NM 63, then 1 mile on FR 646. There are 12 campsites available, with a vault toilet, tables, and few fire pits. However, there is no water available. Visitors are encouraged to recycle and pack out trash.

Lower Hondo Campground

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

One of three small sites on paved road to Taos Ski Valley providing access to fishing on Rio Hondo and hiking in Columbine-Hondo Wilderness Study Area and Wheeler Peak Wilderness. There are 5 sites available. 4 are suitable for trailers under 22′. Open May-September. 12 miles northeast of Taos via NM 522 & 150.

Manzano Mountain State Park

Mile Marker 3, Hwy 131
Mountainair, NM 87036
(505) 469-7608
Dylan.frentzel@state.nm.us

Manzano Mountains State Park is an excellent destination for hiking and camping. Nestled at 7,250 feet above sea level in the wooded foothills of the Manzanos, this park provides a quiet retreat and is a nice family get-away from March – November. There are 23 developed campsites, 9 with electric (30 amp). Water is available in the campgrounds, as well as vault toilets. Activities include wildlife viewing, hiking, biking, birding and photography. Park Map, Trail Map

From NM-55 turn onto NM-131 in the village of Manzano. Follow the asphalt road 2 miles to the park entrance then straight ahead 1 mile on a gravel road to the campground. Reservations and fees.

McCrystal Creek Campground

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

Tucked in the heart of the Sangre de Cristo mountains, this valley is home to two campgrounds: McCrystal at an elevation of 8,100 feet and Cimarron at an elevation of 9,300. This quiet piece of paradise is well worth the 30 miles on rough, dirt road to get there. In total, there are 60 sites at McCrystal, including 6 campsites for horse campers. There is no water available. May – September, $13.00/Night for single unit, $5.00 extra vehicle fee.

The Ring Place Ranch is a pioneer cabin. The self-guided trail is at the campground entrance. To get there from Cimarron, drive 5 miles northeast on Hwy 64 to Cerrososo Canyon. Follow this canyon approximately 21 miles to the Valle Vidal Unit Boundary. The route is marked by signs. From the boundary, travel 7 miles on Forest Service Road 1950. These graveled roads are not maintained during the rainy season and may be passable only with a four wheel drive vehicle.

Mills Canyon Campground

Kiowa/Rita Blanca National Grasslands
Clayton, NM
(575) 374-9652

This beautiful, remote campground is situated within the Canadian River Canyon at an elevation of 5,160 feet. There are 12 campsites available. The closest town is Roy, New Mexico. The area is known for bouldering and rock climbing.

Traveling from Abbot, NM at the intersection of US Highway (Hwy) 56 and NM Hwy 39, drive south on NM Hwy 39 for approximately 16 miles. Turn west onto Mills Canyon Road #600 and continue driving west approximately 9 miles to the campground.

Traveling from Roy, NM on NM Hwy 39, drive north approximately 10 miles and turn west onto Mills Canyon Road #600. Continue driving west approximately 9 miles to the campground.

Mills Canyon Road #600 is very narrow, steep and winding. Cars are NOT recommended. High clearance vehicles are necessary due to rough road conditions. During periods of sustained rainfall,the road may be impassable due to flash flooding.

Morphy Lake State Park

Morphy Lake Road
Mora, NM 87732
575-387-2328
Christopher.vigil@state.nm.us

Nestled in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains at 7,953 feet in elevation, this hidden lake sits at the edge of the Pecos Wilderness. The lake is stocked with rainbow trout and offers excellent fishing, with a small boat ramp/dock. Canoeing is a popular activity. This pristine lake offers a unique opportunity for primitive camping. Due to parking and campsite size limitations, maximum RV length allowed is 18 feet. There are a total of 26 developed sites. However, there is no water, no electric, and no dump station. There is water available in the campground. Note: Morphy Lake State Park will be closed through the
spring of 2020 for dam renovation. Park MapPanchuela Campground

Panchuela Creek Campground

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

The Pecos is a gem among New Mexico’s wild places, and this campground is a treasure. Set among the pines along Panchuela Creek, anglers can fish Panchuela Creek and other nearby streams for rainbow and Río Grande cutthroat trout. For hikers, Panchuela Trail (aka Cave Creek Trail), Dockwiller Trail and Johnson Lake all begin here. The 5.6 mile Cave Creek Trail is the easiest and winds through a lush valley along both Panchuela and Cave Creeks. Toward the end of this trail are several caves which Cave Creek actually flows through. This is an incredibly scenic hike accessible directly from the campground.

Open May – November, Panchuela Campground features several 3 sided shelters with pitched roofs and fireplaces, all with a picnic table and fire pit. There are a total of 5 sites, 4 single sites and 1 double site, with vault toilets. Whereas campsites are close to one another, the setting on Panchuela Creek is beautiful. Each site is $5/night. No potable water. Not well-suited for RVs due to the one-way road in/out. No horse trailers or ATVs. The campground is 22 miles north of Pecos on NM 63. If you are interested in culture and history, Pecos National Historical Park is right outside of Pecos, New Mexico.

Panchuela campground in the Pecos Wilderness
Panchuela campground in the Pecos Wilderness

Red Cloud Campground

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

A small campground with 5 sites located in a ponderosa forest near an old mining district. Light traffic, other than hunting season. Vault toilets, but not much else in terms of amenities. However, there is no water available. Bring your own.

Red Canyon Campground

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

Campground with 38 campsites at an elevation of 7,600 feet above sea level. It is a fairly large, well shaded campground, with an additional 11 picnic sites in the lower loop. They charge $7.00 per campsite. RVs longer than 22′ are not allowed. Vehicles of this size should park at Ox Canyon Trailhead, approximately 1.5 miles South of Red Canyon Campground.

This is a good base camp to explore the Manzano Wilderness via Red and Spruce Canyon trails on foot (or horseback). There are corrals and parking available for equestrians. This campground is open for day use or overnight camping. There is no water available.

Rio Costilla Park

72 NM-196
Costilla, NM 87524
(575) 586-0542
info@riocostillapark.com

Rio Costilla Park & Campground is made up over 80,000 acres of pristine wilderness located in northern Taos County. With mild temperatures and plenty of space to roam, this is an ideal spot for embracing nature and quiet during your next vacation. I am biased. The sites on Costilla Creek are some of my favorite spots in the state.

This area is a natural paradise, with meadows full of wild flowers, hiking, mountain biking, hunting, and fly fishing. The main area has laundry facilities and a dump station, with pull thrus and big rig access. However, there is also tent camping available on the river, with picnic tables, fire rings, and vault toilets. Permits Available at Main Park Gate Entrance and also at El Gato RV Campground.

Day Use: $10.00 per vehicle per day, up to 8:00 PM. Daily permit entitles visitors to camp, picnic, hike, or bicycle ride within designated areas of the park

Overnight Entrance for Camping: $20.00 per vehicle per day (24 hours). Campsites are not be left unattended for more than 24-hours.

Fishing: $7/day. Fishing fee applies to park streams and/or lakes only. New Mexico State Fishing License Required for Rio Costilla Streams and Costilla River.

northeast New Mexico K-R
Campsite on Rio Costilla. THIS is my favorite.

Rio Grande del Norte National Monument

Wild Rivers Visitor Center
1120 Cerro Road
Cerro, NM 87519
(575) 758-8851

BLM | Taos Field Office
226 Cruz Alta Rd
Taos, NM 87571
(575) 758-8851

The Rio Grande del Norte National Monument is comprised of rugged, wide open plains at an average elevation of 7,000 feet, dotted by volcanic cones, and cut by steep canyons with rivers tucked away in their depths. The Rio Grande carves an 800 foot deep gorge through layers of volcanic basalt flows and ash. Map

Fees For Monument Campgrounds

Self-service pay stations are located at developed camping, picnic and trailhead areas.

Day Use: $3/day per vehicle to use the area for 30 minutes or more. An annual day use pass, good for the calendar year, is available for $20.

Camping: $7/night for one vehicle, $10/night for two. Maximum 2 vehicles and 10 people per site. Additional vehicles may park in day use parking areas at $3/day. Change is available at the Visitor Center or from a Park Ranger or Camp Host. Annual day use passes do not apply to camping fees.

River Campsites: $5/night.

Group Shelters: $30/day, $40/night. Group shelters are by reservation. Call the BLM Taos Field Office at (575) 758-8851.

Rio Grande del NorteBig Arsenic Springs Campground

First of three small campgrounds on the rim of the Rio Grande Gorge in the Wild Rivers Recreation Area. Elevation 7,000 ft. 6 campsites with shelter and picnic tables. Trail access to the river located just north of the campground. Also, the Rim trail connects all of the campgrounds along the Rio Grande and the Red River via hiking or biking the loop trail. Trailhead is close to the visitor center. Activities include camping, picnicking, scenic driving, wildlife viewing, hiking, biking, and fly fishing.

Big Arsenic Springs Trail

The trailhead starts at the day use area of the Big Arsenic Springs Campground. There is an information kiosk, a trail sign, and vault toilets. The trail descends 600 feet through the rim rock to a junction with the River Trail. From its junction with the River Trail, the Big Arsenic Springs Trail goes down another 200 feet and north for about 0.2 miles to the first of the river campsites at Big Arsenic Springs. The trail then continues north for about 0.5 miles to its end at another group of river campsites. 25 miles north of Taos via NM 522 and 378; turn west at the Cerro turn-off three miles north of Questa.

Little Arsenic Springs Campground

Second of three small campgrounds on the rim of the Rio Grande Gorge. Elevation 7,000 ft. 6 campsites with sheltered picnic tables. Trail access down to the river located just north of the campground. Hiking and biking on the Rinconada Loop Rim Trail which leads to all the campgrounds and to the visitor center in Wild Rivers Recreation Area. Trailhead is close to the visitor center. Scenic driving on the loop road. Camping, picnicking, hiking, biking, scenic viewing, fishing, and wildlife viewing.

Little Arsenic Trail

The trailhead for this trail is at the day-use area of the Little Arsenic Springs Campground. There is an information kiosk, a trail sign, and pit toilets here. The trail descends some 800 feet through the rim rock on well-graded switchbacks and trail (some of it a little rocky) to its end at a junction with the River Trail. On the way down, you’ll get some great views up and down the Rio Grande Gorge. From its junction with the River Trail, there are river campsites both upstream (at Little Arsenic Springs – the closest water source other than the river) and immediately downstream in a grove of Ponderosa pines

Rio Grande del NorteEl Aguaje Campground

El Aguaje is the last of 5 small campgrounds (all first come-first serve) in the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument. It sits on the Red River side of the Taos Volcanic Plateau with the Rio Grande a short hike to the west. It is very close to where the two river gorges (Red River, and Rio Grande) come together. This campground is the largest of the 5 and has 7 sites. The campground has very clean toilets, and drinking water available as well as trash dumpsters. Each site is equipped with a covered concrete picnic table (on a concrete pad) and a fire ring. The campground is on the rim of the Red River gorge, with a trailhead from the campground.

Montoso Campground

The third of three small campgrounds on the rim of the Rio Grande Gorge in Wild Rivers Recreation Area. Elevation 7,000 ft. 4 campsites with sheltered picnic tables. Trail access down to the river located just north of the campground. A hiking/biking rim loop trail connects to all of the campgrounds on the Rio Grande and Red River, and to the visitor center in the recreation area. Trailhead is close to the visitor center. Scenic driving on the loop road. Camping, picnicking, hiking, biking, scenic driving, and wildlife viewing. Campground: $3/day use, $7/night.

Rio Grande del Norte | Orilla Verde Area

Rio Grande Gorge Visitor Center
NM-68, Penasco, NM 87553
(575) 758-8851
ttorres@blm.gov

The Orilla Verde Recreation Area is located in the Rio Grande Del Norte National Monument. Nestled along the banks of the Rio Grande and within the steep-walled Rio Grande Gorge, the campgrounds in this area offer access to the river. The elevation along the river banks is 6,100 feet. The steep canyon walls rise 800 feet from the river to the gorge rim. Due to the dramatic changes in elevation and the diversity of plant life, Orilla Verde draws numerous species, including eagles, hawks, waterfowl, beaver, cougar, mule deer, etc. Additionally, evidence of ancient peoples is found throughout the Recreation Area in the form of petroglyphs and archaeological sites.

Fees

Orilla Verde is open year-round. The Visitor Center is open daily from May 1 – October, 7 from 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM. Winter hours are 10 AM – 2 PM. Self-service pay stations are located at developed campgrounds and day use sites. There are pull-thru sites, with electric (30/20/15 amp).

Day Use: $3/day per vehicle. An annual day use pass is available for $20.
Camping: $7/night for one vehicle, $10 for two. Maximum 2 vehicles and 8 people per site. Annual day use passes do not apply to camping fees. A maximum of 8 people are allowed per campsite. There is a maximum of two vehicles per site. Individual campsite checkout time is 10 AM. Group shelter checkout time is 11 AM.
RV Sites: $15/night, includes water and electrical hookups. No sewer.
Primitive Campsites: $5/night.
Group Shelters: $30/day, $40/night.

 

Arroyo Hondo

Orilla Verde Area
Rio Grande Gorge Visitor Center
NM-68, Penasco, NM 87553
(575) 758-8851
ttorres@blm.gov
One of the few campgrounds with sites that back up to the Rio Grande. Decently level, but not much separation between sites. There are 4 sites, open all year, tents, tables, grill, toilets, with access to fishing (license required) and hiking trails. $7/night.

Pilar Campground

Orilla Verde Area
Rio Grande Gorge Visitor Center
NM-68, Penasco, NM 87553
(575) 758-8851
ttorres@blm.gov

The campground is at 6,036 elevation, with 12 sites, 9 with water and electric. The La Senda Del Medio Trail starts at Pilar Campground and is good for a short dog walk the first half mile until Rio Bravo Campground, after that it’s pretty rough and overgrown. The La Vista Verde trail is an Easy, dog-friendly 1.25 mile hike further into the Monument with a beautiful view of the Gorge

The campground can accommodate RVs up to 40′. Water and electric, picnic table, flush toilets, a sink for washing dishes, fire pit, and bbq pits. Clean restrooms. Showers at the next campground $1.00 for 4 minutes. 15 minutes from Taos.

Rio Bravo Campground

Orilla Verde Area
Rio Grande Gorge Visitor Center
NM-68, Penasco, NM 87553
(575) 758-8851
ttorres@blm.gov

The campground is set right next to the river in a grove of cottonwood trees. Most of the sites are along the river with nice picnic shelters. There is a group site as well, and even showers. Access to the river from the campground is a bit difficult due to thick brush. The area can be very hot and dusty in summer, but it is close to whitewater areas of the Rio Grande as well as gentler float sections. This is bighorn sheep country, and they are often spotted in the gorge. 10 sites, with a maximum trailer length of 42′. ADA accessible, family friendly, flush toilets, potable water, showers, picnic tables, covered picnic areas, and wildlife viewing. $15/night.

Rio Grande Gorge
Rio Grande gorge, outside of Taos, New Mexico

Taos Junction Bridge

BLM | Taos Field Office
226 Cruz Alta Rd
Taos, NM 87571
(575) 758-8851

This campground is south of the Rio Grande gorge bridge, close to the river. There is a group camping area available. However, there are only 4 sites and it is first come, first served. Area activities include boating with kayaks, canoes, or rafts, fishing,  hiking, mountain biking, and wildlife viewing. ADA accessible, family friendly, flush toilets, potable water, picnic tables, covered picnic areas, boat ramp, and fishing. It can be windy and dusty. $7/night. Group shelter fees: $30/day and $40/night.

Sixteen miles south of Taos to junction of NM 570, then north of 570 to bridge. Visit the Rio Grande Gorge Visitor Center in Pilar for scenic views of the river, picnicking, and information, (575) 751-4899.

northeast New Mexico K-R

Rio Pueblo

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

Rio Pueblo is one of the most popular trout streams in the state, paralleled by highway 518 along its entire length. Fish species found on Rio Pueblo include Rainbow Trout and Rio Grande Cutthroat Trout. Quality water section is above Comales Campground. Limit is 2 fish over 12 inches per day (license required). There are several campgrounds on this route.

This campsite is located at 6,069 feet elevation within the BLM Taos District. Also known as Confluence Campground, the Rio Pueblo Primitive Campground contains 6 campsites that are open year round. There are no shelters and/or potable water available at this location. $3/night. This is the last campground on 570 along the river. It’s tucked back into the canyon on the dirt road extension of 570. Sites are mostly surrounded by brush. It’s a bit unclear which pullouts are sites and which are just parking spots for hikers.

Rio de los Pinos

Tres Piedras Ranger District
Carson National Forest
PO Box 38
Tres Piedras, NM 87577
(575) 758-8678

4 primitive campsites plus dispersed camping at 8200 feet, with superb fishing access. This river system has a few good paddling stretches as well. The Rio de los Pinos headwaters are in the San Juan Mountains in southern Colorado. Getting to the campground involves border surfing. The campground is located 15 miles southwest of Antonito, CO via US 285, State Road 443 and FR 284. Call ahead for current road conditions during the rainy season. FR284 can flood.

The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish manages part of this fishery on the east section of the river. The west end of the Rio de los Pinos holds rainbows, wild browns and brookies. There are several miles of access to fishing and campgrounds along the stream. A portion of the stream through the Rio de los Pinos Wildlife and Fishing Area has special regulations. 16′ trailer limit. Pack out trash.

Rio Santa Barbara

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

The campground is 12 miles southeast of Penaso on FR 116, off NM Hwy 73 at 8,900 feet elevation. The campground is next to the Rio Santa Barbara, with fly fishing available (license required). There is a trailhead leading into the Pecos Wilderness and group campsites. This is a popular location for hikers headed to Truchas Peak.

The campground has 15 single sites, each with a table and fire ring; 2 double sites, each with two tables and a fire ring; 1 triple site with three tables and a fire ring; and 2 quad sites with four tables and a fire ring. Vault toilets, drinking water from faucets and trash removal are provided. There are no horse facilites within the campground. First-come, first-served sites are available. The campground is open from May through September. $16/Night for single unit, $30 Double, $5 Extra vehicle fee, and $3/vehicle at trailhead.

Camping in Northeast New Mexico | A – J

Camping in Northeast New Mexico | S – Z

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