The best camping in
New Mexico

713 Reviews 562 Campgrounds
Camping New Mexico

From the vast Chihuahuan Desert to the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, New Mexico has a wealth of opportunities to get outside and explore. For outdoor adventurers, there’s skiing in Taos, whitewater rafting on the Rio Grande, and plenty of hiking, from the Southern Rockies to dusty desert canyons. That’s what makes camping in New Mexico such a varied and fulfilling experience.

Carlsbad Caverns provides ample opportunities to hike, explore, learn about desert wildlife, even appreciate a few thousand Mexican free-tail bats take flight. They swarm out of the cave every night at dust for an audience that often numbers in the hundreds. It’s a perfect excuse to stick around the park after dark and do some camping in New Mexico.

Of course, the only camping available within Carlsbad Caverns National Park is backcountry camping, so come prepared to Leave No Trace. Keep in mind that the desert landscape is often dry, so fire bans, even some backcountry cooking bans, are frequently in effect in the drier months. On the upside, backcountry camping permits are free and you can grab one at the visitor center when you arrive.

Visit White Sands National Monument for an unmatched, natural experience. Acres upon acres of white gypsum dunes stretch into the distance, offering hours of diversion, be it hiking across the dunes or sledding down them. If you forgot your sled, don’t worry, you can pick one up in the gift shop. Just be sure to enjoy these activities early in the morning or late in the evening during the summer months; it gets hot in the desert during midday!

As for camping in White Sands, it’s backcountry camping or nothing and sites require a short hike through the dunes. You’ll be camping on the gypsum, surrounded by shifting white hills, dark night skies up above, and no other campers in sight. It’s definitely a unique experience. Permits are $3.00 per person and can be picked up at the visitor center.

Wherever your adventures take you in the Land of Enchantment, get out there and let The Dyrt help you locate the best camping in New Mexico.

EXPLORE
Recent Reviews in New Mexico
A fishing pond and inexpensive sites

This is a state park campground that offers everything from basic tent sites to full hookups near a small pond for fishing (no swimming or boating). There's a picnic table (numbered with the site so there's no question which she is which) and fire ring. Bathrooms offer flush toilets, no showers and it is not heated. Numerous portable toilets also got the park around the pond and play area. In early December only 4 of the sites are occupied and one person was fishing. It's handicapped accessible with a paved path to a small dock.

Ponderosa and juniper forest

Small free campground , pit toilets , no water , grazing livstock

Does the job

Does tho job for an overnight stay and no one to disturb you. Literally a spot in the dessert. 4 wheel drive recommended

Enchanting

Parking my vintage Shasta on the mesa of Luna Mystica is like no other place I’ve ever parked. Rustic site with a nearly 360 view to die for, I just picked a place and parked. A very short walk to the best private bathrooms I’ve ever used at a campground. A true artist’s haven, there is also a brewing company on site, and a dozen or so adorable vintage parked campers that make the esthetics top notch.

Laid back life, close to town

Campsites are small yet private due to the wonderful shrubbery and small trees. There is a great trail that winds through the back of the property. The bathrooms could use an upgrade, but after all, it is a campground. Pool in the summer and fire pits in the winter. I love this campground!

Cochiti lake NM.

This is a great U.S. Army Corps of Engineers campground. Great level sites with water and 50amp power for RVs and water at tent sites. Clean restrooms with showers. No sewer hookups but dump stations. Stays are limited to14 days, RVspaces are $20 tent sites are $14, 50% discount if you have an Access pass. Fishing docks at the lake, boating (no wake) hiking trails and lots to see and do in the area.

Cochiti lake NM.

This is a great U.S. Army Corps of Engineers campground. Great level sites with water and 50amp power for RVs and water at tent sites. Clean restrooms with showers. No sewer hookups but dump stations. Stays are limited to14 days, RVspaces are $20 tent sites are $14, 50% discount if you have an Access pass. Fishing docks at the lake, boating (no wake) hiking trails and lots to see and do in the area.

Beautiful

This was a true Gem! We stayed the evening here and we were greeted with friendly faces! The spaces were amazing level and wide Each site had a fire area and a covered picnic area nice concrete area at each site! Walking trails and beautiful lakes for fishing!

Clean

Clean campground. Staff was pleasant

Great little spot

We stopped here after the Hot Air Ballon Fiesta. Didn’t think we’d find anything but glad we were wring lovely colors here with fall!

Sweet camping spot

It’s a great place to camp. The scenery beautiful. Great place to hike, bike and ride atv’s. Bring water cause sometimes their isn’t any. Fishing is great but usually is a little windy only at lake.

Best camping by the river

Fishing is great and quality waters. It is fisherman’s fly fishing dream. Camping is great too as you can park next to the river. It’s pricey at 20.00 a night but worth it.

Great park

We didn’t get to use any of the amenities as we were just stopping through on our way to Florida from California. The staff was extremely helpful and friendly. We had no problems fitting our rig that is 70ft overall length in. Will be stopping here again.

In town mountain retreat

If you want to stay in a mountain retreat but close to downtown Ruidoso, NM then this is a perfect place to be. Large abundant pine trees provide lots of shade. Bathrooms with shower are NEW, CLEAN, AND PRIVATE. Also provided is laundry room, small workout facility, sauna, gathering pavilion. We felt welcomed the minute we drove in. We have seen many new updates Including water,electric, and sewer hookups.

Ranger Review: Red Ledge Free Rein Jacket in and Around the Valles Caldera

Campground Review: 

Imagine 1.25 Ma ago an eruption blew apart the landscape of Northern New Mexico that would rival the shear volume erupted by the world famous Yellowstone hotspot!  Jemez Falls and its namesake campground are the closest, largest, and most developed CG to the Valles Caldera proper and the entrance to the caldera's access roads.  The Jemez Falls CG is more developed than the nearby primitive (dispersed) sites that surround the flanks of the caldera proper, this CG offers 50 single sites and 2 double sites, $10 and $50 respectively.  Most of the sites can accommodate RVs and trailers up to 40' in length with good options for tent camping as well.  Each site has the usual metal fire ring, along with picnic tables and a paved driveway/parking area.  You can reserve sites from mid May through Mid September.

Even if you plan to stay here for a couple weeks (which is the limit) you'll have more than enough to keep you preoccupied!  If you want to drive around and hike or fish in the caldera proper then you will need to go to the Valles Caldera Visitors Center and buy a pass.  They typically cost $25 but when we visited during the International Balloon Fiesta the fee was waived.  If they are charging when you arrive, you can also use your National Parks Pass to get entrance.  Be sure to arrive early on the weekends as they restrict the # of permits they hand out.

Now with all this exposed rock you know there's going to be some amazing climbing!  All of the rock in the immediate area was created by the caldera and related volcanic and magmatic activity in the area in the past few million years.  This gives you the opportunity to climb on some "bulletproof" welded tuff (hardened volcanic ash) much like what exists at the world famous Smith Rock State Park in Oregon.  If you want to find out more about the interesting geology of the area you can look Here

Product Review:

Being a Ranger for the Dyrt allows us to test and review gear from time to time!  This time we got to test out the Men's Free Rein Jacket by Red Ledge.

Pros:

  • First thing I want to say about this jacket is that it is super cheap for a rain jacket this rugged and with this many features!  It was only ~90$ after shipping and is comparable to some of my other jackets that were 2-3x as much! 
  • I also really liked the mesh fabric on the inner portion of the breast pockets.  It added another dimension of breath ability to the jacket to prevent condensation from building up on the inside.  This was a nice addition to the gusseted armpits flaps to help air out.
  • The last thing I really liked about this jacket was the amount of high-vis color options you had to choose from!  I went with the Hi-Vis Orange which is close to a hunters orange and came in very handy as there was active hunting while we were hiking in the Valles Caldera.

Cons:

  • There were only a couple of things that we thought could have been improved.  The first was to have the armpit openings be meshed on the inside to prevent it from opening wide up.  We really liked that feature in the breast/side pockets and wished it had been incorporated into the armpits as well.
  • The other thing was the inability to zip the jacket from the top or bottom, which would have allowed you to kind of blouse the bottom of the jacket.  

Score: 4/5

  • While other jackets have more features, this is a great, durable rain jacket at a price point that is reasonable and affordable for most.  This was a great jacket to test and I anticipate using it for many more rainstorms and windy belays in the future.
Not a Campground but Offers Amazing Access!

This is one of the best day use areas that we visited while on a 2 day tour in and around the Valles Caldera!  It has over 250 climbing routes spread out along the East Fork of the Jemez River with something for every level of climber!  The belay areas are nice and flat and the approach will at most take you an hour to get to the furthest walls.  Some of the climbs even allow for setting up top ropes from the tops of the cliffs.  You can access the cattle wall easily from the east parking lot but if you want to walk along the creek then use the parking lot that is to the west.  If you plan on staying overnight then the closest developed campground is the Jemez Falls CG just up the road to the west.

Great Spot for Free Camping before the Caldera!

This is a nice secluded dispersed campsite on the eastern flanks of the Valles Caldera.  It's the closest CG to Sante Fe along the 4 before it enters the caldera proper.  While most of the trees in this area were burnt by fires less than 10 years ago, it still provides great views of the valley below and the highest mountains in all of New Mexico!  The campground has no amenities so bring everything you'll need and bring along a high clearance vehicle if you plan on heading up the road beyond the campsites that are right off the pavement to the right.

Besides exploring the caldera there are plenty of amazing things to do in nearby Sante Fe!  Our favorite attraction was the MeowWolf permanent art exhibit.  It's an absolutely amazing surreal piece of art that you walk through and interact.  I cannot stress enough how much you should visit because in addition to being an art pillar in New Mexico they also contribute to local and soon regional art and philanthropic endeavors.

Urban yet peaceful location...

Enjoyed two nights at this KOA. Very friendly staff and great sites. Location appears to be in an urban setting but you don’t get that feeling once onsite.

Great quite place to camp!

Lots of hiking and forest to explore. You can hear the elk bugling and the see every star at night. This camp site has everything you need and is perfect little getaway.

Great location and beautiful pine forest

Just 15 mins from downtown Sant Fe this beautiful campsite is an easy and great escape and alternative.

For the size of the campground the sites are pretty cramped which is unfortunate but nothing too serious.

Basic campsite with picnic tables, tent mats and pit toilets.

Beautiful and free river side camping

No amenities except some great river side places.

Dispersed camping along the road (though it’s not a busy one, especially not at night so not noisy) right on the river.

First coms first served with mostly tenting spaces.

Nice park

The park is great with beautiful views. The problem is the 12 miles of access road riddled with large& deep pot holes. They don't care about maintaining it either. If you value your vehicle or rv avoid this park at the low rates, can you afford to bend an axle?

Just what I needed

After two days roughing it in the wilderness with no facilities, Moore’s was a great place to pitch a tent, take a shower and relax in a chair in the shade before heading to Durango. I have stayed here twice and will do so again

Beautiful

High altitude early fall camping. Woke up to brisk fall morning covered in ice from overnight sleet. Tall standing pines made campground awesome place to stay.

Wife's favorite

Camped out in the open. Bright full moon. Beautiful trail along creek. Awesome stone shelters

Quiet, beautiful, and had it all to myself for a day.

Quiet mountain lake with ponderosa pines surrounding it. I'd go back in a heartbeat.

Magical Healing Place

I visited this magical place. It is absolutely beautiful. During the day the myriad of plants are enchanting. At night the stars and sounds otherworldly. And the healing energy of Michaela and Ernesto brought me back into light. Forever grateful.

Absolutely Stunning Views

Truly fantastic view go along with this campsite. The sites are fairly primitive but the location is one of the greatest around. It’s a decent drive up here from Taos but you won’t be disappointed once you get here. The trail down to the confluence of the Red River and the Rio Grand is steep and gravel.

Good enough

We stopped here for a night on a week long NM road trip - probably not a destination in itself for us, but the campground had the amenities we were looking for and there was only one other group at the entire campground on a weeknight in late September. 

No views of the water or hookups here, but a variety of spots to pull or back into, clean restrooms, campfire rings, and a friendly host. There was trash service. Think it was around $12 a night.

The best of the best!

We spent a week road trip camping around New Mexico and this was our favorite campsite, despite the lack of upkeep on the restrooms and the trash strewn around which we attempted to clean up. Even with all that, the confluence of the east, west and middle forks of the Gila River at Grapevine Campground made for a magical experience.

In late September there were only a couple of other groups at the campground, which doesn't have designated sites per se, but fire rings are clearly established. There is also a JEEP road whose trail cuts across the river which looked really fun. 

We fell asleep to the sounds of the river and woke the next morning to the sun filtered through the giant trees. This campground is a real gem, really hope that people start taking care of it better!

Pro tip: There is no water at the campground, but up at Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument we were able to fill up our 10 gallon tank free-of-charge.