Camping in New Mexico

THE BEST CAMPING IN

New Mexico

About New Mexico Camping

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.

Recent Reviews In New Mexico

1491 Reviews of 624 New Mexico Campgrounds

Keith H.
Reviewed May. 16, 2021

Make reservations

New mexico state parks nearly all online reservations now. Funny I had no printed copy and nobody checked me. Pretty area in the middle of open prairie. Well spaced non electric sites but it can be a long walk to toilets.

Sitec5
Month of VisitJune
Keith H.
Reviewed May. 16, 2021

High altitude campground

My GPS said 8000 feet. Little shade, close to highway and river. All spots reserve only. Flush toilets, water, and tables.

Month of VisitJune
Keith H.
Reviewed May. 16, 2021

Make reservations

Pretty campground, no shade most sites. 80 percent of sites require reservations. Good hosts.

Month of VisitJune
Keith H.
Reviewed May. 16, 2021

Parking lot campground

Quiet, free, small campground. No individual marked sites. Paved parking lot with wooded area. Water is available and clean pit toilet.

Month of VisitJune
Keith H.
Reviewed May. 16, 2021

Ok basic campground

Small campground not where dirt says, but it's marked with a sign and right along the road. Free, clean pit toilet, didn't see water, picnic tables, good for all except the bigger rigs. Shaded, near road but little traffic.

Month of VisitJune
a
Reviewed May. 15, 2021

Two beautiful viewpoints

Pit toilets available at nearby parking lot for san diego canyon lookout point, two beautiful lookout points nearby

Month of VisitJune
a
Reviewed May. 15, 2021

Beautiful mountain & lake views

Clean pit toilets available, beautiful view of snow capped mountains and lake. Prairie dogs, deer, and birds abound

Month of VisitJune
C
Reviewed May. 15, 2021

Views. Nothing but views.

I'm not sure you can pick a bad spot here, but there are a few standout sites. I had 49, which had multiple places to put a tent, and some amazing views (see the sunrise pic from right outside my tent). Every site has a covered picnic table. And there's a fair bit of shade from trees as well. 

  • The valley changes colors all day long.
Month of VisitJune
BThe Dyrt PRO User
Reviewed May. 15, 2021

Good for a night

Good hiking trail but small parking lot. We were the only big rig but there 4 vans and a couple of cars overnight. No trash or water here

Month of VisitJune
BThe Dyrt PRO User
Reviewed May. 15, 2021

Great views

We found the place empty so we took a scenic corner. Big trash dumpster on the gravel.

Month of VisitJune
Megan T.
Reviewed May. 14, 2021

Beautiful but WINDY

Very unique landscape, great campsites but wow the wind was too much. We had friends go in spring who said it was windy and we went in mid May and it was the same story. If you get lucky and it's not a wind tunnel this place would be amazing. Clean and well-spaced sites. Friendly park staff too.

SiteGemini
Month of VisitJune
EThe Dyrt PRO User
Reviewed May. 14, 2021

Quiet and plenty fo room

We initially went to the left but were intimidated by the narrow road and didn't want to get in a pickle. We ended up camping to the right in the field because the road got a little rough further in...although we walked in later and it wouldn't be too difficult to access the nicer sites further…

Month of VisitMay
EThe Dyrt PRO User
Reviewed May. 14, 2021

Nice Wooded Location

It is right off of the main road but was pretty quiet the two nights we stayed there. There are some sites among the pines soon after pulling into the campground (on the right) and then there are more both further in and to the left upon entering if you're vehicle is 4x4 and has some good…

  • Nestled among the Ponderosa Pines
Month of VisitMay
JThe Dyrt PRO User
Reviewed May. 14, 2021

Great free spot to stay for bisti

I was pretty confused getting here, google and Apple Maps seemed to struggle with me coming from Ah-Shi-Sle-Pah trailhead. It kept trying to take me down a road covered in cattle that led to de-na-zin parking lot. Finally found my way here by using online instructions from the blm website instead…

VThe Dyrt PRO User
Reviewed May. 13, 2021

Great, clean, Carlsbad Caverns

Great small (free) campground very close to Carlsbad Caverns National Park. Surprised at how well-kept it was and the restroom is very clean. There are about 5/6 RV/campervan spots and equal tent spots, each with a picnic table under a canopy, a BBQ and fire ring. There were 3 cars parked at the…

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