My first backpacking adventure in Northern New Mexico took me from Iron Gate Campground to Mora Flats. BEAUTIFUL!
A quick 4-5 mile hike in, we crossed the Pecos River and found a nice, shady spot in valley. It was peaceful, quiet and surprisingly cool for late-July. It rained each afternoon, but we had everything we needed to stay dry and cozy.
The river provided plenty of trout for a nice rice and fish dinner. The sky provided plenty of stars for gazing.
We spent one night in Iron Gate before embarking on a three-day backpacking/camping adventure. Campground was well maintained, had plenty of clean restrooms and parking. Agree with the other reviewer… a low-profile vehicle will have a tough time making it up the hill to the campground, especially in rainy/snowy weather.
Ok so for a person staying in a tent, this place ins't ideal year round. They receive snow and are a known New Mexico ski area. So if you are planning a visit during the "off prime season" you might want to check into one of the other options for stay in the park.
The park has 50 camping sites designed for tent or RV campers and a few scattered sites for larger RVs as well. While only a handful of locations actually have access to electricity for those wanting of a nice stay without all the extras this place is quite nice. Water stations are scattered throughout camp along with vault toilets.
Something which does set this park apart from others in the area is the Yurt accommodations for those wanting to try something new or wanting to get outdoors but not so much that they are renting an RV and dealing with maintenance or sleeping in a tent which might be a bit overwhelming.
When I visited, it was not yet prime season so many of the amenities were limited. The regular season runs from May 1 to October 31, at this time the Lodge and private picnic shelters are available for rental and from what I have seen the accommodation there is quite spectacular. The lodge plays host to a lot of beautiful weddings and retreats.
While in partial winter shut down mode however, the access to trails is still available and I found that the trails were pretty spectacular to see as you would find native vegetation poking through snow patches, beautiful fluffy snowflakes to play in and plenty of options for enjoying your version of winter activities.
I was a bit concerned about road conditions in the ongoing snow, but even the roads were taken care of with a certain level of detail which made this park enjoyable as a 4 season park.
My only real concern would be some of the campsites did have pretty close proximity to the roadway. I could see this becoming a bit concerning for road noise as even though on my visit it was a weekday and also during a slower time for tourism, it remained quite busy on the road near the camp.
Book in advance online, especially if you want one of the only 7 campsites with electricity.
Try to snag a spot away from the main road to make your stay a bit more quiet.
Bring layers year round, despite being less than 10 miles from Santa Fe where weather is often very warm, the elevation is much different and considerably cooler.
Try the waterfall trail it is a short hike of less than 3/4 mile round trip with great pay off at the end
With seasonal access this campground can get pretty crowded during peak season due to its close proximity to Santa Fe as well as the amazing outdoor spaces. Driving out of the city you leave the desolation and low laying vegetation and are transported into an oasis of tall growth trees and mountain living. It is hard to believe that less than 10 miles separates these two spaces because of the dramatic difference in appearance. This place really has the best of both worlds!
Driving into the camp, you have three options: Walk-In Camping, Camping With Parking Access & Limited Access.
The walk-in spaces are directly to your right across a small bridge with flowing stream below. Some of the spaces are close enough to the stream that you can hear the gentle trickle of water to put your to sleep at night. Parking for these sections is limited, so it is not recommended to take advantage of these if you are with a party bringing more than one vehicle.
The units with parking are well spaced. Pavement and landscaping create separation which allows each camper to have their own space without feeling cramped. Throughout this section are staggered water stations with potable water and toilets as well as trash cans which are weighted to keep animals away.
A trailhead can be accessed from the rear of this camping area so during busy season there are hikers which park in one of the two lots creating excessive foot traffic throughout the camp;. My suggestion would be to avoid site 24 or 26 which are the sites positioned on either side of the official trailhead.
Each site in the campground is equipped with a fire ring and grill top, a picnic table and a lantern hook. Though this campground has not showers the potable water is a nice touch for those visiting making it much more convenient than other area limited access camps.
Because the trailhead leaves from the campground, throughout the off season the first restroom, the one by the trailhead parking and the walk-in camping does remain open along with the water access to the potable/drinking water fountain at this point of entry.
Check the Kiosk when you arrive, this are will provide any information you might need about the area including any potential dangers on trails, closures or maps.
The pay box is located on the kiosk in the bricks. It is a weird place and isn't the most well marked so rather than looking around for a while and contemplating what to do when you see the broken pay box (previously used) just look down in the middle on the rocks.
The camp host is available during open season and is located in the first space of the drive in loop, when in doubt always remember they are there to help you find information.
This adorable little campground just 3 miles south of the village of Jemez Springs, NM is situated in the in a wide canyon with expansive views of the mesas to the east and west. Some of the sites have a full shelter over the fire ring and picnic table. Many of the sites can accommodate larger RVs or motorhomes, but do not have water or electricity hook-ups. Potable water is available as well. The vault toilets were very clean, and well maintained. This campground had the best recycling and trash containers we’ve seen in months. We were able to recycle just about everything!
This area is perfect for anyone who loves to do any of the following: hike, bike, climb, snowshoe, ski, view wildlife, fly fish, soak in hot springs, gallery shop, or just hang out at your beautiful campsite. The town is within 30 minutes of Valles Caldera National Preserve and just a few more miles to Bandelier National Monument and Los Alamos Skiing area. The town of Jemez Springs has just a few restaurants, be sure to try Olga's Famous Chile Rellenos at Los Ojos, the quirky and quaint little bar that looks like it came from a movie set.
The campground is open all year round and typically has a camp host. The sites are non-reservable, and are very inexpensive for the beautiful views you get!
Note: Despite how beautiful this place was and how much we enjoyed it, we had a scary incident happen that we reported to both the county sheriff and forest service office. If you want to know more, visit our blog. They told us that they had never had a report like this before, so this could have been a random incident, as we were there when there was no camp host. So, stay alert, especially if you are the only camper in the campground.
Found this Campground to be pretty nice overall! Mainly RV's and Campers, in fact I didn't see a single tent or tent site during our stay. The Lots are fairly close together and all have a little covered picnic table area next to the drive through RV slots. Bathrooms and showers worked just fine, though my girlfriend said the womens shower would turn itself off every 30 seconds or so (the mens worked just fine).
It's about 20 minutes north of albuquerque which is nice since you're far enough away to be out of the hustle and bustle but close enough to explore the city. We went for the Hot Air Balloon Fiesta and we could see the balloons from the campgrounds early in the morning.
There's also a Bad Ass Coffee down the street which is one of my favorites!
This could be a 5 but a 2 is all that I can muster. They shut off ALL water on October first and fail to put that into the reservation site or make it clear at the self pay. The gate closes at 5PM after Oct 1 also. NO CODE to re-enter! The folks that run this place need to powwow with their other State Park counterparts to make major improvements. The vault toilet had not been maintained since 8/26/18. This was October 5th…. The views and individual shelters are great. Please someone fix this place up. It could be so much more.
There are two campground I found in the area, this one and one almost directly across from it. I checked out each on my way to the tent rocks and ended up settling on the other.
WHY? This one is like the red headed stepchild that everyone knows is there but doesn't want to deal with it seems. I think what happened is the other was constructed after this one and because of that this one was neglected instead of maintained.
Was it all bad? No. But was it as nice as the other, NOPE!
I honestly think that if there was a little maintenance to this one I would have enjoyed it a bit more. I liked the views from this side a bit more and they seemed a bit more vegetative overall. But that was also the problem, it looked like no one had maintained the sites and they were a little wooly.
When I visited over a year ago some of the picnic tables were vandalized and looked broken. Several of the plug in posts had been bent and damaged and looked a bit dangerous. I have seen photos of other campers which have camped since my visit and it looks as though they have been working on this area to make improvements and I really hope they have because I would love to see it again in better form.
The water access in my opinion was better from this side and had more points of interest overall including the feeder stream which was flowing pretty well when I was there.
If you have ATT you will not have signal here so if possible bring a booster. The entire region is spotty for this service.
Check out the Tent Rocks, only a short distance away for some amazing hiking and views. An amazing way to see this portion of New Mexico.
When I stopped in this campground I was checking out the lake in general to see what kind of quality it would have, not really familiar with this area and I had seen it in passing. I was traveling through during the week and it wasn't very crowded but it seemed as though the people who had been staying at the facility really didn't have a lot of regard for the land around the lake. It looked pretty junky and the few people I did see who were still staying looked more like they were squatting than camping. Trash was littered all around their site like they had been on a multi day bender party. Not the best site to see when you pull into a campsite and it didn't look like anyone was enforcing any of the rules around camp.
With that being said camping here is very inexpensive only $8 for a primitive site and to get a fully serviced site for a night for an RV is only $18. There are several site types available in between those two options, and for the money in this area it is the most inexpensive camping I found.
They do offer in addition to camping, trails, boating and lake activities and play facilities for children. When I was there the lake itself looked pretty clean, although in comparison to their website photos it was not near as blue or well kept.
I could see the bones of this campsite were set in place for it to be a solid 4 or even 5 but with the condition it was in when I visited a 3 is pushing it.
When you come here there are two major points of interest: a waterfall and a lake. Depending on what you are wanting to do you could have two very different experiences. We decided to take both of the waterfall trails while here the first being an overlook trail which has a decent short climb to the top on a pretty well maintained trail with some altitude change but nothing major and the lower trail which follows the waters edge but has a point at which you must stop without water shoes.
Both of these hikes were short but could be a great way to spend the day just enjoying the beauty of the surroundings.
The camp itself was dry camping with staggered port a pottys and armadas or pavilions which could be used featuring kiva style cooking (pretty cool). The sites were ideal for tents and well shaded by huge trees. You could easily have a group camp without issue.
There were large fire rings and picnic tables scattered throughout camp to make your experience comfortable. I really enjoyed this area because of the difference in the land around you and the vegetation you could see as you travel along the river.
The main entrance had rangers available which could take your payment, which was very reasonable and were very helpful in explaining some of the odd things you could find in the nature around you. I had plenty of questions (there are no dumb questions when it comes to learning more about what is around you in nature)
- Watch out for spiders! This is literally the only place I have ever seen a real tarantula roaming in the wilderness, it was HUGE and furry!!! Made me a little hesitant about camping on the same ground as I saw it…lol
- GPS is a bit deceiving out here it will take you through a community instead of just on the slightly more well used roads around so when you rely on GPS just be aware if you look residential you might still be on the same path but try to follow the signs instead.
Great campground sitting up from the lake with awesome views. Free showers, several loops, tents separate from RVs- what more could you ask for! There is lake access nearby and some nice hiking trails, but to be honest, the main attraction is Abiqueu and Goergia O’Keefe country. Tons of great hiking to places she hiked to and painted. The campground is just a few miles from the town of Abiqueu, which was O’Keefe’s main home. Be sure to stop in and visit with the librarian, she’s a great resource for information about the area. And the gas station at the bottom of the hill has a pretty good restaurant! Sites don’t have any trees, but the sage provides a bit of protection from the winds. Be sure to stake your tent well as it gets very breezy in the daytime (winds die down with the sun set). One of the nicest amenities (besides the free showers) were the lantern hooks/posts. You just don’t see those very often. Camper beware, the tent only loop is next to the group campsites, so expect some noise.
A nice campground set north of the town of Jemenz Springs. There was a fire ban in place and the Forest Service was planning on closing the entire forest the morning after I showed up. I had enough time to camp and get in one hike to a social spring before they came through and closed everything up for safety. The campground was nice, but there was no water available (it had been shut off in preparation for the closure). The campsites were nice and well spaced with lots of pine trees around each site, so there was a lot of privacy. There was an abundance of pine needle duff covering the ground which would have been great until you considered the fire danger. Each site had a picnic table and fire pit (with bright tape over it to remind you not to use it).
Just south of the town of Jemez Springs was this really nice campground wedged between the road and the river. Super nice campsites, some with pavilions over the picnic tables, some with river access. The campground was closed when I got there but the really nice hosts let me in to check it out. I liked the sites at the back that either had river access or pergolas. This campground was super clean; I wish I had camped here the night before as there was water available and the bathrooms were more modern and clean.
This is a decent Forest Service Campground on Hyde Park Rd. (NM475) near Hyde Memorial State Park. It is a pretty spot (nice trees/shade) and is conveniently reached from Old Santa Fe (which means it can be pretty slammed). There are a few walk-in sites and many more drive-in sites. Get there early so you can grab a spot far from the toilets (smelly!).
The campground is okay- more trees than the landscape shots in my pictures. You're paying quite a premium to wake up at the hot springs (that part is a full-on resort). I did have a nice frosty trail run out along a frozen pond and then up the hill to the archeological sites a little to the west- really interesting. In terms of the camp, I was disappointed that the only other vehicle to roll into the campground that night parked at the site right next to mine - shining headlights into my tent and running a generator all hours. It would be nice to designate tent and RV sections of the campground to avoid such issues. All that said, when I met the inhabitants of the RV in the morning, they turned out to be some of the nicest people I have ever met. The hot springs are a treat and I'm happy to sleep cheap and soak all day.
this campground is a gem. We stayed 1 night in a non electric site then 4 nights in a site with electricity and water. The views were awesome. It was peaceful and quiet. Good hiking opportunities. The two camp hosts were great! Restrooms and showers were good.
CAMPGROUND REVIEW: Turquoise Trail Campground, Cedar Crest, NM
Turquoise Trail Campground is a small privately owned campground located five miles north of I-40 off Route 14 (exit 175) just outside the east side of Albuquerque. Tucked along the base of the Sandia mountains, at 6940’ elevation. http://www.turquoisetrailcampground.com/
There is plenty of visible signage to guide you down Snowline Dr into the campground.
As you approach the office/museum on the right, the RV/Camper loop is visible on the left (which appeared full). Behind the office building are two tent loops (upper and lower). There are two very clean bathroom/showerhouses located between the office and tent loops. A laundry room and dishwashing sink is located at the back of the office building. *This is also the only water access for the tent loops.
RV sites have full hookups. Tent sites have only a leveled, gravel tent pad, picnic table and standing grill. Only stove fires were permitted at our visit due to open fire restrictions.
Tent sites are separated by scrub brush, which offered partial privacy between most sites, but you will hear your neighbors. The outer tent sites back up to a residential area, with a fence separating. Bring earplugs for undisturbed sleeping, as road noise from Route 14 can be heard, along with local dogs randomly in the distance.
At $20 a night, the campground is convenient and sufficiently met our needs as we traveled west on a tight itinerary.
Shower tokens are provided with your nightly fee. Each token gives you 7 minutes of shower time.
There is plenty to do nearby, with bike trails and hiking trails…though nothing of particular interest in the campground itself.
The bustling city of Albuquerque is the next exit west, so you are still very close to shopping, eateries, and nightlife.
This is a beautiful campground for either tent or evening camping. All sites are by reservation, so there was no stress about finding a spot. Standard vault toilets were pretty well kept, potable water faucets were well located, and firewood was plentiful, although the easiest to find was fairly green still. Sites were decently spaced, although camping etiquette reminders should have been in place (splitting wood at midnight, really???). There were good hiking trails nearby and water to play in, and the sites drained well in the afternoon rains. I look forward to returning.
25 miles from Santa Fe and 50 miles from Albuquerque. concrete pads and concrete picnic table with charcoal grills with rock pebbles filled in and desert landscapes. very well spaced out and different levels so you have a view of the lake and surrounding area.