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Gila National Forest, NEW MEXICO

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Camping New Mexico Gila National Forest
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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.

THE place for star gazing!

Primitive campground with 1 bathroom. 5 designated drive up spots for camping as well as more possible dispersed sites out in the meadow. Several fire rings hint at possible tenting sites. The wilderness that surrounds the site and lack of lights truly make the night sky magical. Check campground schedule for guided star gazing, they have telescope nights!

And it’s free! Watch out for cow poop.

Hilltop dispersed camping

This is a small campground on top of a hill, therefore great for stargazing! It is dispersed camping (yea, free!) and has two vault toilets. The bathrooms/toilets were well kept and not super stinky like in some places.  There's gravel parking great for RVs, and plenty room beyond that for tents. However, there is NO shade, so beware the summer afternoon. Perhaps because of this there was hardly anyone there, but that's makes for a quiet, unintrusive stay. Also, there are some free range cows, so watch out for cow patties.

Star gazing camp sites

Just a great free place to pull off for the night. Outhouses and trash cans available, but that's it. Countless spots to chose from. Pack it and pack out. We were the only ones there for two nights. It was super quiet and the stars at night were amazing.

A different experience eveytime

I’ve stayed here many times over the years (last time was in 2007 however) and depending on how much water is, or recently was in the Gila River, some of the hot springs could be washed out as they get closer and closer to the river. I’ve been lucky enough to go every time where this hasn’t been a problem, but after getting to know the area and camp host well enough, you know if could be a possibility. Beautiful area with cliff dwellings nearby you can walk through and around. We love the Gila Hot Springs! I’m not sure many people know of this hidden gem and it’s a bit of a trek to get there, so if your looking for a real secluded camping experience then try this one

First to Review
Nice. Right next to the Gila River.

Lots of shade, restrooms, no trash service.

Forks

Good spacious camp sites but lack of shade in some areas, great views.

Love it

This was my first experience in a boat, and the lake was a perfect place to learn. Had such an amazing experience with my family.

I want to keep it secret

I was doubting about posting pictures and a review because for me this is my secret paradise, there's only a few campsites and the owners just let small groups to stay (with some exceptions). There are three wonderful hot pools in the middle of campsites. Very quiet, relaxing and secure.

Worth the effort

This camp site is off a forest service road that gets pretty rough. Definitely tents only Recommend that you have 4wheel drive, motorcycle or atv. Right on the continental divide trail. Very quiet

First to Review
Loved It!

I took my dad there for Labor Day weekend last year and was totally pleased with the campground. Extremely well kept and clean. Didn’t use the RV restroom at all. The restrooms at the grounds were very clean and only a short walk from every campsite. Drinking water to fill your camper was available in several locations. No hookups but that was ok. The country surrounding the grounds was absolutely beautiful! Snow Lake provides great fishing opportunities and the views from all over the surrounding Gila Wilderness were simply amazing.

We met some folks from Silver City during our stay and became lifelong friends with them. We spent most of the weekend with them sharing meals and stories around the campfire! I will definitely be heading there again at least once a year!

Our favorite spot

This campsite is perfect. There’s about 6-8 spots at this particular site. It’s first come first serve so, get there early because it fills up fast. There are toilets in the parking lot and they are constantly stocked with toilet paper. Each campsite has a fire pit in the middle and some have picnic tables. Most of the sites are close to the parking lot so you don’t have haul your stuff very far. Also, it’s the site closest to the Cliff Dwellings Monument (about 1/4 mile away). We’ve camped here twice and every time it is perfect. Nights in the spring do get a bit chilly so bring warm clothes.

State campground with good access to San Juan River fly fishing

This is a campground that has access to the San Juan River below the Navajo Dam. There is direct access to bait Waters as the campground is on the river. The Quality Waters, which are catch and release and barbless fly fishing only, are a short drive away. This campground has shade, which is nice because the summer sun is very intense. It has hookups and is RV friendly, with both drive through and driveway sites available. The campground has bathrooms facilities, but NO SHOWERS. The campground is accessed by a rough dirt road, which may present an issue for some people. Overall, we really enjoyed our time here and we recommend this campground.

Extremely rural. Lots of wildlife.

This spot is not easy to get to. You need the proper type of vehicle (off road with clearance). It is dry as a bone, but beautiful nonetheless. There are large trees and a perfect river. We saw a wolf, wild hogs, and signs of bears (droppings). If you want to connect with the wild, this is the place for you. As long as you know how to handle wildlife in a respectful way you will have nothing to worry about. The only drawback is that there is charred forest on either side of the campground. Though the campground itself is like a little oasis. Highly recommend visiting here. It gets VERY cold at night during early summer, so make sure to go prepared.

Lake Roberts summer visit

It’s a few minutes from the lake but it’s nice and open.. both times we’ve gone it’s had quite a few people but beyond being able to hear them we weren’t running into each other. Great for tents, or campers.. They have metal fire rings to help which was nice.

Only drawback was one time people were running generators which were pretty loud.. but we’d still go back!

Hot springs near visitor center

Just a short hike from the visitor's center are a series of hot springs. The first spring is really just a trickle and can only be found by touch moving through the stream. I was able to set up a tent on the creek and dig down in the sand to find the hot water and then covered myself to get the geothermal properties. Not a traditional hot spring soak but a memorable experience. The next morning I could find the hot spring seam by the steam coming off the creek and did the same thing while watching coyotes traverse the canyon.

spacious sites

Nice campground o erlooking lake Roberts with trails down to the lake. camp sites are large and well spaced so you camping neighbors are not right on top of you. Each site also has a bbq gril amd fire ring. Clean toilets with running water. gave it 4 stars since thete are no showers and not a swimming friendly lake. However, nice place for a low cost!

Gorgeous campground 10 minutes from the Plaza

We visited Black Canyon last August on our way to Colorado and stayed two nights. What a lovely and well maintained place. camp hosts were absolutely wonderful. campers were clean, quiet and respectful. Bathrooms were just pit toilets, but man… they were CLEAN! It is cool at night, even in August, due to the elevation. We were so cozy in our wool socks and sleeping bags in a tent. It even hailed on us hard one day. I liked this place so much we booked it again this summer, but were disappointed to see it closed for the month due to wild fires nearby and extreme drought. We get it, but are super bummed. This place is just gorgeous.

Santa Fe National Forest

Beautiful campground in Santa Fe New Mexico. We came to stay one night to go to Meow Wolf and ended up staying 3 nights I liked it so much. Would be 5 stars but the water spigot only worked intermittently, and it was difficult to get a site due to online reservations, some of which weren't even used but sites were still considered occupied due to reservation. I dislike National Park Campgrounds utilizing online reservations, it makes it hard for those of us who wish to ramble aimlessly.

The birds are abundant here. I wore a red winter hat and had at least 10 hummingbirds buzz my head in one day. I could hear their wings and feel the breeze from them they came so close. Tons of shade here, and nice cool days with chilly nights in May. We had a night of sleet after a rainstorm with hail but the next two days were gorgeous. Conveniently located to Santa Fe amenities. I highly recommend this campground. Pit toilets were minimally smelly and relatively clean.

Good stay for Gila Cliff Dwellings

Stayed here one night on our way to Gila Cliff Dwellings.

A mix of flat spots (slightly too close to the toilets) or tilted spots,further away/up the hill. Pit toilet is available. Picnic tables and fire pits available

There is a canyon that we hiked up behind the campground

Ben Lily Campground

Campsite is clean with bathrooms. Easily accessible by 2wd vehicle. Benches and fire pits at each site. Close to willow creek where fishing for gila trout is possible. Creek is a bit shallow and damaged due to erosion and recent flooding however gila trout can be found in larger pools around.

real hot

This place was really hot during the day time but the night was freezing cold. The site are full of wildlife and at night there are scorpions and tiny little rodents that come out. The site are on the small side and there are not people that come out here in the summer. i would recommend that you come during the winter when it is cooler

Great campsite with climbing

Headed out to Luna Park for an overnight with my wife and dogs. While I'm a climber, she only does it occasionally. This seemed like it'd be a good spot to hang out and climb a little without being too much of a "climbing trip".

Access is possible from the south via FR139 and Luna Park Road, but Google Maps won't show you that because it requires a high clearance vehicle or very careful driving.

There are 2-3 camp sites here and a handful of both sport and trad routes. A pit toilet is available. There was some scrub juniper to burn but not much firewood otherwise. The view back east is spectacular.

While relatively secluded, we did not have the campground to ourself. At night there were some "kids" driving around making some noise, but once they realized they couldn't have the run of the campground they wandered on.