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I arrived after dark on December 28th, and at first missed the turn off for the camping, but using the map here on the Dyrt, could see where I went wrong.
Google gets you there, as soon as you cross the cattle stile into the park, take your first left which comes very quickly. Dispersed camping is on both sides of this road. If you go a little further, you’ll see the vault toilets on the right (I couldn’t find these until the morning).
It was completely deserted, except for one RV (I am sleeping in my car). In the morning I discovered a car which looks like someone may be living in the park, but saw no signs of anyone.
It is beautiful! I woke up to an inch of snow! One downside- it’s right next to a landfill. There was no smell, but I could hear all of the equipment in the morning.
Easy to find, clean, safe (I’m a solo woman). I’d stay here again!
Lots of open space for dispersed camping
This place is awesome, easy to get to and free. There is lots of room and we have a lot of privacy. Close to town and everything you need. There is also a place to shoot guns if you got em.
This would be an awesome camping area if it were not for the non stop shooting. Great scenery but annoyingly loud. Shooting noise started at the crack of dawn until sunset and it sounded like it was coming from all directions along with the ricochets. Shooters have left tons of shells and all the garbage they shoot at which is unacceptable and sad.
There are free roaming cattle in the area that can get quite close at times. They were not the slightest phased by the shooting just yards from them.
The dirt road from highway 550 is all washboard for miles and miles. You go through Zia Reservation land to get to this area so pay attention to the signs. You'll pass a couple of bike trail parking areas for White Ridge Bike Trails along the way which you can stay at if there is space otherwise leave it for the bikers. There is a large dumpster near the bike area as well.
Google maps shows areas further up the road. The GPS location for this site is right off the main dirt road but further in there are some nice spots but not advisable for low clearance vehicles.
There is no water and cell reception is spotty. Decent=Verizon AT&T=poor
Stayed here one night. Dispersed large dirt and rock camping area with scattered junipers and other brush. There were a few rock fire pits that others have made but no one there had a fire going at the time we stayed there. It was quiet and if you're lucky you can find a secluded spot among the trees and bushes. There are 2 unisex pit toilets in the area but there is no water or garbage so pack in and out!
Good cell reception with AT&T and Verizon.
First things to know: there are no sites with any hookups. And phone connectivity is VERY limited. We had one bar, so we could send some text messages, but forget about surfing or streaming. It's a beautiful campground, and large. The sites, for the most part, are spread apart nicely, affording a lot of space and reasonable privacy. There are not, however, any sites that will accommodate truly big rigs. We are 29' 3" Class A, and were the ONLY Class A on site(and it was 100% booked). We had a small tow vehicle. We just fit in our space, a pull through of sorts. There are, it seems, a lot of back in spots, but again, not for the largest rigs. There are TWO Campground hosts…so many spaces here. Our interaction with both was quite limited, but very friendly. The best things about this site are 1) being here in summer, it's SO much cooler than areas like Albuquerque, where we live,& 2) there is GREAT accessibility to two of the truly most popular trails in NM. Behind campsite 28 is a short(0.4 mile) trail that leads to Trail 137. When you hit that intersection, go left to visit Jemez Falls(beautiful) or right to climb to McCauley Springs(warm springs). Each of those spots has other, much more trafficked trails, so in both cases, you feel like you're sneaking up on the hot spot. Also, we were a short drive to perhaps the mostly LOVELY of all NM trails, the Las Conchas Trailhead, a 3 mile round trip hike through the most lovely pastures around. Wildflowers and chipmunks abounded, and the trail parallels the Jemez River. VERY popular spot; go early or forget about finding parking. Only drawbacks to the campsite(which is really 4.5 stars): trash bins filled quickly and were overflowing. The vault toilet areas smelled; you could smell them as you walked by. The wonderful trailhead I mentioned by Space 28 is only accessible by walking THROUGH the campsite. The folks staying there were nice, but I felt bad about breaking Rule#1 of camping. The campground is about.3 miles off the main highway. The road between highway and campsite is pretty narrow. Two RVs passing each other would be a FRIGHTFULLY tight fit. BUT, we highly recommend, and look forward to many return visits.
Although there are no hook-ups and currently, you can't reserve spots in advance, this campsite is absolutely worth the effort to secure a space. It is relatively small but it is VERY peaceful. About an hour from Albuquerque, but it feels worlds away. While some of the sites are a bit close together, most are quite large. We stayed at one of the"medium" sized spaces and there was room for our rig(30 ft) our tow vehicle and 2 large tents(our adult kids), plus a great fire pit, grill and sturdy picnic table. Our space(#16) backed up against the forest, so we had huge amounts of room and privacy. Cell coverage is VERY spotty. While you can make phone calls almost anytime, expect a garbled experience. As far as data…it popped in occasionally, based on the sudden arrival of hours worth of emails, but do NOT expect to stay here and enjoy those advantages of "modern life." You will be largely disconnected. Forget about surfing the web. The lots are relatively level. Some back up against a very nice stream(these are grabbed up first, of course). There are toilet facilities(vault toilets) throughout the grounds and the camp hosts do a remarkable job of keeping them clean and the odors at a minimum. 3 of the sites have wooden shelters, built in the 1930's. These feature chimneys! You're also quite close to the start of Paliza trail, which is a roughly 4 mile roundtrip, and ends at "Goblin Village", a rather amazing collection of hoodoos. This ought to be a more major site, in my opinion, but when we hiked there on a Saturday noon-time, we had the entire amazing place to ourselves. That was a great experience. The little village of Ponderosa is just a couple of miles away, and it contains Ponderosa Winery, a small winery with a modest tasting room, but you can buy a bottle and sit out on their grounds and enjoy the views. We had a GREAT 3 nights here, and look forward to coming again. Certainly recommend this spot!