One of my favorite hidden gems! There are no frills here…just 4 camp sites and a pit toilet in an isolated setting. No water. Pack in-pack out. The drive up to the camp ground is rough and narrow with some hair-pin turns (and spectacular views!), but it is passable (we have an old Honda CRV AWD and pull a small trailer)…just don't plan on getting there fast. I would not recommend trying the road with an RV. The camp sites are spacious, mostly flat, and provide a lovely view of the mountainside. At about 8500 ft MSL elevation, it is cool up there! August nights are very comfortable; by September, the nights are chilly. There are plenty of hiking trails and old forest-service roads to explore and even a near-by geocache (if you do that).
We stayed here twice. Once in April, Loop C lot 88 and once in May, Lower ridge Lot 2. April was more pleasant due to the cooler weather. Lake has been low for a while, but it's still very pretty. It's hard to give NM State parks a bad review. They have some of the best and they're only $14 for water, electric, pavilion, firepit & wifi. Lot 88 we got better wifi and lot 2 was more secluded. We were there during a fire ban, which I think they have most of the time, but fires were not allowed. You could have a propane portable fire pit, but you have to be within 30 feet of water, which was not a problem with the RV sites. Bathrooms were clean. However the dump station and bathroom near lot 88 was closed. Dump station in Quail Run was open for use but that bathroom was a hike. This SP will always be our go to, when driving through NM.
The campsites and facilities were excellent. Wildlife: Qual, Dove, Lizards, Rabbits, Deer and more. The lake front was crowded with campers and people. Water was clear and cool with lots of carp. Didn’t get to do much other fishing.
Convenient spot when driving south in New Mexico. Nice campground. The water level on the lake was pretty low. There is some good hiking nearby and also a bike trail that goes around the lake which is quite long. We were there early in the season so there was a lot of accessibility for campsites.
A little confusion at the park enterance sent us to the incorrect loop, discovered shortly after we were in place. But camp host made a few calls and as it worked out we were able to remain in location. The helpfulness of each person along the way made this an excellent spot. We used this as a base to explore south central New Mexico.
10-15 down 60 west of Socorro you'll find "the box" climbing area. This is on BLM land, and there is no trash pick-up or other managed facilities here, so camping is at your own discretion and you MUST leave the area as you found it (or better). There is a vault toilet at the main parking lot as you drive in, and if you drive further up the road there is a small pull-off with a couple of simple fire-pits where you will likely find a couple other climbers camping. Please be responsible about your food, trash and making a fire. There is loads of good climbing in the area and it's a great place to set up camp for a few days, but don't ruin that privilege for everyone by mistreating the area. Follow pack-in, pack-out, LNT and common sense rules.
Have to agree with an earlier review of this site--the place is great, everything you'd want in a campground, but we encountered some strange visitors as well. We almost didn't stay because of the seemingly sketchy activity going on here, but it ended up being alright, and the campground itself is great. Nice area, picnic tables, firepits, vault toilets, trash and best of all, free.
We were climbing in the Socorro area for a few days and this site is about 20 minutes further down the road from the climbing area and about 30-35 minutes from Socorro. We stayed our first night here, and the next couple nights we just camped out at the climbing area, which proved much more pleasant (and equally free).
Finding this little park on the banks of the Rio Grande just outside of town in the dark would have been unlikely without the very specific directions given to us at Bosque Del Apache National Wildlife Refuge Visitor’s Center. “From the blinking light go east for 0.7 miles and turn left on the dirt road between the canal and the river.” Sure enough, there it is.
This small campground has about 5 sites, with picnic tables, but offers no other services—no water, fire rings or even toilets. But as the directions say, it’s close to town and it’s FREE. So, on a day where we spent most of the afternoon and watched the sunset while in the National Wildlife Refuge, this campsite served us well. We even planned to get up before sunrise to watch the birds take to the sky from their night-time roosting areas, so we weren’t there long.
The wildlife refuge is a birder’s paradise during the late fall and winter. Species of Sand Hill Cranes, Snow Geese, Canada Geese, and a multitude of ducks winter here feeding on grain grown in nearby fields and roosting overnight in the shallow wetlands. The numbers of birds are overwhelming, and awe-inspiring. But when we learned that the Sand Hill Cranes have been making this journey for nearly 10 million years, we were simply blown away.
There are plenty of opportunities for other recreation in the area, road cycling, mountain biking, hiking and motor-sports. As we pulled out of the campground, we noticed a beach buggy cruising by which looked as cool as it was retro – total ‘70s style. There are other free, “dry camps” in the area, BLM land, etc. as well as a few other RV parks offering shorter or longer stays.
Sandy beaches in most places we camped, great for privacy and space away from others. Inner-tubbeing and boat space. Nice marina and has some amazing festivals through out the year. Can be great for primitive camping and or other. Bathrooms/showers decent but can be a drive depending on camp site. Local stores and grocery close drive as well
We camped in Loop B, which is supposed to have the best view of Elephant Butte Lake. It totally does, the views are excellent. Very affordable RV camping at under $20 a night, which is a steal with both water and electric hookups. But, the bathrooms - they are not great. The one closest to our site was closed (maybe temporarily, but nobody could give us an answer on that), and it's a 15 minute walk to the next one. The showers are the push button type where you only get 60 seconds of water at a time, which is ok, but the facilities are very run down and clearly not cleaned too often. Overall, great location and views, but bring a shower bag.
Pretty lake but too busy. Went on a what we thought was a slow weekend and campers/tents were side by side at the shore line all the way around the lake. It's also surrounded by soft sand which a poop ton of people get stuck in if you don't have the right vehicle.
This campground was great! Trails nearby, picnic tables, fire pits, and pit toilets…. Nice trees, good shade! We enjoyed smores that night! Lots of flies though…
However… while we stayed here there was a lot of strange traffic. We are guessing drug deals? All night long cars would come and go, meet up but never actually stay. They also were not cars that looked like lost outdoorsmen.
We used this as a site when rock climbing in Soccorro as it was right down the road!
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
Nice area, and probably one of the best areas in central New Mexico. I however prefer the areas more to the north of the state. This campground is clean, cheap and right on the lake. The amount of people varies. Good place to chill or swim. There is a place to launch boats as well, but the lake itself isn't all that big. I've seen people dish there before, but never seen anyone catch anything. Isn't too much to do around the area, and basically would just make a nice weekend trip if you were in that area.
Elephant butte is great for a short getaway. You can rent kayaks, jets skiis & more while you're there. I bring my own kayak and go at least 2X a year. My favorite part is grabbing a floaty and float down to caballo lake a smaller lake that connects by river.
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.