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Nice quiet FREE place to stay the night even though there were quite a few campers. Camping is in the parking lot area and basically any pull off you can find a space. If you’re in a tent just hike off anywhere and pitch it for the night. There are no trail markers so just be aware while exploring the very cool formations. Off hwy 371, at the T in the road turn left (Google maps said to turn right just FYI) continue down to parking lot or along the road.
There are pit toilets, no water or garbage. I was able to get AT&T and Verizon cell reception.
This city-operated campground is bordered by highway on one side and red rocks on the other. There are events at the open arena, featuring rodeos, Native American celebrations, and an annual balloon festival in early December. It's beautiful to watch the balloons float about the red rocks in the park and there are a lot of places to scramble on the rocks yourself.
The campground itself is dusty and relatively open; you will hear road traffic. I was there in early December and most of the campground was reserved for the balloon festival. There are electric and water hook-ups, but not sewer. Arrive before 4:30 to obtain the key to the rest room if needed.
They don't provide much information at all on the website, you need to call to get it or just stop by. If you need a place to park overnight, this is a reasonable option. The Petrified Forest is another 90 minutes down the road; El Morro National Monument, Acoma Pueblo, and El Malpais National Monument are a few of the interesting places to visit. We enjoyed dinner/take-out at Dickey's BBQ just 4 miles away. And Jerry's Cafe is popular Mexican restaurant, may require a wait, but it's the sort of place where the locals eat and the waitresses know them by name.
This campground is more like a parking lot with extended canyons for camping. You can set up shop right on the outskirts of the parking lot on the flat ground or in the nearby canyons or turnoffs on the road to get the the parking lot.
There is a pit toilet located there that is really well taken care of. There is also a picnic shelter for those super hot days when you are in need of shade.
You can also backpack across the wilderness area as well. You will need to check the weather and supply extra water since there is not much shade and no water sources.
For Hiking: We used Gaia GPS to pinpoint our coordinates to the "cool" spots and ended up getting detoured due to really cool formations all over the place. We were like moths to flames. It is such a cool spot and LOTS to see!
Gear review: Banner and Oak Freedom to Explore hat
Occasionally as a Ranger we get the opportunity to test out some gear from time to time. I got this hat for my partner and he wanted to test it out for a while before we reviewed it so we thought this was the perfect opportunity. You can find the hat here: https://bannerandoak.com/collections/hats/products/horizon-olive
This hat is extremely fashionable and comfortable. The color is a perfect Olive with black writing that says "Freedom To Explore". There is a mesh lining on the inner front of the hat that helps with sweat and heat. It also keeps you from getting a line across your forehead when removing the hat. He wore it all day and didn't take it off once for it being too loose or too tight. Even after a week fo wearing it everyday it didn't get that gross sweat smell that normal hats get.
The back of the hat has a buckle closure instead of snaps so it lays nice on the back of your head and doesn't dig in.
Drove in here late in the day (about 9:30pm) to find the bathrooms locked and sites full of RVs. Turns out their policy is that you get a key to the bathroom if you check in, and the office closes at 4:30pm, so if you haven't arrived by then you are going to be looking for a place to squat, and good luck finding one that's not in sight of at least 8 other campers.
Unpowered sites are $10 and powered are $20. The rock in the area is pretty, but that's about it. Otherwise this is an unpleasant, muddy city park with little to offer. Keep on driving, if you ask me!
I have stayed at this campground several time it was a New Mexico Stae Park, it has since been turned over to the city of Gallup as a city park. There are several hiking and horseback riding trails around this campground. One of the best is to castle rock a really good hike. Make sure you call to check for availability, there is a rodeo arena near by and will fill up if there is a rodeo.
My first visit to New Mexico and the southwest. Red Rock Park is in Gallup, NM right on the Arizona state line in between Albuquerque and Flagstaff. Church Rock Trial and Pyramid Rock Trail are both about 3 to 3 and a half miles round trip from the campground. Your surrounded by desert on one side and dark red stone on the other, very cool place and trails.