The high wall, needle-like spires of the Organ Mountains curve dramatically around a semicircle of Chihuahuan Desert habitat at the Aguirre Spring Campground. The campground, nestled at the base of spectacular cliffs, overlooks the Tularosa Basin and White Sands National Monument. Alligator juniper, gray oak, mountain mahogany and sotol are a few of the abundant plant species here. Seasonal springs and streams occur in the canyon bottoms, with a few perennial springs that support riparian habitats.
The desert was pretty hot and I was wishing I'd set up camp near Cloudcroft. After passing white sands I saw the sign and thought, "check it out". Glad I did. Nice windy road climbs up to a great campground with plenty of trees and views of the peaks above and desert below.
There is no water in the CG, but its available at the entrance, so take a gallon or two in with you.
I stayed on a Saturday night and it was loud. Kids and dogs.
I had a short stay (one night) but the views were awesome. At night I could see so many stars, and in the morning I could see all the way across the Tularosa Basin to Lincoln National Forest, probably 80 miles away! The sunrise was awesome! I could easily see White Sands National Monument in the distance.
Most people do not plan a vacation stop just to check out a Military Base, in fact usually that isn't something that is an option, but when I found out that the base located nearby is actually the test site for many of the warheads used today and there was in fact a museum here, I had to at least try to see it.
I found that Aguirre Spring Campground was literally at the footprint of the road to the base so it was perfect.
When I arrived I had no idea that the mountains would be so breathtaking. It is strange how they jut up different than anything else in the area and for this perfect setting for watching the world around you. The view of the area itself was worth more than the $7 fee for camping here.
So what about the facility though? I mean what can you get for $7?
Well it is pretty basic, a pit toilet, picnic tables and fire rings. It is also pretty small but spaces seem to feel comfortable despite the size of the facility probably because you don't have a lot of neighbors.
While you can see the traffic for the Holloman Air Force Base it doesn't fully allow you to see the base itself and instead you have to take the drive down the road which makes you realize that while camping here you are in fact monitored well. They have lots of signs telling you to stay on roadways because of active sites and also that there are drones monitoring the area. So while this might seem remote you are in fact probably at one of the more supervised campsites in the nation and just don't realize it.
We took a risk in trying to go see the museum, not knowing what exactly that would entail and it wasn't to hard actually, that is if you don't mind having a DOD check at the gate which takes about 15 minutes on a good day. Of course not having anything to worry about on our records we quickly passed and were allowed a permit to the museum which is on base, you do have to carry your credentials with you as you walk around however. We did see someone get turned away while we were there so not everyone is allowed access.
- If you are wanting to stay here and see the base make sure you have a valid license otherwise you will be immediately turned away from the base.
- When camping here there is a strict nightly curfew for closure which has been implemented and they do close the gate so make sure you are set before 6 p.m. I am not fully sure why this exists but I am sure it has something to do with the base nearby.
Very affordable campground with beautiful views. Located close to White Sands and campground has beautiful trails. Plenty of sites available. They are first come first serve. Each site has a picnic table, awning, tent pad and fire pit.
Campsite is decent, bathroom and water is available. Good place to stay to prepare if you plan to hike the organ needle such as we did. Gate to enter park closes at 6 and does not grant access in until 8 the next morning.
The Organ Mountains are breathtaking. The campground has basic amenities, but found some lack of maintenance on our last visit (overflowing trash bins, tons of litter). Also, there is a gate that is closed absurdly early, as our friends who were planning to meet us learned. They arrived at 6 PM to be turned away by the host, who didn't want to open the gate. I hope this situation has been resolved, because this is overall a nice place to camp.