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Facilities

Established Camping

Sunset Reef Campground

About

Bureau of Land Management

Sunset Reef Campground is a reclaimed well pad with 11 developed campsites; five RV spaces and six tent sites. Each site has a shaded picnic table, fire pit and grill for your camping convenience with a vault toilet on site. Visitors can dry camp at this campground for a maximum of five nights for free. If on the hunt for a great place to camp while exploring the two national parks in the area, this is the place to stay! Carlsbad Caverns is a 25-minute drive (14 miles) to the north and Guadalupe Mountains National Park is a 35-minute drive (30 miles) to the southwest. __

Fee Info

No fees.

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Location

Sunset Reef Campground is located in New Mexico

Detail location of campground

Directions

From Carlsbad, New Mexico head south on highway 62/180, after approximately 25 miles turn right at the large red Washington Ranch sign (between mile marker 10 and 11) onto Washington Ranch Road, be prepared to take the first right soon after accessing Washington Ranch Road, cross a cattle guard and continue on a dirt road for 0.7 miles.

Address

Carlsbad Field Office 620 E. Greene Street
Carlsbad, NM 88220

Coordinates

32.11958 N
104.43222 W

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Access

  • Drive-In
    Park next to your site

Stay Connected

  • WiFi
    Good
  • Verizon
    Good
  • AT&T
    Good
  • T-Mobile
    Good

Site Types

  • Tent Sites
  • RV Sites
  • Standard (Tent/RV)
  • Group
  • Tent Cabin

Features

For Campers

  • Trash
  • Toilets
  • Alcohol

For Vehicles

  • Sanitary Dump

Reviews

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4.5

out of 5

35 Reviews

Arthur M.The Dyrt PRO User
Reviewed May. 1, 2024

Nice free camping

Great free campsite between Carlsbad Caverns and Guadalupe Mountains National Parks. Just a mile from the road but perfectly quiet. Not the most private sites but they are new and clean (including the pit toilet)

Month of VisitMay
DThe Dyrt PRO User
Reviewed Apr. 30, 2024

Sunset Reef Campground (BLM)

Easily accessible to either Carlsbad Caverns NP or Guadalupe MTN NP and FREE and very good 4 bar Verizon service. The .5 mile drive in was a bit bumpy/washboard but level and hard packed so I'd think any vehicle could manage it, as there were many car campers. Very nicely done with 11 sites (5 pull thru RV and 6 car/tent) which we're overfilled by 6 p.m., although several folks parked by the fences without the shelter/table and stayed overnight. Signs notify that there are cameras/s monitoring activity so it was very quiet and felt safe.

Site1st pull in of 5
Month of VisitMay
  • Review photo of Sunset Reef Campground by Darlene , April 30, 2024
  • Review photo of Sunset Reef Campground by Darlene , April 30, 2024
rThe Dyrt PRO User
Reviewed Feb. 13, 2024

Great Camping Spot

Nice camping spot only about 5 miles from Carlsbad Caverns. The sites are nice and the vault toilet was very clean. I camped here in February and there was plenty of room. I got here around 5:30 PM.

Month of VisitMarch
  • Review photo of Sunset Reef Campground by rob D., February 13, 2024
  • Review photo of Sunset Reef Campground by rob D., February 13, 2024
  • Review photo of Sunset Reef Campground by rob D., February 13, 2024
  • (4) View All
Morgan A.
Reviewed Nov. 25, 2023

Great camp

Sunset reef is small and does fill up quickly as there is limited spots but you can always park on the outskirts of the corral like fencing and there’s still plenty of space. Luckily we had found and open spot and there were one or two others but filled up almost immediately. Covered picnic tables and fire rings as well as a charcoal grill were available at each site. There was one vaulted toilet and trash cans scattered around. I highly recommend this site if you can get a spot

Month of VisitDecember
JThe Dyrt PRO User
Reviewed Nov. 20, 2023

Nice and quiet. Plenty of room.

Stayed here one night. All the covered sites were taken. But there's plenty of parking around the perimeter. Restroom was very clean. Great night sky. Quiet.

Siteparked in overflow area around the perimeter
Month of VisitDecember
  • Review photo of Sunset Reef Campground by John C., November 20, 2023
HThe Dyrt PRO User
Reviewed Sep. 4, 2023

Perfect camp spot to hit both parks

This site was great. Super clean, free, has tent spots and also spots for vans/buses/rooftop tents, trailers. The sunset was BEAUTIFUL from the site. The stars were amazing as well. It is tucked back a little from the main road which was so nice. Nice and quiet.

Month of VisitOctober
  • Review photo of Sunset Reef Campground by Hailee S., September 4, 2023
  • Review photo of Sunset Reef Campground by Hailee S., September 4, 2023
  • Review photo of Sunset Reef Campground by Hailee S., September 4, 2023
KThe Dyrt PRO User
Reviewed Apr. 27, 2023

Small corral

Very small corral like campground. Fills up quickly even during off seasons. Plenty of people parking along the fence not at actual sites. One pit toilet.

SiteTent
Month of VisitMay
K
Reviewed Apr. 3, 2023

Nice spot for a night

We stayed there on a Friday night and there were 2-3 open spots with 3-4 campers that chose to stay around the edge. It’s a nice spot very close to Carlsbad caverns.

Month of VisitApril
M
Reviewed Mar. 23, 2023

Good but not great

Good spot that’s close to Carlsbad caverns and Guadalupe National park. There’s a pit toilet and a few spots with picnic tables and sun shades. It does get busy on the weekend. The bad part, the campground is just a big dirt corral with no privacy.

Month of VisitApril
DThe Dyrt PRO User
Reviewed Mar. 1, 2023

Clean and comfortable

Sunset Reef is great place to spend a night, or a few days exploring the area around Carlsbad. The 10 designated spots with canopies, picnic tables, grills, and fireplaces are top notched and the dry pit toilet is very clean. Additional parking places are available around the perimeter of the camp site, with room for another 10 or so campers if you don’t get there in time for a site with a canopy. There is almost no road noise from the adjacent highway. Hats off to the BLM Carlsbad Field Office for providing this great facility.

Month of VisitMarch
  • Review photo of Sunset Reef Campground by Doug C., March 1, 2023
  • Review photo of Sunset Reef Campground by Doug C., March 1, 2023
  • Review photo of Sunset Reef Campground by Doug C., March 1, 2023
N
Reviewed Jan. 27, 2023

Crowded Spot Near the National Parks

Only 20 minutes from Carlsbad Caverns NP and about 30 minutes from Carlsbad NM! Slaughter canyon trail is 20 minutes down the same road the campsite is on. This is a great spot off the highway. You can hear some noise throughout the night. Also, it can be noisy if neighbors are loud.

The area is a fenced-in level gravel lot with pit toilets, trash, picnic table sites, and tent sites. Each site has a grill and campfire area with a covered picnic table. Sites fill up quickly, but there are plenty of spots to park next to the fence. Easy to get here with any kind of camper (RV, trailer, ect). Views are great, and the area is maintained well.

The campground allows five consecutive nights of camping. Verizon service was good!

Month of VisitFebruary
  • Review photo of Sunset Reef Campground by Noah E., January 27, 2023
  • Review photo of Sunset Reef Campground by Noah E., January 27, 2023
  • Review photo of Sunset Reef Campground by Noah E., January 27, 2023
  • (5) View All
Aliza  N.The Dyrt PRO User
Reviewed Jan. 3, 2023

Nice dispersed site near Carlsbad Caverns

This site/sites are along a dirt road just off 62/180 a few miles north of the turn off to Carlsbad Caverns. There are three sites that are reachable with most any car and then a little rough patch after the third site makes it a bit more challenging to get to the rest of the sites (although they are lovely further along the road). See photos for rough road. Could be ok with careful driving and high clearance even if no 4WD but we didn’t try in our Chevy van. We stayed at the second site on the left (not counting the first pull off as you come onto the dirt road. Was a bit unlevel but we made it work with our blocks. Not a ton of privacy and some road noise but not too bothersome to us. There were several others camping here both of the nights we stayed around NYE. Everyone was quiet and respectful. Lovely stay and super convenient to the caves! Around 45 mins to Guadalupe from here.

Site2nd site
Month of VisitFebruary
  • Review photo of Sunset Reef Campground by Aliza  N., January 3, 2023
  • Review photo of Sunset Reef Campground by Aliza  N., January 3, 2023
  • Review photo of Sunset Reef Campground by Aliza  N., January 3, 2023
  • (6) View All
Zholi R.
Reviewed Oct. 29, 2022

Perfect Stop

This was a great hidden (free!) campground right in between Carlsbad Caverns and Guadalupe Mountains National Parks. There are few amentities, but it does have cabanas, picnic tables, grills, fire places, trash cans, and a toilet. Pro tip: there is water at the day use areas just further down the road. To find the campground, turn onto Washington Rd. and take your first right. There is no signage for the campground. In October, every site was filled by the end of the night.

Month of VisitNovember
  • Review photo of Sunset Reef Campground by Zholi R., October 29, 2022
Amy B.
Reviewed Jun. 11, 2022

Hidden campground

The campground currently does not have any signage but if you turn down the road for the cottonwood day use area and make a right on the dirt road, you will find it. Each tent site has a covered table on a cement slab, charcoal grill, and fire ring. There are also pull through spaces for RVs. There is a bathroom that was clean except for all of the flies from the toilet seat and door being left open. A great space in the middle of the desert!

Month of VisitJuly
  • Review photo of Sunset Reef Campground by Amy B., June 11, 2022
EThe Dyrt PRO User
Reviewed May. 31, 2022

Perfect spot

Stayed here 2 nights while exploring Carlsbad Caverns and Guadalupe Mountains. Was a very nice campground with shaded picnic tables, fire pits, and a fairly nice pit toilet with lots of toilet paper.

Month of VisitJune
SThe Dyrt PRO User
Reviewed Apr. 9, 2022

Great view

Easy access off of the highway. 6 designated RV sites. All were taken. We pulled up to the west edge and had fantastic views from Guadeloupe Peak to Carlsbad Caverns. 15 RVs spent the night while we were there.

SiteWeat Rail
Month of VisitMay
Aidan M.
Reviewed Apr. 2, 2022

Unreal.

Wow, what an unreal campground. The wife and I are on a road trip and this is our first time in NM, and thought this might be a good place to stop for a few days.

When you’re driving on NP Highway and see the big red sign on the side of the highway, then there. Then, take the next dirt road on the right and it’ll lead you to it.

It has about 10 spots with covered picnic tables and fire pits. It also has a vault toilet that is pretty nice all things considered (doesn’t smell).

The campground is behind a few hills so it’s out of sight from the highway and really quiet. It’s in view of both Guadalupe NP and Carlsbad NP. About 20-30 mins either way.

It got pretty windy at night for us, but it was unreal other than that.

HIGHLY recommend.

Month of VisitApril
  • Review photo of Sunset Reef Campground by Aidan M., April 2, 2022
  • Review photo of Sunset Reef Campground by Aidan M., April 2, 2022
  • Review photo of Sunset Reef Campground by Aidan M., April 2, 2022
  • (8) View All
Michael S.
Reviewed Mar. 21, 2022

Nice and quiet

Stopped here in march planned on 1 night stayed for 5 great location

Siterv
Month of VisitApril
Kate B.
Reviewed Feb. 11, 2022

Close by Carlsbad Caverns NP

Great free camping spot. As the name suggests, beautiful sunsets. Each spot has a BBQ grill, fire pit, picnic table, and covering. One pit toilet is available. 10 or 11 spots in total. Sign says to only camp in designated spots, but people parked on the sides too.

Close to National Parks Highway. Pass miles marker 11 going south on National Park highway and turn into Washington Ranch Road ( there’s a sign for picnic areas and an historical marker). Take the chest right and drive down dirt road to campsite. It is labeled at the end of the dirt road.

Spots full up quickly be for sunset.

Very close go Carlsbad Caverns NP and about 35 miles from Guadalupe Mountains NP.

Sitetent/non pull through site
Month of VisitMarch
  • Review photo of Sunset Reef Campground by Kate B., February 11, 2022
  • Review photo of Sunset Reef Campground by Kate B., February 11, 2022
GThe Dyrt PRO User
Reviewed Feb. 11, 2022

Easy and convenient

This location has some pull through spots for larger rigs and also smaller spaces for tents or cars. We had our skoolie in a pull through spot and could park our car next to it. It had a table, trash, and fire area. Very close to Carlsbad Caverns NP too.

SitePull Through
Month of VisitMarch
Abby M.The Dyrt PRO User
Reviewed Dec. 8, 2021

What an amazing spot

This place rocks. It’s perfectly placed between the Caverns NP and Guadalupe mountains NP. It’s free and has a clean vault toilet and trash cans. Right off the highway and tucked down a gravel road and very quiet at night. Sites are close together but everyone was respectful of quiet hours (7am-10pm) during my 2 night stay. There are five sites for you to pull through for larger rigs and then six camping sites. On the sign it states that you can’t stay unless you’re in an official site but others camped out along the rail which wasn’t an issue with me. Each site has a picnic cable that’s covered, grill and nice fire ring. Had good AT&T service and could work remotely. Definitely would recommend this place! I stayed Monday and Tuesday night and sites were filled both nights but people tend to filter out in the late morning so that’s the chance to snag a spot!

Month of VisitJanuary
  • Play button icon
  • Review photo of Sunset Reef Campground by Abby M., December 8, 2021
  • Review photo of Sunset Reef Campground by Abby M., December 8, 2021
  • (6) View All
Frankie
Reviewed Nov. 28, 2021

Great place, no size restrictions but limited spots.

The place is amazing. Awesome views.

The sign says only camping in designated spots, so no side camps.

There's 6 RV spots and 6 tent sites.

The road getting in is really rough. I did fine with my 32ft fifth wheel. I came in at 8mph. It's rough with embedded rocks.

Month of VisitDecember
  • Review photo of Sunset Reef Campground by Frankie , November 28, 2021
Alex F.
Reviewed Nov. 19, 2021

Beautiful new BLM

Open gravel lot easy to get to. Remote depending on the number of people. 10 or so spots with picnic tables, otherwise park where you can

Month of VisitDecember
Nancy B.
Reviewed Nov. 14, 2021

Small

Small with 5 RV sites and a few tent sites. Each RV site has a picnic table and a cover. Filled up quick. Quiet except a little road noise.

Month of VisitDecember
muj V.
Reviewed Nov. 1, 2021

Awesome level site with amenities

We got here as the bins were being emptied. Very well maintained. Each spot has a shaded picnic table and grill. Limited spots though, 6 RV sites and 6 tent sites. We got the last spot when we got here, so it can be full even on a weekday. RV sites are all pull-through.

Month of VisitDecember
C
Reviewed Oct. 22, 2021

Surprisingly good

Down a gravel road, so a bit hard to find. Google maps doesn't really get you there. A very nice campground with little road noise considering how close it is to the highway.

Month of VisitOctober
  • Review photo of Sunset Reef Campground by Cathy C., October 22, 2021
Karli B.The Dyrt PRO User
Reviewed Sep. 22, 2021

Perfect Spot

Traveling to California from Georgia and this is my favorite spot. Site has a picnic area with a covered table, fire pit, and grill for each spot. It’s also has an incredibly clean bathroom! I was worried that it’d be close to the road but it’s very secluded and safe. Definitely would come here again!

Month of VisitOctober
  • Review photo of Sunset Reef Campground by Karli B., September 22, 2021
  • Review photo of Sunset Reef Campground by Karli B., September 22, 2021
Ali A.The Dyrt PRO User
Reviewed Sep. 19, 2021

A perfect place to camp

No frills site with a few amenities. There are 11 shade spots with benches, bbq grill, fire pit, and trash bin each. There’s one toilet available. No water.

Month of VisitOctober
  • Review photo of Sunset Reef Campground by Ali A., September 19, 2021
  • Review photo of Sunset Reef Campground by Ali A., September 19, 2021
D
Reviewed Sep. 6, 2021

Fantastic!

Loved this spot. Had a few neighbors and felt very safe. Picnic tables, awnings and bathrooms! Will definitely stay here again someday.

Month of VisitOctober
  • Review photo of Sunset Reef Campground by Daniel D., September 6, 2021
  • Review photo of Sunset Reef Campground by Daniel D., September 6, 2021
Bethany R.The Dyrt PRO User
Reviewed Aug. 19, 2021

Free, clean & easy to find

This campsite had the cleanest outhouse I’ve ever seen at a campground! Spaces are close together and don’t offer much privacy at all so if that’s the goal for you I wouldn’t suggest this site. There’s 10 sites, 5 for tents 5 for cars, camper vans and rvs. It’s very easy to find once you turn off the highway it’s the first right, I missed it the first time and ended up driving all the way down the road but there’s no need for that, you can still see and hear the highway so if you can’t you went too far. I came on a Wednesday night around 6pm and there were already two people here and by the time the sunset 3 more campers showed up. Overall nice stay I decided on sleeping in my hammock so I could have the best view of the sunrise. The perfect place to stop after the 10 hour drive from Houston!! Oh there’s also cell service, I have at&t and I had 3 bars. Happy camping!:)

Month of VisitSeptember
  • Review photo of Sunset Reef Campground by Bethany R., August 19, 2021
  • Play button icon
  • Review photo of Sunset Reef Campground by Bethany R., August 19, 2021
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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the elevation of Sunset Reef Campground?

Sunset Reef Campground is located at 3591 feet.

Does Sunset Reef Campground have wifi?

No, according to campers on TheDyrt.com, Sunset Reef Campground does not have wifi.

Is there cell phone reception at Sunset Reef Campground?

According to campers on TheDyrt.com, Verizon signal is good, AT&T is good, and T-Mobile is good.