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People
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Camping

Free Camping Collection

Established Camping

Water Canyon Campground

About

National Forest

Cibola National Forest and Grasslands

This campground is located at an elevation of 6,800 feet in the Magdalena Mountains.

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Location

Water Canyon Campground is located in Texas

Detail location of campground

Coordinates

34.025466 N
107.132365 W

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Get reservations at sold-out campgrounds.

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Access

  • Drive-In
    Park next to your site
  • Walk-In
    Park in a lot, walk to your site.

Stay Connected

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

Site Types

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

Features

For Campers

  • Trash
  • Toilets
  • Alcohol

For Vehicles

  • Big Rig Friendly

Reviews

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5 Stars

4 Stars

3 Stars

2 Stars

1 Star

46%
46%
10%
0%
0%

4.5

out of 5

11 Reviews

Patrick B.
Reviewed Oct. 16, 2022

Can't beat the price (for now)

You don't often find free developed camping at the end of a paved road in New Mexico, but Water Canyon is one of those exceptions.  It seems to be one of those spots that people don't take the time to get off the highway to explore -- on a weekday in July there was only one other campsite occupied.

There are about a dozen campsites, vault toilets, trash cans, a group campsite at the bottom of the hill and easy access to some great hiking trails, all about ten minutes outside of Socorro and an hour from Albuquerque.

While the campground is free for now, I did see some notices posted about the Forest Service taking public comment on levying a $10 per night fee per site.

Month of VisitAugust
  • Review photo of Water Canyon Campground by Patrick B., October 16, 2022
I
Reviewed Jun. 19, 2022

Beautiful Canyon, simple free camping

Beautiful Canyon with a handful of free camping spots. Fire pits, picnic tables, and bathrooms (pretty clean for late June).

There’s a group camping section with a large gazebo and a number of picnic tables, but it was closed when we were here.

No cell reception (Verizon & TMobile). No water so bring your own.

Please practice LNT.

Month of VisitJuly
  • Review photo of Water Canyon Campground by Ikela M., June 19, 2022
  • Review photo of Water Canyon Campground by Ikela M., June 19, 2022
  • Review photo of Water Canyon Campground by Ikela M., June 19, 2022
  • (8) View All
Robin T.
Reviewed Mar. 30, 2022

Free campground

Nice basic campground, several vault toilets that are clean.  Road access is pretty rough and it is easy to miss the campground turnoff!  We missed it the first time.  The campground is up a hill on a side road across from the Water Canyon Campground sign.  Sites are pretty basic, not all area level but they do have tables and fire pits.  I wouldn't take a camping trailer up that road, it is very bumpy.  

We only stayed for a day but it was quiet.  Lots of hiking trails there which is the only reason we would return.

Month of VisitApril
  • Review photo of Water Canyon Campground by Robin T., March 30, 2022
  • Review photo of Water Canyon Campground by Robin T., March 30, 2022
  • Review photo of Water Canyon Campground by Robin T., March 30, 2022
  • (12) View All
D
Reviewed Sep. 7, 2021

Amazing

Beautiful views, established campsite, bathrooms, amazing stars at night. Highly recommend!

Month of VisitOctober
  • Review photo of Water Canyon Campground by Daniel D., September 7, 2021
  • Review photo of Water Canyon Campground by Daniel D., September 7, 2021
Jacob S.
Reviewed Jun. 6, 2021

Nice & Scenic

Campsites are well-developed and maintained. The facilities were clean and stocked with tp. Was only half-full on weekend. Many beautiful trails and forest roads nearby.

Month of VisitJuly
  • Review photo of Water Canyon Campground by Jacob S., June 6, 2021
Laura M.The Dyrt PRO User
Reviewed Nov. 20, 2020

Free for 2 More Years!

We loved this place. Attempted at first to camp at The Box down the road but it was really crowded so we came here and what a great choice! 

This is a FREE campground but plans are in the works to started charging in 2 years at $10/night. There are gravel tent and parking pads, picnic tables, fire rings, pit toilets and garbage.

When you first pull in there is a narrow opening to a rocky dirt road straight ahead and to the left is a day use picnic area. The sign at the beginning of the dirt road said trailers not advisable but one came down before we started up so we went for it. We have a 26 foot class C. Dirt road driving experience necessary. The road is quite narrow, rocky and has a couple washouts and tight turns but not impossible to navigate....use your best judgement! 

There were only a couple of other campers and the views are very nice. Some sites are close together however. There are pit toilets and garbage at the beginning of the campground and at the end loop. 

Great hiking area too! Further down the road where it says "no turn around" is a group site but the gate is locked and you'll need to contact National Forest Service if you want to use this area. 

There is no drinking water or cell reception from AT&T or Verizon. Pets allowed on a leash. Also there are free roaming cattle we saw on the main road in but none in the campground though there was poop evidence that they've been around. 

Along the dirt road hiking trails near the campground people have made other camping areas with rock fire pits. The roads to these areas are narrow and 4WD necessary.

Month of VisitDecember
  • Review photo of Water Canyon Campground by Laura M., November 20, 2020
  • Review photo of Water Canyon Campground by Laura M., November 20, 2020
  • Review photo of Water Canyon Campground by Laura M., November 20, 2020
  • (15) View All
J
Reviewed Aug. 19, 2020

A solid stop

Every year, we drive from Texas to Apache National Forest. Cibola is halfway. Every year, we make sure to stay the night at Water Canyon. First: the views. Secondly, the amenities. A level spot, with a fire ring, table and maintained vault toilets for $0. The most spacious spots are the first two, after that a six man tent is the largest tent you’ll fit on a level spot. We have never really explored further than our camp site, as our children are small and out number us. But for 12-36 hours, it is a beautiful stay that includes campfires, lizards and the occasional equestrian that lets our kids treat their horses. Treasured memories, unplugged and free.

  • Review photo of Water Canyon Campground by Jacqueline C., August 19, 2020
  • Review photo of Water Canyon Campground by Jacqueline C., August 19, 2020
Nathan M.
Reviewed Apr. 12, 2020

Better sites up the road

Campground itself was closed due to the Covid-19 stuff going on. Decided to drive into the mountains more instead of turning right into the campground, and didn’t regret it. Took us out to copper trail 10 and there were 4-5 sites with fire rings already there. Beautiful area in the valley, and old copper mines all around.

  • Review photo of Water Canyon Campground by Nathan M., April 12, 2020
  • Review photo of Water Canyon Campground by Nathan M., April 12, 2020
  • Review photo of Water Canyon Campground by Nathan M., April 12, 2020
  • (4) View All
C
Reviewed Mar. 2, 2019

Pleasant place, strange people

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).

Month of VisitMarch
  • Review photo of Water Canyon Campground by Chloe H., March 2, 2019
L
Reviewed Nov. 25, 2018

Rustic silence

Bathrooms but no showers. No water. Great campground. Beautiful view of rock faces across the canyon

Leah W.
Reviewed Jul. 23, 2017

Great sites... sketchy visitors

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!

Month of VisitMay
  • Review photo of Water Canyon Campground by Leah W., July 23, 2017
  • Review photo of Water Canyon Campground by Leah W., July 23, 2017
  • Review photo of Water Canyon Campground by Leah W., July 23, 2017

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Water Canyon Campground have wifi?

No, according to campers on TheDyrt.com, Water Canyon Campground does not have wifi.

Is there cell phone reception at Water Canyon Campground?

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