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Carson National Forest is northern New Mexico’s premier camping destination for good reason. This 1.5 million-acre forest offers stunning hikes, stellar fishing, and gorgeous nighttime skies.

The land is available for mixed recreational use, letting outdoor adventurers enjoy myriad activities year-round. The forest is home to lakes, rivers, and mountainous peaks. It’s the perfect destination for families, groups, and individuals.

The hardest part about Carson National Forest camping is choosing which site to stay at. Let our list of 7 incredible campsites in Carson National Forest make your decision easier.

Carson National Forest Camping


Hopewell Lake Campground

Image from The Dyrt camper Tyler G.

Between Tres Piedras and Tierra Amarilla, you’ll find Hopewell Lake. This man-made lake sits at nearly 10,000 feet and offers excellent fishing. The Hopewell Lake Campground gives campers convenient access to several trails within Carson National Forest.

You can hike or ride horses, and the campground offers horse corrals and water troughs. Aspen and conifer trees provide some shade for campsites, helping campers stay comfortable in the New Mexico heat.

“It’s a great place to camp. The scenery (is) beautiful. Great place to hike, bike, and ride ATVs.” – Michelle B.

Campground Details:

  • Price: $20
  • Number of sites: 32
  • RV sites: Yes
  • Fires allowed: Yes
  • Pets allowed: Yes

Trout Lakes Campground

Experience authentic nature at the Trout Lakes Campground in Carson National Forest. This campground offers 12 primitive campsites that are best suited for tent camping. You’ll need to be cautious if heading to this campground during wet weather. The roads are unpaved and extremely slick when wet.

Be prepared to pack out any trash, including any fish you harvest from the lake. If you’re prepared to camp with minimal amenities, you’ll be rewarded with a serene lake and excellent hiking trails.

“Overall a very secluded and quiet site and a great little escape!” – Kylie J.

Campground Details:

  • Price: Free
  • Number of sites: 12
  • RV sites: No
  • Fires allowed: Yes
  • Pets allowed: Yes

Lower Canjilon Lake Campground

Image from The Dyrt camper Mikki S.

You’ll be able to feast on tasty trout for dinner at Lower Canjilon Lake Campground. The lakes are stocked with fresh trout several times a year; all you need to do is catch them.

The lakes are great for kayaking, canoeing, or stand-up paddleboarding. If water sports aren’t for you, the campground offers easy access to the excellent hiking trails in Carson National Forest. The campground is rustic, with no drinking water available.

“Definitely a commitment to get to these spots, but you’ll be rewarded.” – Mikki S.

Campground Details:

  • Price: Free
  • Number of sites: 41
  • RV sites: Yes
  • Fires allowed: Yes
  • Pets allowed: Yes

Agua Piedra Campground

Image from The Dyrt camper Rebecca A.

Agua Piedra Campground is an oasis in the New Mexico desert. Nestled between Rio Puebla and Agua Piedra Creek in Carson National Forest, the campground is home to large trees and lush undergrowth. If you come during the right time of year, you’ll be surprised by just how green it is.
You’ll have easy access to hiking trails that lead to the stunning Serpent Lake and Cordova Canyon from the campground. The campground has great amenities and group shelters to accommodate large gatherings.

“This campground is a hidden jewel in the mountains on the north end of the Pecos Wilderness.” – Robin T.

Campground Details:

  • Price: $20-125
  • Number of sites: 44
  • RV sites: Yes
  • Fires allowed: Yes
  • Pets allowed: Yes

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Fawn Lakes Campground

Image from The Dyrt camper Brittany S.

You’ll have easy access to groceries, restaurants, and other city amenities when you stay at the Fawn Lakes Campground. Located just three miles out of town, you’ll still enjoy the peace and quiet you expect when going camping in Carson National Forest.

The campground has a large number of amenities for a national forest site. Several hiking trails run right through camp, adding to the overall convenience of this site. A river and two small lakes are near the campground, perfect spots to cool off or get in some quality fishing time.

“This is a great spacious campground in the Carson National Forest near the Questa ranger station.” – Brittany S.

Campground Details:

  • Price: $20-25
  • Number of sites: 22
  • RV sites: Yes
  • Fires allowed: Yes
  • Pets allowed: Yes

Cuchillo Campground

Image from The Dyrt camper Jason A.

A pleasant dispersed campground located on the way to Taos Ski Resort, Cuchillo Campground offers riverfront campsites for RVs. What it lacks in amenities, it makes up for in charm. The site doesn’t have any drinking water, so you’ll need to pack in your own supply.

Enjoy easy access to hiking and biking from this campground, located in the heart of Carson National Forest. The campground is only open for the summer months and is located at 7,800 feet elevation.

“Awesome campground on the road up to Taos Ski Resort. Tons of hiking/biking access” – Max B.

Campground Details:

  • Price: Free
  • Number of sites: 3
  • RV sites: Yes
  • Fires allowed: Yes
  • Pets allowed: Yes

Twining Campground

Prepare for your Mount Wheeler summit hike by staying halfway up the mountain. The Twining Campground is small but offers campers easy access to the Rio Hondo and Wheeler Peak trailheads. The nearby river offers fishing opportunities for those who enjoy trout.

There are no amenities at this campsite, so it’s recommended for RV campers who can bring everything they need with them. Sites are available on a first-come, first-served basis. The campground is less popular than other sites, so it’s relatively easy to snag a spot.

“Close to bull of the woods trailhead and a peaceful brook in campground” – Jennifer G.

Campground Details:

  • Price: Free
  • Number of sites: 4
  • RV sites: Yes
  • Fires allowed: Yes
  • Pets allowed: Yes

New Mexico has so much more to offer than these seven incredible camping sites. So, before you visit, make sure to check out more options on The Dyrt’s full list of amazing Carson National Forest camping spots.

 

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