New Mexico trip advice

We're driving from Denver down to El Paso for a trail running race this Wednesday. I'm looking for two places to camp for the night in between. Thought we'd make it to the Los Alamos/ Santa Fe area for the first night, then after that just somewhere between SF and El Paso.

Prefer a scenic location, somewhat secluded, no fee. Something like BLM or National Forest land would be great.

Thanks!
 

GSWatson

2013 144
I was just in SF a couple of weeks ago; I camped in the SP (on the right going uphill, can’t remember the name) lot just up the road from the Ten Thousand Waves Japanese spa. It says no overnight, but I spent two nights (fri & sat), and had no problems. I highly recommend visiting the spa and then just driving up the road. The spa is awesome; $26 I think it is for a pass, tubs, foot bath, quiet room, tea, hot chocolate... and the food at the restaurant is fantastic!


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 

avanti

2014 GWV Legend 3500 I4
Drive up to Los Alamos and visit the place where the end of the world started. Then continue up into the Jamez Mountains toward Jamez Springs. It is one of the world's great drives. Visit Bandelier National Monument and Valles Caldera National Preserve. Between Valles and Jamez Springs there are several gorgeous National Forest campgrounds (small fee). I'm sure there are also places where you can do dispersed camping for free, but we've never done that here. It is worth the drive all the way to quirky little Jamez Springs. Take in a spa soak, or better yet hike up to one of the "secret" free hot springs up in the mountains on the left before you get to Jamez Springs. There are National Forest parking areas and trails up to several of them. As you enter Jamez Springs, stop at Jemez Historic Site and tour the ruins. Then you can continue along Route 4 to Tent Rocks National Monument and on to ABQ.

Yes, I realize I just described a 3 day trip, but when you get there, you will not want to leave.
 
Last edited:

Midwestdrifter

Engineer In Residence
Yes, I realize I just described a 3 day trip, but when you get there, you will not want to leave.
I know right? People ask for advice, and I forget not everyone has a week to travel 800 miles!

Beautiful area btw, hard to beat in that region.
 

Jaydelbert

New member
If you hop off 1-25 right past Santa Fe onto highway 14 (the Turquoise Trail) there’s numerous sites to see and numerous free places for camping. I’m in Cedar Crest which has BLM, great trails, restaurants, brewery. You can take back roads all the way back around to I-25 or just loop back on I-40.
 

sethlp

2006 2500 140 HT 263k
Hi thought I'd tag on this thread
Doing NM dec-Jan. Looking for winter friendly spots, no 4x4 unfortunately. Have planed to go to white sands from the Sequoias in CA then go north NM then back to CA. Have about 10 days.
 

sprint2freedom

2008 NCV3 170ext
Be prepared for anything and everything in NM to be closed for covid.

I was going through there this summer and it was a bit of a ghost town. The closures included stuff a reasonable person wouldn't necessarily expect: highway rest areas (offramps themselves was coned off, not the just the bathroom building), and a state highway that merely passed through the Zuni reservation was closed. The BLM even closed places like a gravel parking lot in the middle of nowhere to overnight parking, although there was no enforcement. And for a period of time, all freeway exits to the city of Gallup were closed:

Until recently, NM state parks were open only to NM residents (even for day use) but as of yesterday I believe they are closed to everyone. I'd expect a repeat of the above measures, if not stricter ones, given the current situation.
 

gltrimble

Well-known member
Hi thought I'd tag on this thread
Doing NM dec-Jan. Looking for winter friendly spots, no 4x4 unfortunately. Have planed to go to white sands from the Sequoias in CA then go north NM then back to CA. Have about 10 days.
Just returned from a trip thru the El Paso area on our way to Big Bend and Austin. We camped at Franklin Mountain State Park in Texas just north of El Paso in order to visit White Sands National Park. We also checked out a very nice campground East of Las Cruces called Aguirre Springs. It is a National campground so not subject to the New Mexico State rules when we were there. And it is closer to White Sands. Only problem is it is a first come campground which may work if you arrive on a weekday. Franklin Mountain accepts reservations. There are only five “RV” sites but a number of camping sites. The camping sites will accommodate a Sprinter and are the better choice compared to the RV sites. The best camping sites at Franklin, three of them, are high up the mountain and do require a 4x4.

7555CF75-4A3C-4EEA-AF6B-A6C5EA98D151.jpeg
 
Last edited:

sethlp

2006 2500 140 HT 263k
Thanks for recommendation, and warning.
See what happens by the new year. Kind of a risky time to travel as I could see national parks being unpredictable. Just got back from Lassen in Norcal and thought it was easy enough to stay safe except the non mask wearing small grocery store I had to bypass. Was hoping for more of the same.
 

sprint2freedom

2008 NCV3 170ext
I think it's very possible to travel now, just keep in mind that stuff is likely to be closed and be prepared to be as self-sufficient as possible.

If you were, for example, planning to overnight at a rest area or going hiking at a state park.. you may be in for a rude surprise.

It's not just a State of New Mexico problem. At least this past spring, BLM and the Forest Service joined in by closing down campgrounds and developed recreation sites. While it's my sincere hope that this doesn't happen again, I'm torn as I also hate to see the kind of trash and abuse some areas received from bored members of the public that wouldn't normally be visiting.
 

sethlp

2006 2500 140 HT 263k
I live fairly close to the coast and the numbers this summer were insane. What also was insane was the amount of mask and garbage i find on my local areas. I don't understand people going into nature to trash it.
 

Top Bottom