Another Option: New Mexico State Parks Annual Camping Pass
Its not free, but the New Mexico annual camping pass is still a heck of a deal.
For just $225 for out-of-staters , this pass allows you to camp at any of New Mexicos state parks for free for 12 months starting from the month of purchase.
Obviously, this isnt worth it if youre just passing through. But, if you live in the state and go camping regularly, its definitely worth thinking about.
Many full-time boondockers and vandwellers utilize this annual pass. New Mexico is one of the best places for fall, winter, and spring camping. Its not hard to see why its such a popular RV snowbirding destination.
Make New Mexico an affordable wintertime boondocking homebase by investing in this annual pass. Although its only good for dry campsites, you can pay just $4 extra per night for an electric hookup .
I know a lot of full-time boondockers who split their winters between New Mexico and Long Term Visitor Areas managed by the Bureau of Land Management in Arizona and Southern California.
Learn more about New Mexico State Parks Annual Camping Pass.
West Mesa Road Dispersed Camping Near Ruidoso
Located just southeast of Albuquerque, West Mesa Road dispersed camping is another gem. Its not far off of the highway, but far enough that it still feels private.
What really makes West Mesa one of the best free campsites in New Mexico, however, is easy access to nearby mountain biking and hiking trails.
There is also an equestrian campground just down the road where you can fill up with water and dump your tanks.
If that isnt enough, how about the fact that youre only about an hour away from Roswell, home of the International UFO Museum and Research Center. Get your space case on!
GPS coordinates: 33.517, -105.5153
Free Camping in New Mexico Vibes Score: 8.2/10 A great option near Albuquerque.
Organ Needles Monument The Patagonia Of The Southwest Us
Weve camped at the Organ Needles a couple of times, and still consider them one of our favorite areas. The Needles lie on BLM-maintained land near Las Cruces, New Mexico that boasts loads of free, dispersed camping, and the toughest hikes in the state. As an added bonus, theyre really close to the famous White Sands National Monument and missile range. Its easy to find the free campsites you just drive out of Las Cruces toward the Needles, and youll start seeing dirt BLM roads that you can pull off on. Theres also a BLM campground that you can stay at for $7 per night. Its right up against the Needles and has hiking trail access, so its worth spending a night or two there.
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Angel Peak Scenic Area
Location: Near Farmington
Free camping in New Mexico doesnt get much more scenic than Angel Peak Scenic Area.
Located just 45 minutes southeast of Farmington, this stunningly gorgeous slice of the state centers around towering Angel Peak and the surrounding badlands and canyons.
Unfortunately, I dont believe dispersed camping is allowed within the scenic area, even though its administered by the Bureau of Land Management.
No matter though the free Angel Peak Campground is a great alternative. Not only is camping here free for up to two weeks, but the campground is very clean and well-maintained. Each of the nine campsites has a picnic table and fire rings. Theres even a vault toilet here.
Angel Peak is an excellent place to stop for an overnight on your way to or from the Four Corners Monument. Its also a great place for boondocking in RVs and trailers of all sizes.
What I Like:
Angel Peak Scenic Area is, as the name describes, incredibly scenic. This is hands down one of the most beautiful places in New Mexico, in my opinion. The campground is small and each campsite is spaced quite far apart. Although you shouldnt expect solitude, camping here is a lot more private than you might expect from a BLM campground.
What I Dont Like:
Other Free Campsites Nearby:
The Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness Area is an alternative to Angel Peak. Its a little over an hour away and is notable for its badland scenery, especially its hoodoo formations.
For More Info:
Organ Mountain National Monument Nw Of Las Cruces
Management: Bureau of Land Management
Several small pull-off areas along the gravel roads that traverse BLM lands in the Monument. Didnt see another human being for more than a day, and not until I returned to paved road COO7. The road into this Las Cruces boondocking location is paved.
I stayed here a few nights ago my first night of a five month road trip. Several pull-outs available and as the person who submitted this spot said, there was no one out there. As a solo woman, that was a little freaky, but I am sure it was just because I need to get back into the swing of things and gain my confidence again. The stars at night were truly magnificent and the sunrise/sunset is killer. This was a great El Paso boondocking Location.
Dripping Springs Trail
Finished the hike in an hour and ten minutes after starting at 6:30 p.m., so if you go then, youll have plenty of time before sunset. A nighttime stroll was made pleasant by the very gentle ascent. The entire path is gravel, so take care while choosing footwear. The spring had gushing water because it rained yesterday and today.
Length: 3.0 mi
Management: Bureau of Land Management
Pine Tree Trail
Length: 4.6 mi
GPS: 32.323049, -106.904829
Management: Bureau of Land Management
Soledad Canyon Loop Trail
Length: 3.4 mi
Management: DOT Rest Area
Organ Needles Trail
Also Check: Camping World Credit Score Needed
Caja Del Rio Dispersed Camping
If youre looking for dispersed camping near Santa Fe, then the Caja should be high on your short list. Caja del Rio sits at a lower elevation compared to much of the surrounding National Forest so is a popular place to camp during the shoulder seasons. The map linked above brings you to the largest camping area, although there are many more opportunities if you venture further in.
Be warned, after rain or a lot of melting snow the dirt here turns to a think sludge than can stick even the burliest of tires!
The road to get here is easily passable for trailers and RVs, so this is a good option if youre traveling in a larger vehicle. There arent any facilities here so be sure to stock up on supplies before setting up camp. Given that Santa Fe is only 15 minutes away, you should have no problem finding everything you need for your trip.
Caja Del Rio Near Santa Fe
Looking for a great, wide-open spot that can fit anything from a tent to the biggest of the big rigs? And right outside of Santa Fe? Weve got you covered!
Caja Del Rio dispersed camping is part of the Santa Fe National Forest overseen by the U.S. Forest Service.
There are no amenities, but theres plenty of room to spread out. And if youre cranking the solar power, this spot is your jam when the sun is shining.
Just watch out for the directions from your GPS device. It may try to bring you in from the south, which you dont want to do. The best way to enter is from the north of the campsite. Only about 20-30 minutes away from town, its a great home base from which to explore Santa Fe.
GPS coordinates: 35.6891, -106.0942
Free Camping in New Mexico Vibes Score: 7.1/10 Try it out if youre traveling through Santa Fe.
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Eat The Best Crunchy Tacos In El Paso
John loves crunchy foods and was more than willing to eat one of the best tacos I had found in El Paso, Texas, when I told him about it. Tacos Antonia are a must-order item at Lucys Cafe West . It lived up to its reputation as one of El Pasos top crunchy tacos. John told me that he thought the first taco, which was stuffed with shredded beef, avocado, and cheese, was the nicest crunchy taco he had ever eaten. Our Google Maps now shows the restaurant as starred as well as every place to visit in this article, making it easier for us to remember it the next time we visit El Paso and to help you get to them as well.
Dog Canyon Dispersed Camping
Ideally located near White Sands National Park, Lincoln National Forest, and Las Cruces, Dog Canyon is a great BLM dispersed camping area in New Mexico. Youll take the road towards Oliver Lee Memorial State Park and the Oliver Lee developed campground to get here, and the camping area is located on the south side of the road before reaching the state park. This is BLM land, so dispersed camping is permitted, just dont pitch your tent too close to the developed campground.
There are no facilities at Dog Canyon, although you may be able to use the facilities at Oliver Lee. However, we wouldnt recommend counting on it since those are technically reserved for paid campers.
The views here are truly stunning and youll be treated to some incredible sunsets and sunrises at Dog Canyon. Do keep in mind that there is not water source so youll want to come prepared with all that youll need for your trip.
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How To Find Camping Spots On Blm Land
Finding campsites on BLM land can be confusing. How do you know who owns the land youre considering, or whether camping is allowed in an area? Fortunately, there are apps and resources to help you find an amazing BLM campsite.
Bureau of Land Management Website
The best information comes from the BLM itself. Search for camping areas on the BLMs website and maps.
Bureau of Land Management Field Offices
Ask managers at your local field offices about nearby camping areas. Managers can provide advice personalized to your experience and RV, as well as advise on current conditions. Field offices are great resources if youre not sure if the area youre considering is accessible to RVs. You can find an areas local field office on the BLM website.
This campground review website includes developed and dispersed BLM campsite listings that are popular among RVers. Each listing includes management information for the campgroundlook for BLM below the listing name. Members can overlay the BLM map in a search to easily identify which public camping is BLM-managed. Reviews provide information from fellow RVers about accessibility, cell phone signal, and other characteristics.
This review website lists free campsites and who manages them. Many of the listings are not accessible to RVs or vehicles. Read the reviews to determine if a site is reachable by RV.
Where To Find Blm Campgrounds
BLM public lands are primarily located in 12 western states. This map from the Bureau of Land Management shows areas managed by the agency. States with designated land include Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.
There are two types of BLM camping: developed and dispersed.
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Joe Skeen Dispersed Camping
The Joe Skeen Campground is located west of Albuquerque adjacent to the El Malpais National Monument on BLM land. This free campground features 10 campsites that all have picnic tables, a fire grill, and plenty of space for your tent. Although this isnt a typical dispersed campsite, it provides great access to the surrounding wilderness while also being easy to access for a variety or rigs.
This is the perfect place to camp before visiting El Malpais, but also makes a great stop for those on a longer road trip and youre just a short distance off of I-40 here.
Most of the campsites enjoy some decent privacy and all have access to a vault toilet. Overall, this is a great option for free camping in the region!
Dont Miss This Interstate 10 Rv Must See City
Las Cruces is the second largest city in New Mexico, and is home to unique attractions, one-of-a-kind shopping opportunities, and some amazing authentic Mexican food.
Visitors enjoy touring the remains of Fort Selden and then checking out the exhibits at the Las Cruces Museum of Art. You can even catch a classic movie at the states oldest theater, the Fountain Theater. It is just a short drive to White Sands National Monument, Missile Museum, and historic Old Mesilla, where legendary outlaw Billy the Kid was put on trial. There are a handful of wineries in the area attend a tasting a find a new favorite.
In addition, you can easily turn a trip to Las Cruces into a two-nation vacation by crossing the border into Mexico, which is only about forty miles away. Although Las Cruces is in the Sunbelt, temperatures can drop 30 degrees after the sun sets.
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The Ultimate Guide To Blm Camping With Your Rv
Bureau of Land Management land is home to epic campsites, but finding them can be intimidating. Experienced boondockers Jesse and Rachael Lyons share their tips for successful RV camping on BLM land.
Did you know that some of the most scenic and spacious campsites in the U.S. are free or budget-friendly? Those seeking a more natural and remote RV experience should try BLM camping. If youre unfamiliar with BLM, intimidated to camp on public lands, or looking for campsites to add to your bucket list, this guide to RV camping on BLM land shares it all.
BLM, or the Bureau of Land Management, is a federal agency under the U.S. Department of the Interior that oversees more than 247.3 million acres of land. Much of it is available to the public for camping.
RelatedThe Ultimate Guide to Boondocking
The agencys mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. While RVers primarily use the BLM lands allocated for camping, hiking, and recreation, thats only one way the Bureau of Land Management permits its public use. It can also be used for livestock grazing, conservation, mining, timber harvesting, cultural preservation, and energy production.
So, how can you respectfully use BLM land for camping and RVing? Lets find out.
Corralitos Road Dispersed Camping
GPS Coordinates: 32.26386184547268, -107.00893073338005
The next of our locations for free camping in New Mexico is less than 10 minutes west of the international airport. Its right off Interstate 10, which makes it ideal if you want to get through the city and find a place to crash before hitting the road early to continue your journey west.
The initial part of the camp is wide enough for large RVs to turn around, but you can get more privacy if you head a little further up the road. On the map, it appears this road continues for several miles north of the interstate, but its hard to know precisely what road conditions will be when you visit.
GPS Coordinates: 32.34434249672327, -106.61208271925942
The last of our camping locations for free camping near Las Cruces, New Mexico is another that doesnt provide amenities, and it might be one of the toughest to get to, besides Gap Tank. The dirt road spur that runs east and then parallels the main Baylor Canyon Road offers a few pull-out for free camping in New Mexico.
Most of the pull-outs are located towards the northern end of the spur. The spur can be accessed from the north or south, but going in from the north will offer the shortest drive on unpaved, and possibly unmaintained, road.
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Cosmic Campground Gila National Forest
The Gila National Forests remote settingfar from urban light pollutionmakes it a perfect place for stargazing. In January 2016, the International Dark-Sky Association named the Gilas Cosmic Campground the first Dark Sky Sanctuary in the U.S. Forest Service system. At this high-desert campground, the number of tent sitesfour, with a few more for RVscorresponds to the number of concrete pads where hobby astronomers can set up their telescopes for unrivaled views of the Milky Way. Even with the naked eye, you can enjoy heavenly views here the most prominent constellations are nearly lost in a sea of pinprick lights that remind us of our place in the universe. Check their website for more information on stargazing parties.
Getting there: 12 miles north of Glenwood, off NM 180. Info: Gila National Forest Glenwood Ranger District, 575-539-2481. Fee: Free
What People Are Saying About 4 Coachlight Inn & Rv Park
We stayed there about a month ago on our travels out west and were going to stay again on our way back to Florida. Professional very friendly and reasonable rates I wish the new owner all the best. Vena, Google Review
- 4. Coachlight Inn & RV Park
- 301 S Motel Blvd
- Las Cruces, New Mexico 88007
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Free Camping Near Las Cruces New Mexico
May 27, 2022 by Tucker Ballister |
*This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Please read our disclosure policy for more info.
Theres plenty of public land in New Mexico, and the dispersed camping is some of the best in the country. From national forests to BLM lands, you shouldnt have much trouble finding free camping spots. This guide will focus on a few of my favorite spots for free camping near Las Cruces, New Mexico.
This New Mexico city has long been a stop-over on my longer trips between Central Texas and the West Coast. With so much private land over the border in Texas, its one of the final places to find free camping before heading into the Lone Star state.
The Dyrt Pro Membership is a great way to find free campsites using map layers to see federal land owned by the Bureau of Land Management and National Forest Service. Membership here.