There is so much more to New Mexico than just miles of desert and mountains. Encompassing the Chihuahuan Desert and the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, the southwestern U.S. state also boasts some of the country’s most striking landscapes ranging from rolling dunes, deep canyons, and vast, star-studded night skies. Due to this spectacular terrain, camping in New Mexico is fantastic, with a vast array of great spots from the 200,000 acres of canyon wilderness in the Santa Fe National Forest to the White Sands National Monument, and the Petroglyph National monument. So pack your bags and head to one of these campgrounds and spend the night under the stars.

1. Aguirre Spring Campground

Aguirre Spring Campground
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Nestled at the base of spectacular soaring cliffs on the east side of Organ Mountains with beautiful views over Tularosa Basin and White Sands National Monument, the Aguirre Spring Campground features 57 first-come, first-served individual campsites, two group sites, a horse corral. Sites have picnic tables and fire rings, and pit toilets are available, however, there is no potable water. Surrounded by the high, needle-like spires of the Organ Mountains and offering breathtaking views from every angle, the campground provides activities such as hiking on the Baylor Canyon and Pine Tree Trailheads, horseback riding, mountain biking, and wildlife watching.

15000 Aguirre Spring Road, Organ, NM 88052

2. Angel Peak Scenic Area

Angel Peak Scenic Area
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The Angel Peak Scenic Area is a recreation area managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) that is home to over 10,000 acres of rugged terrain, deep canyons, colorful badlands, and the almost 7,000-foot Angel Peak. Located about south of Bloomfield in San Juan County, the Angel Peak Scenic Area has a campground and three picnic areas along the canyon rim overlooking Angel Peak with nine sites available for tent camping, with picnic tables on concrete pads, gravel pathways, and fire grills. No electrical hookups or water is available, and Angel Peak is subject to seasonal extremes, and visitors should be prepared for changing weather.

Bloomfield, NM 87413, Phone: 505-564-7600

3. Cherry Creek Campground, NM

Cherry Creek Campground, NM
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Located in a beautifully picturesque part of the Trail of the Mountain Spirits By-Way, Cherry Creek Campground is a flat, gently sloping site surrounded by dense mixed conifer trees, golden aspens, rusty oaks, and bright red sumac. The seasonal campground is situated 14 miles north of Silver City on the East side of State Highway 15 and features 12 sites for tents and RVs with picnic tables, grills, and restrooms with flushing toilets. Campfires are allowed, and firewood can be purchased in Silver City, and pets are allowed in the campground.

NM-15, Silver City, NM 88061, Phone: 575-388-8201

4. Cibola National Forest

Cibola National Forest
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Spanning more than 1.6 million acres, the Cibola National Forest is National Forest in New Mexico with elevations of over 11,000 feet. Named after the original Zuni Indian name for their tribal lands, the Cibola National Forest is divided into four wilderness areas, namely, Apache Kid, Manzano Mountain, Sandia Mountain, and Withington. The forest also has four ranger districts, namely Mountainair, Magdalena, Sandia, and Mt. Taylor, and offers a variety of camping options from tent and RV camping to group and dispersed camping with over 30 campgrounds from which to choose.

Albuquerque, NM 87113

5. Cimarron Canyon State Park

Cimarron Canyon State Park
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Located three miles east of Eagle Nest in the 33,116-acre Colin Neblett Wildlife Area, Cimarron Canyon State Park is home to picturesque landscapes of soaring palisade cliffs and glistening rivers and streams. Extending for eight miles Tolby Creek and Ute Park along the Cimarron Canyon, the park features three developed day-use areas and campgrounds offering numerous individual sites for RV or tent camping, full restrooms with flushing toilets and potable water, however, no electricity. The park also has a newly constructed visitor's center, several hiking trails for year-round use, which boast lovely views of waterfalls along the way.

28869 US-64, Eagle Nest, NM 87718, Phone: 575-377-6271

6. City of Rocks State Park

City of Rocks State Park
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City of Rocks State Park is famous for its massive sculptured rock formations and clusters of monolithic volcanic rocks that can be found in the middle of the Chihuahuan Desert, some of which are over 50 feet tall. Located near Deming, the eponymously named park has 52 developed campsites with camping for tents and RVs, full restrooms with flushing toilets and potable water, and a beautiful botanical garden filled with cacti and other local fauna. The park is also renowned for being an excellent star-gazing spot with vast night skies full of stars, which can be observed at the new Star Observatory.

327 New Mexico 61, Faywood, NM 88034, Phone: 575-536-2800

7. Columbine Campground

Columbine Campground
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Located between Questa and Red River in the Columbine-Hondo Wilderness area, the Columbine Campground rests at an elevation of 7,900 feet and is surrounded by spectacular natural scenery. The two-loop campground offers 26 single tent and RV sites, potable water, and vault toilets, and each site has a picnic table, a tent pad, and a fire ring and grill. Recreational activities in and around the campground include hiking on over 14 miles of trails, including the Columbine Twining hiking trail, which leads into the Columbine-Hondo Wilderness area. Other activities include fishing in the Red River and wildlife viewing.

2987 Bald Mountain Rd, Central City, CO 80427

8. Cosmic Campground

Cosmic Campground
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The Cosmic Campground is a 3.5-acre campsite in the Gila National Forest of western New Mexico that is famous for being one of the darkest parts of the country at night, offering spectacular unobstructed 360°night sky views. Situated between the Gila Wilderness and the Blue Range Primitive Area, the campground features basic camping options such as four pull-through sites for RVs and vault toilets, as well as four telescope pads. There is no electricity or water, and campers need to bring all the essentials needed. The Cosmic Campground is an International Dark Sky Sanctuary and the first of its kind in the northern hemisphere.

Glenwood, NM 88039, Phone: 575-388-8201

9. Navajo Lake State Park Cottonwood Campground

Navajo Lake State Park Cottonwood Campground
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Navajo Lake State Park is made up of three recreation areas, including the well-developed Pine River area, which features a visitor center with interpretive exhibits, several campgrounds, a day-use area, and a full-service marina. The Cottonwood Campground can be found in the San Juan River area below the dam, which is world-renowned for excellent trout fishing and boasts seven day-use areas and several hiking trails. The Cottonwood Campground features individual sites for RV or tent camping, full restrooms with flushing toilets and potable water, electricity, and cable hookups, and a dump station. Pets are allowed, and activities in the area include hiking, mountain biking, fishing, swimming, and kayaking on the San Juan River.

Navajo Dam, NM 87419, Phone: 505-632-2278

10. Datil Well Campground

Datil Well Campground
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The Datil Well Campground is located about a mile west of Datil and is managed by the Bureau of Land Management. A scenic and popular picnicking and camping area, this campground has 22 individual campsites as well as a group shelter for large gatherings, many of which are covered for shade. All sites have fire pits, grills, picnic tables, and access to drinking water, firewood and restrooms with showers are provided. Activities include hiking, mountain biking, wildlife watching and visiting an old water well that was once set along the historic Magdalena Livestock Driveway.

Datil, NM 87821, Phone: 575-835-0412

11. Elephant Rock Campground

Elephant Rock Campground
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Elephant Rock Campground rests at 8,400 feet above sea level next to the Red River and offers access to the river, which is well-stocked for fishing and the nearby Eagle Rock Lake. The single loop campground features 20 individual sites, potable water, and vault toilets, and each site has a tent pad, picnic table, and fire ring with grill. The campground meanders up a hillside with several sites tucked in among a mixture of aspen, fir, pine and spruce trees, and other with stone terracing. Recreational activities in and around the campground range from water-based fun in the Red River to hiking the Fawn Lakes Trail, which is located three miles east of Elephant Rock Campground.

NM-38, Red River, NM 87558, Phone: 575-586-0520

12. Gallo Campground

Gallo Campground
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Tucked among the fallen boulders and cliffs of Gallo Wash within the Chaco Culture National Historical Park, Gallo Campground offers remote camping in a rugged high desert landscape. The campground has 48 individual campsites, one of which is handicapped accessible, and each campsite has a picnic table and a fire grate. There are two tent-only group campsites available for up to 30 people, and the campground has restroom facilities with flushing toilets. A visitor center is located one mile from the Gallo Campground, however, there are no showers, hookups, or food services, and no cell phone services.

1808 County Road 7950, Nageezi, NM 87037, Phone: 505-786-7014

13. Gila National Forest

Gila National Forest
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New Mexico’s Gila National Forest boasts 3.3 million acres of densely forested hills, majestic mountains, and rolling rangeland and was designated the world's first wilderness area in 1924. The treasure of the Southwest is home to a diverse range of fauna and flora, including the Mexican spotted owl and western yellow-billed cuckoo, and offers a wealth of year-round outdoor recreational activities, including hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, picnicking, and camping. The Gila National Forest offers a variety of pristine camping areas from lakeside to forested, and primitive to developed. Primitive campsites provide only a toilet, while the more developed campgrounds offer electrical hookups for RV or trailer camping.

Silver City, NM 88061, Phone: 575-388-8201

14. Heron Lake State Park

Heron Lake State Park
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Heron Lake State Park is a scenic recreational area surrounding the large Heron Lake that offers a wide range of outdoor recreational activities from camping and hiking to sailing, swimming, and fishing. Located in Rio Arriba County, the picturesque Heron Lake State Park has several well-placed campgrounds lining the shores of the lake that offer both primitive and developed camping options for tents and RVs. Campgrounds have restrooms with showers, hot and cold water, flushing toilets and washing sinks, and dump stations are available.

Los Ojos, NM 87551, Phone: 575-588-7470

15. Hyde Memorial State Park

Hyde Memorial State Park
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Hyde Memorial State Park is located eight miles northeast of Santa Fe in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and offers year-round recreational fun such as camping and hiking in the summer and snow tubing and skiing in the winter. Situated right next to the Black Canyon and the trailhead for the Hyde Park Loop, the campground in the park is popular with hiker and adventurers and offers individual sites for RV or tent camping, full restrooms with flushing toilets and potable water, electricity and cable hookups and a dump station. The park has a playground for children and is open year-round.

740 Hyde Park Rd, Santa Fe, NM 87501, Phone: 505-983-7175

16. Jemez Falls Campground

Jemez Falls Campground
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Set within a beautiful Ponderosa Pine and forest meadow landscape in the heart of the Jemez National Recreation Area, Jemez Falls Campground offers a beautiful place to kick back and relax. The primitive campground features 51 overnight tent and RV/trailer campsites (no RV hook-ups) with paved access, vault toilets, and drinking water from spigots conveniently located throughout the campground. Recreational activities in and around the park include hiking, fishing, nature viewing, and outdoor photography. Natural features in the park include the East Fork Jemez Wild and Scenic River and Jemez Falls, which is a half-mile hike from the campground.

Jemez Springs, NM 87025, Phone: 505-438-5300

17. June Bug Campground

June Bug Campground
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Junebug Campground is a family-friendly roadside campground near the historic Red River mining area and downhill ski resort that is ideal for fishing in the Red River. The campground features 20 sites for tents and RVs/trailers with potable water nearby, picnic tables and fire rings with grills, restrooms with flushing toilets, and a dump station.

Red River, NM 87558, Phone: 575-586-0520

18. Morphy Lake State Park

Morphy Lake State Park
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Nestled in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, the Morphy Lake State Park is a small, 30-acre park at the edge of the Pecos Wilderness that rests at an elevation of 8,000 feet and surround the hidden Morphy Lake. Located seven miles southwest of Mora, the park is popular for camping, fishing, and picnicking, however, there is no running water, so visitors must bring their own. There is seasonal primitive camping for tents and RVs and restrooms with vault toilets and an array of outdoor activities to enjoy like fishing for trout and kokanee salmon in the well-stocked lake, canoeing, and picnicking.

Mile Marker 17Mora, NM 87045, Phone: 575-387-2328

19. Navajo Lake State Park

Navajo Lake State Park
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Navajo Lake State Park is made up of three recreation areas, including the well-developed Pine River area, which features a visitor center with interpretive exhibits, several campgrounds, a day-use area, and a full-service marina. The Cottonwood Campground can be found in the San Juan River area below the dam, which is world-renowned for excellent trout fishing and boasts seven day-use areas and several hiking trails. The Cottonwood Campground features individual sites for RV or tent camping, full restrooms with flushing toilets and potable water, electricity, and cable hookups, and a dump station. Pets are allowed, and activities in the area include hiking, mountain biking, fishing, swimming, and kayaking on the San Juan River.

Navajo Dam, NM 87419, Phone: 505-632-2278

20. Rio Bravo Campground

Rio Bravo Campground
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Based on the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument, the Rio Bravo Campground is one of several campgrounds in the area that offer a cool shady spot to spend a few days. Managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the campground is located north of the tiny town of Pilar in the Rio Grande gorge and features individual sites for tents and RVs, including a few electric and water hookup sites, picnic tables and fire rings, restrooms with showers, flushing toilets, and plenty of shade from cottonwood trees. Most of the campsites are set along the river with both gentle and whitewater areas, and swimming, kayaking, and picnicking can be enjoyed in and around the river.

NM-570, Carson, NM 87517, Phone: 575-758-4060

21. Santa Fe National Forest

Santa Fe National Forest
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The Santa Fe National Forest is a protected national forest spanning 1.6 million acres in northern New Mexico and one of the five National Forests in the state. Established in 1915, the wood is home to miles of conifer trees, lush meadows, several rivers and streams, and a dormant volcano in the Valles Caldera National Preserve. The forest has four wilderness areas, two Wild and Scenic Rivers, and miles of scenic and historic byways, and offers a wealth of recreational activities year-round from hiking, mountain biking, backpacking, and camping to fishing, canoeing, downhill skiing and cross-country skiing in the Santa Fe Ski Basin.

Los Alamos, NM 87544

22. Sugarite Canyon State Park

Sugarite Canyon State Park
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Located on the Colorado-New Mexico state line six miles northeast of Raton, Sugarite Canyon State Park is a nature-lover’s paradise with an abundance of pristine natural landscapes ranging from meadows, forests, creeks, and lakes that are teeming with a diverse range of fauna and flora. Established in 1985, the 3,600-acre park is home to historic early-20th century coal-mining camp, which can be explored on self-guided tours, a visitor center with a dramatic interpretative trail, and two landmark lakes. Sugarite Canyon State Park offers camping for tents and RVs with electric hook-ups, RV pull-through sites, group shelters, restrooms with flushing toilets and hot showers, and dump stations.

160 NM-526, Raton, NM 87740

23. Upper Scorpion Campground

Upper Scorpion Campground
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The Upper Scorpion Campground is close to the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument in New Mexico’s Gila National Forest. The primitive campground is available for tent and car camping and offers picnic tables, vault toilets, and paved parking. The Gila River is within walking distance of the campground, and the closest store is about four miles away for supplies, gas, groceries, and hunting, and fishing licenses. The Gila National Forest comprises 3.3 million acres of densely forested hills, majestic mountains, and rolling rangeland and offers a wealth of year-round outdoor recreational activities, including hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, picnicking, and camping.

NM-15, Silver City, NM 88061, Phone: 575-536-2250

24. Villanueva State Park

Villanueva State Park
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Nestled between high red and yellow sandstone bluffs along the banks of the Pecos River, Villanueva State Park is a pretty park near the picturesque Spanish-colonial village of Villanueva, that features a diverse variety of fauna and flora. Villanueva State Park campground has 33 single-family campsites available for tent and RV camping with restrooms boasting showers, flushing and vault toilets and drinking water, and a dump station. The campground also has a visitor center, a children’s playground, and several lovely spots for picnicking.

135 Dodge Dr, Villanueva, NM 87583, Phone: 575-421-2957

25. White Sands National Monument

White Sands National Monument
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The White Sands National Monument is in the northern Chihuahuan Desert and is world-renowned for its dramatic landscape of rare white gypsum dunes, which rose from the heart of the Tularosa Basin to form the world’s largest gypsum dune field. Raised trails wind through the dunes like the Interdune Boardwalk and the Dune Life Nature Trail with interpretive exhibits on the local wildlife and plants. The only kind of camping at White Sands that is available to visitors is backcountry camping, and sites need to be reserved.

New Mexico

The Best Camping in New Mexico - 25 Perfect Spots near me today according to local experts are:

More Places to Visit in New Mexico:

New Mexico is a diverse, southwestern state with a beautiful and varied landscape. The capital, Santa Fe is famous for its iconic Spanish colonial buildings, art museums and luxury spas. Other cities such as Taos and Albuquerque offer further opportunities to explore a range of museums, shops and restaurants. There are a number of significant historic sites, many of which have been preserved in national monuments. These sites, such as Petroglyph National Monument and Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument tell the stories of New Mexico’s ancient peoples. Adventure awaits in the rugged outdoor landscape, cultural heritage runs deep and unique shopping opportunities abound in New Mexico.

Old Mesilla Village

Old Mesilla Village is a small town in New Mexico. The town is well known as a historical community and has played a role in many important events throughout the years including the Civil War, the trial of Billy the Kid and the Gadsden Purchase. The town has many interesting historical homes and traditional adobe structures. The historic plaza has several beautifully maintained historical buildings, such as the old court house as well as many shops and restaurants. Many visitors come each year to walk the historic streets, shop the interesting shops, dine in the cafes and simply relax and enjoy this colorful historic town.

Petroglyph National Monument

Petroglyph National Monument consists of a 17-mile stretch of Albequerque’s West Mesa. The site has a prominent place in the city’s western horizon and the western end of the monument is marked with several dormant volcanoes. There are many archeological sites located within the monument grounds including a large number of carved images which were created by Ancestral Pueblo and early Spanish residents. The site has one of the largest collections of these images in North America. The hiking trails are fairly easy and offer beautiful views of the surrounding areas as well as a chance to see the petroglyphs. The site has a visitor center with exhibits and a short introductory video.


Carlsbad is a city situated on the beautiful Pecos River in the Chihuahuan Desrt. The city is known as “The Pearl on the Pecos” for its peaceful, tree-lined streets, large number of public parks and the Lake Carlsbad shoreline. Both Guadalupe Mountains National Park and Carlsbad Caverns National Park are located a short drive away from the city. The Caverns feature stunningly beautiful caves and a Bat Flight Amphitheater where you can see thousands of bats fly out of the caves at sunset. Guadalupe Mountains National Park is just across the Texas border and offers an extensive network of trails for hiking as well as camping and wildlife viewing. Anyone who visits Carlsbad will find that this small town has a lot to offer tourists.

Las Vegas

Las Vegas is a city in San Miguel County that straddles the Gallinas River. The city was established in 1835 and retains many historically significant structures including many railroad-era homes. Some of the highlights include the Dr. H.J. Mueller House which is now a Bed and Breakfast, the Plaza Hotel, the Old City Hall and Carnegie Library. The Las Vegas Museum further tells the story of the city’s history including its significance as a hub for Old West outlaws such as Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday and Jesse James. The Las Vegas National Wildlife Refuge offers a scenic outdoor retreat with hiking, birdwatching and beautiful scenery.

Los Alamos

Los Alamos is situated on the Pajarito Plateau between the Valles Caldera and White Rock Canyon. Los Alamos is most famous for being the birthplace of the first atomic bomb. The bomb was created by the Los Alamos National Laboratory and was the result of a project known as the Manhattan Project during World War II. Much of the surrounding area is part of the Santa Fe National Forest which offers the opportunity to see interesting wildlife such as Black Bears, elk, foxes and bobcat as well as many species of birds. The mountains, plateaus and mesas of the surrounding area make Los Alamos one of the most picturesque destinations in the state.


Alamogordo is a city in the Tularosa Basin of the Chihuahuan Desrt. The city is bordered on one side by White Sands National Monument, and on the other by the Sacramento Mountains. There are a number of outside activities only a short drive from town including camping, hiking, paragliding and golfing. The city is quite diverse and has significant populations of Spanish, German and English speakers. Other attractions include the New Mexico Museum of Space History, The Toy Train Depot and the Alamogordo Museum of History. Visitors will enjoy the amenities and attractions of this small city as well as close proximity to outdoor activities and beautiful scenery.

Santa Fe

The oldest state capital in the United States, Santa Fe, was founded as a Spanish colony in 1610. The city is situated in the beautiful Sangre de Cristo foothills. It is known for it’s traditional Plaza in the heart of the city as well as Pueblo-style architecture. The historic district features winding streets that pass by significant historic homes and buildings. Many interesting museums are based in Santa Fe such as the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, the Palace of the Governors, Museum of International Folk Art and Museum of Indian Arts and Culture. There is an airy botanical garden in Santa Fe as well as several parks in and around the city for plenty of options for recreation.


Albuquerque is New Mexico’s largest city. The city has both a historic Old Town and modern downtown core and is situated in the high desert. The historical city was founded as a Spanish Colony in the early 1700s and many historic adobe buildings provide evidence of this history. Some of these sites include the San Felipe de Neri Church and a range of museums. The city also has a significant Native American tribal heritage. This heritage can be explored at Petroglyph National Monument or the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center among other sights. Those who enjoy nature will appreciate the Albuquerque BioPark, Rio Grande Zoo and the Rio Grande Nature Center State Park.


Taos is a town in northern New Mexico. It is situated in the high desert and is surrounded by the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. The town is famous for its traditional adobe buildings. One of the most famous is Taos Pueblo, a multi-story complex that housed Native Americans for several centuries. The city has long been a haven for artists and features many galleries and museums that showcase artwork from the region and around the world. Some of them include the Taos Art Museum and the Harwood Museum of Art. Kit Carson home and Museum and Kit Carson park are both attractions named for one of Taos’ most famous former residents.

White Sands National Monument

White Sands National Monument preserves a unique dune field in the northern Chihuahuan Desert. The area is known for its striking white gypsum sand dunes which are the largest of their kind in the world. There are trails which pass through the dunes including the Dune Life Nature Trail and a raised Boardwalk. Along the nature trail there are several interpretive exhibits which shed light on the animals and features of the dunes. There is a Visitor Center from which you can drive a looped road that will take you to the dunefield. From time to time the road that leads to the site will be closed due to missile testing.


Farmington is a small city in Northwestern New Mexico. The city is located at the confluence of three rivers, the San Juan River, the La Plata River and the Animas. The city is known throughout the region for baseball tournaments. The city’s Ricketts Park hosts the Connie Mack World Series and the local high school has won multiple state championships. The town has a few museums such as the Farmington Museum which has exhibits related to the city’s history and the oil industry among other exhibits. There are several parks in and around the city including Berg Park and Animas Park, both of which offer a variety of outdoor activities. The Riverside Nature Center is a favorite among families and features an informative education center and enjoyable nature walk.

Los Alamos National Lab

Los Alamos National Laboratory is a U.S. Department of Energy lab that was initially built in World War II to design nuclear weapons as a part of the famous Manhattan Project. The city was chosen as a top-secret location for the creation of bombs. Many Nobel Prize winners and other renown scientists have worked in the lab over the years. Today much of the labs work is related to civilian fields and research related to renewable energy, space exploration, national security, medicine and the like. While much of the property is closed to the public, interested visitors can visit the Bradbury Science Museum which has a range of exhibits related to science, nuclear defense, space travel, energy and more.

Valles Caldera National Preserve

Valles Caldera National Preserve is a nature preserve located near Los Alamos. The preserve protects an area of geological significance. The Valles Caldera is a circular depression that is 13 miles wide. It is thought to have been caused by a volcanic eruption more than a million years ago. Today the preserve is known for its huge meadows, large variety of wildlife and beautiful streams. There are several hiking trails that meander throughout the preserve. Horseback riding and mountain biking are also popular. During your visit you may encounter such wildlife as elk, prairie dogs, coyotes, black bears, badgers and a variety of birds including the golden eagle. Fishing, hunting and overnight camping are both permitted.

Carlsbad Caverns National Park

Carlsbad Caverns National Park is situated in southern New Mexico’s Chihuahuan Desert. The main highlight of the park is more than 119 natural caves. The 1.25 mile Natural Entrance Trail leads down 750 feet into the park’s namesake, Carlsbad Cavern. The trail leads through the Big Room chamber of the cave. Rangers lead adventure hikes through the wilderness and into several interesting sections of the cave on reservable tours. If you would rather see nature from your car, you can drive the Walnut Canyon Desert Loop to take in some scenic views of the desert. The park hosts a seasonal Bat Flight program where visitors can have the unique opportunity to see hundreds of thousands of bats leaving the cave at dusk to forage for food.

Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument

Kasha Katuwe Tent Rocks is a geologically interesting area on the Pajarito Plateau in the northern part of the state. The area features cones of soft rock that are aptly named “tent rocks.” The interesting features were caused by ash and lava from a volcanic eruption several million years ago. The name of the site means “white cliffs” in the native Pueblo language. The monument is a day-use only site with no overnight camping and is only open to foot traffic. There is a 1.2 mile nature trail that leads through a canyon and terminates at a scenic lookout where you can look down at the tent rocks. Alternatively, you can take a 1.3 mile loop trail past the base of the rocks.
El Morro National Monument

El Morro National Monument is situated on an ancient trail in the western part of the state. The park’s most significant feature is a large sandstone promontory with ruins of an 875 room pueblo that was once home to up to 1500 people. The rock bears the inscriptions of many travelers including names, dates and their stories which has given it the nickname Inscription Rock. The park has a system of trails which provide access to the top of the rock, the water pool below and the pueblo ruins. The park has a visitor center with a 15-minute introductory film and bookstore.

Pecos National Historical Park

Pecos National Historical Park preserves thousands of acres of land in San Miguel and Santa Fe counties. The landscape of the park has a large number of historical elements and features including prehistoric archeological ruins, a Civil War battlefield and historical ranches from the 19th century. The largest and main feature in the park is called Pecos Pueblo which is an abandoned Native American community that is thought to have been built around AD 1100. There is a 17th century Spanish mission located nearby. From the park’s visitor center, you can take a self-guided trail walk that winds 1.25 miles to the Pecos Peublo ruins and the mission.

Chaco Culture National Historical Park

Chaco Culture National Historical Park boasts the most dense concentration of pueblos in the region. The park is situated in the northwestern part of the state in an isolated canyon cut by the Chaco Wash. The park is one of the most important pre-Columbian civilizations in the country. Visitors can explore the park by taking a guided tour or venturing out on the hiking and biking trails on their own. At night they offer evening campfire talks and night sky programming. The park’s visitor center has an information desk staffed with park rangers as well as an auditorium which shows a video, and a bookstore.

Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument

Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument preserves and interprets several Mongollon cliff dwellings which are located in the Gila Wilderness in the southwestern part of the state. The monument has two main ruin sites and several smaller sites scattered throughout the rugged environment of the Gila Wilderness. Visitors can visit the dwellings and area surrounding the visitor center on day hikes. For those who wish to venture a bit further afield backpacking and horseback riding trips in the wilderness are a good option. During the warmer months, there are also guided tours of the monument. There are several hot springs in the area which are a popular way to relax and unwind.


Roswell is a manufacturing, petroleum producing and agricultural hub in southeastern New Mexico. Roswell is perhaps most well known for being the the 1947 location of what is known as the Roswell UFO Incident, a purported UFO crash approximately 75 miles away. The city is now home to the International UFO Museum and Research Center which features exhibits about the famous incident as well as art related to extraterrestrials. The crash was recovered and investigated by the Roswell Army Air Field. The city is located near several natural treasures including the Pecos River, Bottomless Lakes State Park and Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge which offer a range of outdoor activities.

Las Cruces

Las Cruces, or “The City of the Crosses” is a city in southern New Mexico and is the second largest city in the state. The city is an agricultural and economic center and is home to New Mexico State University as well as two significant government agencies:White Sands Missile Range and White Sands Test Facility. The Organ Mountains are nearby as are the Robledo and the Dona Ana Mountains. There are many parks, state parks and ranches in the city and nearby which offer outdoor adventure for visitors of all ages. The city has several interesting museums as well, such as the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum.

Capulin Volcano National Monument

Capulin Volcano National Monument is located in northeastern New Mexico. The site preserves an extinct cinder cone volcano. There is a paved road that leads up the face of the volcano, and visitors can drive up to the rim. Alternatively, you can visit the base of the volcano and see Capulin’s lava flow. There are hiking trails around the volcano’s rim and also some trails that go down into the volcano’s mouth. All in all, there are about five miles of hiking trails. The park has a visitors center with exhibits about volcanoes, the area’s geology, and natural history. Park rangers also offer a variety of educational programs throughout the year.

Bandelier National Monument

Bandelier National Monument consists of more than 33,677 acres of beautiful and rugged canyons and mesa. The park preserves and interprets the homes and artifacts of Ancestral Puebloans. The homes were carved into blocks of volcanic rock and ruins of the dwellings provide evidence of the way these people lived here from about 1150 - 1550 CE. Most visitors to Bandelier first follow the 1.2 mile loop trail that leads from the visitor center through a selection of excavated sites that are located on the floor of Frijoles Canyon. Some of this trail is even handicapped accessible. There are several other trails including a 3-mile waterfall trail and many miles of trails in the Bandalier Backcountry.

Aztec Ruins National Monument

Aztec Ruins National Monument protects a collection of Ancestral Puebloan ruins in the Northwestern quadrant of the state, near the town of Aztec. The park’s visitor center is located in the former home of archeologist Earl Morris. The center has a small museum with 900-year old artifacts from the site, a 15 minute video and a small gift shop. The most popular attraction is the Aztec West self-guided trail. The trail will take you to the Pueblo “Great House” which is the site’s most significant structure. Visitors will get a chance to see skillful craftsmanship, masonry, wood roofing and original mortar along the way. There is also a garden with traditional crops and a 1.5 mile trail leading from the park to historic downtown Aztec.