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

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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

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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

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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. More about Gila Cliff Dwellings

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

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