Editor’s note: This is one in a series of landmarks — southern New Mexico historical institutions and landscape features that you may or may not be aware of before reading the article. We’ll write about one landmark a month in 2022. To nominate a destination, email [email protected] com .
LAS CRUCES – It’s the time for outdoor adventuring and Doña Ana County has several places for people to get away for a while.
Southern New Mexico is well-known for its mountain- and desert-scapes, many of which include campsites and dispersed camping areas. Whether you stay overnight or for several days, you’re sure to enjoy the outdoor experience.
While there are Bureau of Land Management sites such as Aguirre Spring Campground that are designated camping areas, there are also many dispersed camping sites, also overseen by the federal government, located outside designated campgrounds. These areas are no less appealing, though they do offer fewer amenities like restroom facilities, fire pits and trash removal.
“Although lacking in amenities, distributed camping on BLM-managed lands offers many benefits that may not be available in developed campgrounds. Maybe it’s the sense associated with isolation, or perhaps it’s just closer to your recreational opportunity of choice, ” a BLM news release reads.
Designated campgrounds managed by BLM in the area are open year-round and require a $5 per vehicle fee for day use. A $7 fee is required per campsite. Group sites are available simply by reservation for $50 each.
Aguirre Spring Campground
- Located east of Las Cruces off US Highway 70
- 55 first-come, first-served campsites available
- Stay up to 14 days in a 28-day period
- Baylor Canyon and Pine Tree Trailheads
- Horse corral
- Views of Organ Mountain-Desert Peaks National Monument, Tularosa Basin plus White Sands National Park
Three Rivers Petroglyph Site
- Located 17 miles north of Tularosa off US Highway 54
- Shelters, groups sites, RV sites and tent websites
- Stay as much as 14 days in a 28-day time period
- Views of numerous prehistoric Jornada Mogollon rock art and the Three Rivers Petroglyph Site
- Hiking trails and pueblo ruins
Annual BLM passes can be purchased at the BLM Las Cruces District Office at 1800 Marquess St . or by calling 575-525-4300.
Dispersed camping sites can be found just about anywhere in open natural areas. The BLM manages public lands and as long as signage indicates the area is restricted, people are welcome to enjoy. Many spots can be found off Baylor Canyon Road, Drippings Springs Road and national park countries.
“Most of the remainder associated with public lands are open to dispersed camping, as long as it does not conflict with other authorized uses or in areas posted “closed to camping, ” or in some way adversely affects wildlife species or organic resources, ” the BLM news release said.
One of those BLM dispersed camping areas was recently ranked No . 1 in the country for best places to camp based on reviews simply by campers through the outdoor information site The Dyrt .
Sierra Vista campground , located off Drippings Springs Road, simply west of the Dripping Springs Natural Area, has a direct view of the Organ Mountains and the back side of Tortugas “A” Mountain. Numerous hiking trails are near the grounds, including the 29-mile Sierra Vista Trail , which parallels the Organs to the west. There is no charge to camp at Sierra Vista.
Las Crucens and visitors can also enjoy the Las Cruces Kampgrounds of America (KOA) Journey off Picacho Avenue past Fairacres. The privately owned campground has tent, RV and cabin sites for rent, as well as more dispersed camping areas. Amenities include laundry service, facilities and a pool. More information are available online at koa. com/campgrounds/las-cruces . There are four other KOAs in Southern New Mexico —near Lordsburg, Silver City, Alamogordo and Carlsbad.
Southern Brand new Mexico has two national forests with ample camping out opportunities. Both the Gila Nationwide Forest to the west associated with Las Cruces and the Lincoln National Forest to the east of Las Cruces are managed by the U. S. Forest Service.
Many state-managed parks also offer camping. Check out https://www.emnrd.nm.gov/spd/find-a-park/ with regard to information on each of New Mexico’s state parks. At least nine in southern New South america offer camping:
- Bottomless Lakes (near Roswell)
- Brantley Lake (near Carlsbad)
- Caballo Lake (south of Truth or Consquences)
- City of Rocks (between Silver City and Deming)
- Elephant Butte Lake (north of Truth or Consequences)
- Leasburg Dam (near Radium Springs)
- Oliver Lee Memorial (near Alamogordo)
- Pancho Villa (near Columbus)
- Rockhound (near Deming)
Whether it’s a secluded area of desert or a publicly or privately owned designated site, southern New Mexico is ripe for camping. However , campers are always warned in order to recreate safely and leave no trace.
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