Campgrounds used to be basic affairs but, in recent years, many have been upgraded to offer a host of amenities. While these “glampgrounds” appeal to many, other people prefer to keep things simple. If your idea of camping involves a dramatic or beautiful location and few frills, read on. Here are nine rustic camping spots in New Mexico where you can get back to nature.
1. Cosmic Campground, Glenwood
The Cosmic Campground is literally a one-of-a-kind place to stay. It’s the only spot in the whole of the U.S. to be declared an International Dark Sky Sanctuary. In other words, the low levels of light pollution make the star-gazing opportunities here unparalleled. Campsites for both tents are RVs are available.
2. Angel Peak Campground, near Bloomfield
If you’re looking for a remote campsite with awesome views, the Angel Peak Campground more than delivers. Angel Peak rises above the striped Kutz Canyon Badlands, which lend an otherworldy feel to the nine tent campsites available. Each spot comes equipped with a picnic table, but you need to bring your own water.
3. Fenton Lake State Park
Fenton Lake State Park lies in the Jemez Mountains. This beautiful, often overlooked lake, is great for a little kayaking or fishing. There are 43 campsites, including both tent and RV camping spots. Although some of the sites are close together, Fenton Lake State Park tends to be less crowded than the nearby San Antonio or Jemez Falls Campgrounds. It's a low-key place to pitch a tent in the Jemez.
4. James Canyon Campground, Mayhill
Teeny campgrounds, like this one in the Lincoln National Forest, help you feel like you’ve got away from it all. This campground offers five spots that are suitable for tents or small RVs (under 16-feet in length). Amenities include picnic tables and grills.
5. Maverick Campground, near Cimarron
There are several campgrounds within Cimarron State Park to choose from. The Maverick Campground abuts the Cimarron River and boasts 44 campsites. Amenities include grills, picnic tables, water hydrants, and proximity to fishing ponds.
6. Quaking Aspen Campground, near Fort Wingate
This remote campground has 20 campsites suitable for either tents, or RVs that are under 22-foot in length. You can’t make reservations, so it’s first come first serve.
7. Bluewater Lake State Park, Prewitt
Bluewater Lake State Park is conveniently located off I-40, next to the wilderness of Cibola National Forest. Despite the campground’s proximity to the freeway, you won’t feel hemmed in. This part of New Mexico is sparsely populated - McKinley County has a population density of 14 people per square mile.
There are 149 developed campsites available, plus beach camping. This campground is slightly less rustic than the others on this list since there are showers. Popular activities in this park include fishing, boating, and birding.
8. Echo Amphitheater Campground, near Abiquiu
Most people haven’t heard of the Echo Amphitheater and fewer still are aware that you can camp there. Only 10 single sites are available, so it can’t get too crowded. The vivid rocks of this natural amphitheater are certainly a dramatic view to wake up to.
9. Oasis State Park, Portales
The 23 sites here can accommodate longer RVs (up to 45 feet) and 10 spots are designated for tent camping. Amenities here go slightly beyond basic. In addition to grills, picnic tables, and water, there are now also showers. Still, despite being in a state park, this campground is unusually peaceful.