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Old 05-30-2016, 07:36 PM   #1
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northern New Mexico camping ideas?

I'm behind schedule in planning a Summer camping trip with my son, and I think I'm going to stay fairly local and put together a trip in northern New Mexico. My son wants to camp in the forest.

I'm open to boondocking and campground suggestions.

If you have some ideas, please let me know.


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Old 05-30-2016, 09:55 PM   #2
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Whats up Bronco hauler! If you look at trip reports New Mexico from CTB, you can see some photos of our specific trip and places...If he is young and into dinosaurs, the state park in the NE corner has fossilized footprints which are cool to see...its by a little lake and some OK campsites...we boondocked quite a few places too...El Morro/Inspiration Rock is cool because it has Native American hieroglyphs, Spanish soldier inscriptions, and Calvary... Chaco Canyon A MUST!Lots of good boondocking too! Can't wait to see pics!
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Old 06-06-2016, 02:41 PM   #3
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In the far north:

Valle Vidal has mellow terrain but full of wildlife and very beautiful. great place for easy hiking and mountain biking.
Cruces Basin Wilderness. Also pretty mellow terrain but gorgeous with great fishing streams, wildlife, open meadows and usually unvisited. Stay in the unimproved camping area east of Lagunitas if you like solitude. Lagunitas is where they found the poor guy who froze to death or starved in the toilet on his continental divide hike. Some fun drives around the area, into Colorado on the west side of the area. Also Chama has the old steam train. Takes you along the northern boundary of the wilderness for part of it.
Santa Barbara campground on the west slope of the SdC, look for FR 116 is on a good stream for fishing with nice hiking up into the higher mountains
Trampas trailhead campground is also nice and a bit of a hike gets you up into some really stunning high mountain terrain.

Closer to you are the San Mateos and the Magdalenas, neither are quite as cool (temps) as further north but are both interesting and little visited. Be prepared for dry camping. There's almost no surface water in the San Mateos but you can drive up to the fire lookout at over 10,000 feet and if you are interested, the area has a long and interesting history as an Apache stronghold. I think there are a few books you can get as a bit of a tour/history guide. There are several ghost towns and old mining areas in both ranges and if you enjoy pottering around those, it's a good place.
Personally I would leave the exploration of Chaco, Canyon de Chelly and the many, many smaller ruins until the fall. It's g'wine be hot, hot, hot!

Hope that helps.
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Old 06-08-2016, 07:46 PM   #4
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agreed free Crucitas Basin and Santa Barbara. Crucitas is a small wilderness area you can walk easily and return to camp. There are also some 4wd roads thereabouts. Santa Barbara is the opposite, the northern entry to the Pecos Wilderness. Nice hikes without a full wilderness commitment, though. The railroad from Chama is enjoyable and passes on the north side of Crucitas.

On the south side of the Pecos, consider Holy Ghost campground. Great flowers walks.

Lots of forest roads in the north. I don't have any favorites to recommend as we usually go north of the border for altitude and lower temps.

PM me with dates. Maybe we can meet up. Be sure and stop at Second Street Brewery in Santa Fe.

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Old 06-09-2016, 03:51 PM   #5
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All good suggestions here. My favorite of late is north out of El Rito on 110, go about 13 miles and take a left but there are all sorts of opportunities up there, all the way to Hopewell lake or Canjillon.
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Old 07-09-2016, 06:20 PM   #6
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I'm now even farther behind in making my travel plans, but some long business trips did not help.

I am somewhat decided on a few touristy things in the Taos and Santa Fe areas, and am hoping for some firsthand opinions.

Thinking about maybe a half-day rafting trip in the Santa Fe area? Anyone have a preference of one raft outfit over another?

Cumbres & Toltec railroad trip?

Tour of the Taos Pueblo?

Camping near Taos?

Camping near Santa Fe?

Sorry for such basic questions, but my Summer has been crazy busy so far, and it's not slowing down much at all.


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Old 07-09-2016, 06:35 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BroncoHauler View Post
I'm now even farther behind in making my travel plans, but some long business trips did not help.

I am somewhat decided on a few touristy things in the Taos and Santa Fe areas, and am hoping for some firsthand opinions.

Thinking about maybe a half-day rafting trip in the Santa Fe area? Anyone have a preference of one raft outfit over another?

Cumbres & Toltec railroad trip?

Tour of the Taos Pueblo?

Camping near Taos?

Camping near Santa Fe?

Sorry for such basic questions, but my Summer has been crazy busy so far, and it's not slowing down much at all.


Herb
Rafting: Kokopelli. (Full disclosure: my grandson and many ski area coworkers work there.)

C&T RR: Worth doing. All equipment is authentic. Scenery fine. I've never gone all the way; just turned around at the halfway point. It's a long ride to Antonito.

Taos camping is spotty. I like the ski area even though it's not exactly rustic. Good hikes from there and a couple of good restaurants. Also has a (pay) MTB area. I'd check; the area is going through a major remodel and I don't know what the parking lot status is. There are a range of FS roads, esp. on the highway to Angel Fire, with camping options. Further north, I like Columbine CG on the road to Red River. There are some nice sites at the Wild & Scenic Rivers area above the upper Rio Grand Box but it'll be hot. Lots of roads north of Red River.

Santa Fe camping is also spotty. I recommend the Black Canyon FS campground on the ski basin road. You can free camp at the south end of the ski area parking lot. Lots of traffic in the day for local trails, quiet at night. Not much boon docking. The FS campground can get full, esp. at the end of August when the Indian Market is underway.

Consider Bandelier National Monument if you like Native American sites. No free camping but there is a campground at the area. Also has access to Los Alamos with its nuclear museum.

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Old 07-09-2016, 06:59 PM   #8
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Appreciate the info Don, just what I was looking for, though based on what you mentioned, camping near Taos and S.F. seems challenging.


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Old 07-09-2016, 07:06 PM   #9
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Santa Barbara just past Panasco, High Road to Taos (75), very nice.
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Old 07-09-2016, 10:36 PM   #10
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Great info Don, agree, we haven't found that many great camping spots in either town. Check out Ojo Caliente for a hot springs soak, along with the rooms for rent, they also have a primitive campground on site that's ok for a night, the restaurant on site is good.
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