Finding America by RV—New Mexico’s Billy the Kid Trail

Chasing down legends of the Old West doesn’t have to be a rugged journey, thanks to modern RV comforts.  Our next installment in our Finding America by RV series takes us to east central New Mexico, where Billy the Kid National Scenic Byway loops through Wild West towns, a frontier fort and enough outdoor experiences to keep you busy for weeks. 

How Do We Get There?

Billy the Kid Trail is easy to reach by RV.  From Albuquerque, travel south on I-25 to the ghost town of San Antonio, NM and then southeast on US-380 to Capitan (about a three-hour journey). It’s also an eight-hour drive from Denver using the same interstate.

The Trail itself is the loop formed by NM-48, Hwy-70 and Hwy-380, with a dash across the middle to Fort Stanton NCA on NM-220. On your way you’ll pass through Ruidoso, Hondo, Lincoln and Capitan, NM.

What Can We See and Do There?

Billy the Kid Trail takes you through the pine forests, mountains and mesas of Lincoln National Forest, with two rivers—the Rio Bonito and Rio Ruidoso, providing scenic and recreation possibilities. You’ll begin to understand why the Trail’s namesake, that infamous teenage gunslinger, was able to hide so well here with his Regulators following the bloody Lincoln County War in the late 1870s.

The Sierra Blanca Range will surround you throughout your journey, with the highest peak in southern New Mexico, Sierra Blanca Peak, visible to your southwest on the Mescalero Apache Reservation. Besides the Southwestern wilderness through which you’ll travel, you’re also going to discover some fascinating Wild West locations.

Starting with the town of Ruidoso, at the intersection of Hwy-70 and NM-48, you’ll get a sense of the many cultures who built the region. This mountain town with a scenic river flowing through it is also surrounded by adventure, with Ski Apache on Sierra Blanca Peak offering excellent skiing in winter (and views from New Mexico’s only ski gondola year-round) and world-famous horse racing just down the road at Ruidoso Downs.

Plunge into New Mexico’s outlaw history by traveling east on Hwy-70 to Hondo and then north on Hwy-380 to Lincoln, NM, scene of the two-year skirmish known as the Lincoln County War. Lincoln State Monument is a well-preserved collection of 1870s structures that tell the story of two ranchers who once owned the only store in immense Lincoln County and kept a stranglehold on supplies for nearby Fort Stanton, as well as neighboring ranches.

Billy the Kid

Billy the Kid

The museums, buildings and exhibits bear witness to the bloody struggle that erupted when a second store was opened in the region, supported by Billy the Kid and his ‘Regulators’. They also tell the story of the arrest, escape and murderous exploits of the Kid following the Lincoln County Wars, before being gunned down by Pat Garrett in 1881.

And that’s not all you’ll find along this national scenic byway that tells the tale of this region’s history. Fort Stanton-Snowy River Cave National Conservation Area, in the middle of your loop, is a national treasure. From the Rio Bonito Petroglyph National Trail, bearing witness to the Jornada Mogollon people who lived in the region from 1 AD to 1500 AD, to artifacts from the days African American Buffalo Soldiers were based at the fort, the story will be fascinating.

Besides the Petroglyph Trail, more than ninety miles of trails invite hikers and mountain bikers to discover the secrets of the NCA’s desert mountain terrain. Keep your eyes open for mule deer, elk and black bears as you drive, hike or ride within the National Conservation Area. Speaking of conserving wildlife, Snowy River Cave isn’t open to non-scientific exploration at the present time, in order to eradicate a disease threatening area bat populations.

Where Can We Camp Near Billy the Kid Trail?

You may have already guessed that this national byway is a favorite of RV travelers to New Mexico. Because it is, you’ll discover every style RV campground along your route. In Lincoln National Forest, for example, fans of boondocking are allowed to camp along forest roadways, as long as they observe certain guidelines.

There are also two developed campgrounds with inexpensive campsites within the national forest. For those who prefer a little more comfort when RV camping in New Mexico, private campgrounds near Ruidoso and Alto are waiting to welcome you on your visit.

There you have it, one more reason to rent an RV or take your own motorhome out of storage when camping season calls. Billy the Kid Trail—a journey to find history, beauty and adventure in New Mexico.

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Three New Mexico Fishing Hot Spots for RV Travelers

Planning your RV camping and fishing road trip and planning to pass through New Mexico? Slow down your roll and make sure you experience the fishing possibilities in the Land of Enchantment. With fly fishing season beginning in June and plenty of other fishing action available, it’s time to add New Mexico to your camping and fishing itinerary.

New Mexico State Flag

New Mexico State Flag

There’s not room here to list all the ways anglers find their bliss in New Mexico, so we’ve narrowed down your choices to three that are of special interest to RV travelers. We’re looking forward to hearing what you catch!

New Mexico RV Camping & Fishing Hot Spot #1: Gila River, Gila National Forest

With RV campsites available throughout this national forest in southwest New Mexico, and a nice population of brown trout, rainbow trout, channel cat and bass in the Gila River and its streams, this spot should be on your fishing calendar every year.

If you’ve never camped at Gila National Forest, be sure to check the camping amenities on their website. You’ll find a range from ‘dry camping’ sites deep within the forest to campgrounds with modern amenities near marinas, towns and trails.

New Mexico RV Camping & Fishing Hot Spot #2: Cochiti Lake

Cochiti Lake, east of Santa Fe in northern New Mexico and within the Pueblo de Cochiti Reservation, is the place to go to catch smallmouth, largemouth and white bass. Bring your crankbaits and spinners and plan to stay awhile.

The Cochiti Recreation Area offers two campgrounds for RV camping. The high desert setting and surrounding mountains make for memorable vacation photos, when you aren’t commemorating the day’s big catch!

New Mexico RV Camping & Fishing Hot Spot #3: Cimarron Canyon State Park

Imagine a rugged mountain canyon with a lively river flowing right down the middle and that gives you a picture of the Cimarron River in Cimarron Canyon State Park. About three and a half hours northeast of Albuquerque, this river is a favorite with fly fishing RV campers.

At nearly eight thousand feet elevation, the river is cool and shallow and promises plenty of brown trout action. You’ll also find several shady campgrounds near the water and easy access to the river and campgrounds via US-64. If you’re going to stay awhile camping and fishing in New Mexico, drive back west on the highway fifteen minutes to Eagle Nest Lake, another popular fly fishing destination.

New Mexico has gained plenty of fame among anglers for its lakes, rivers and streams. Whether you enjoy a quiet afternoon of fly fishing or chasing a big bass across the water, you’ll find this state has a place for it. Among RV travelers, the Land of Enchantment has also proven to be hospitable, with campgrounds that suit every style of RV camping, from national forest campsites to comfortable, modern resorts.

Don’t forget—if you’re traveling from either Denver or Phoenix to reach New Mexico fishing hot spots, it’s only about a six hour drive to reach Albuquerque. From there, how long you choose to camp and fish in New Mexico is up to you!

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RV New Mexico-Carlsbad Caverns for a New Generation

Every year, it seems there’s a hot new travel destination that beckons to RVers from the travel blogs. But what about the tried-and-true wonders of nature, the ones that have thrilled and amazed since the first North American inhabitants peered into a cave, over a canyon rim or across a vast expanse of water? One of the most famous of those American wonders is Carlsbad Caverns National Park in southeastern New Mexico.

Since a sixteen year old cowboy wandered into the cave’s entrance in 1898, visitors have been fascinated by the enormous underground chambers, intricate soda straws, curtains and other rock formations and the wildlife that calls the caverns home.

It’s time for a new generation of families to discover why Carlsbad Caverns National Park is an ideal destination for their next RV camping adventure.

Carlsbad Caverns National Park

Carlsbad Caverns National Park

Where Will You Go, What Will You See?

If you’ve never come to Carlsbad Caverns, you may be surprised to find there are many ways to explore the caves. Guided tours led by park rangers show visitors the highlights of some of the major caverns. Two of the most popular—the King’s Palace and Left Hand Tunnel tours.

You can also venture on your own into some of the underground chambers. Here’s more detail on the self-guided tours.

Natural Entrance Tour

If you’re up for a demanding hike to the bottom (1.25 miles), this tour is the one for you. Active RV travelers will follow a twisting path down seven stories into the cave. Not a good choice for those with health issues, but there are plenty of other places to explore that don’t require such a hike. Good news—there are elevators at the bottom of the tour if trip down proves strenuous!

Big Room Tour

This mile-long circular route explores the largest underground cavern. A good choice for those with difficulty walking, this trip will take you past extraordinary sights like the Painted Grotto and the Giant Dome. Take the elevator to the starting point and be prepared to be thrilled at the colors and formations you’ll see.

No matter which tours you choose to take, keep an eye out for the enormous cave swallow flock that calls these caverns home! Throughout this vast desert park in the Guadalupe Mountains, you’re likely to see a wide range of reptiles, amphibians, mammals and birds.

Additional Information on Visiting Carlsbad Caverns

  • Children under age four are not permitted on guided tours, strollers are not permitted on some routes. Be sure to check the link above for age restrictions.
  • What to wear in the cave: it’s cool underground, so bring a jacket or sweater. Also, leave the flip-flops in the RV and wear comfortable, rubber-soled walking shoes to avoid slipping on the paths.
  • If you’ve visited another cave recently, wear different shoes or be prepared for a quick cleaning process before you’re allowed into the cave.
  • Reserve your tickets in advance for guided tours to avoid delays.
  • Save time to take a hike on one of the Park’s nature trails surrounding the caverns—the Chihuahuan Desert is rich with secrets of its own!
  • Join the crowd in the natural amphitheater at the entrance to the cave at dusk from May to October to watch the evening bat flight, when great swarms of bats leave the cave to hunt for insects.

From the Hall of the White Giant to mysterious Spider Cave (seen only by those willing to crawl along a subterranean passage) Carlsbad Caverns National Park is an eye-opening adventure. Traveling there by motorhome will make your trip even more memorable, thanks to the luxury and convenience it provides.

Wherever you decide to pick up an El Monte RV rental, isn’t it time to start planning your trip? Become part of the new generation of RV travelers to New Mexico to discover the awesome beauty of Carlsbad Caverns.

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An Autumn RV Trip to Beautiful Taos New Mexico

New Mexico is not a state that immediately comes to mind when you think of a fall foliage tour, but Taos, New Mexico does have opportunities to see some beautiful fall colors. Near the end of September and early October the aspen and cottonwoods are at their peak and it’s the ideal time to arrive. In addition to enjoying the yellow and golden hues, you will be able to enjoy other colorful events this autumn in Taos.

Greetings from Taos, New Mexico

Greetings from Taos, New Mexico. Historic Kit Carson House

An artist’s palette can add to the brilliant colors in Taos, New Mexico. The Fall Arts Festival takes place in town from the 27th of September to the 6th of October with free admission for all. Every day is a treat – particularly the Plein Air Painters of NM Members Juried Exhibit on October 4 at Millicent Rogers Museum. On the 5th attending the Taos Artist Collective First Saturday Art Show    will permit you to meet artists and see their new artworks.

Another festival you can enjoy on this fall RV trip is the Taos Wool Festival, a marvelous experience for the whole family. It takes place between September 30 and October 6 in Kit Carson Park. Let the sheep, goats, angora rabbits and alpacas fascinate you with their antics. Hands-on activities are wonderful for the kids. And talk about delicious foods! You will just have to go and see (or taste) for yourself!

Old-fashioned story telling is always a great way to spend some time. On October 4th you should put the Grand StorySlam on your itinerary. This is an actual contest where storytellers of all ages compete for prizes. No reading is allowed and the inventions of tales are intriguing indeed!

Then on October 5, the SOMOS Storytelling Festival launches at the Taos Community Auditorium. Stories and songs will entertain and amaze. This is a unique experience and will be loved by all ages. Of course, this is just the start of your Taos vacation. There is more to do and you’ll have to get outdoors to soak up some autumn sun.

The Rio Grande may conjure mental images of cowboys watering their horses as they travel the vast deserts, but today it means great fishing! Hiking is a fun way to spend an afternoon, too! And it gives you an additional opportunity to view the fall colors. Manzanita Canyon Trail  is a great trail which is around eight miles round trip. It is fairly strenuous as you do climb steadily and you’ll need to be ready for an elevation gain of about 3900 feet at a fairly high altitude. There will be some rocky terrain as well.  The best part of this hike is getting some marvelous views of Lobo Peak and other surrounding mountains.

You may prefer to do your sightseeing from your RV so it is highly recommended if so to take the Valle Vidal Scenic Drive from Costilla on Highway 196 to Highway 64. This is a lovely Rocky Mountain drive with lots of wildlife, hiking opportunities and places to fish and picnic.

Visiting Taos New Mexico in the autumn on an RV trip really can’t be beat when you wish to enjoy the Midwest’s fall colors.

Picture credits: The picture of a greeting card from Taos, New Mexico is from the Wikimedia Commons. It is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

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Tour Southwestern New Mexico in an RV

San Felipe Church on Old Town Albuquerque

San Felipe Church on Old Town Albuquerque

The wonders are amazing in the southwestern New Mexico region. Spring is the very best time to come on a tour of the many landscapes, with mountains and deserts in every direction. Marvel at the blooming plants and the wildlife wandering near. It is the perfect destination for a tour in an RV motorhome, too. Drive along in superior comfort and enjoy the sights!

Start out in Albuquerque! Check out Old Town while you are here. There are so many things to see in the city that you may want to spend some extra time taking in the sights. Art lovers always make it a point to stop at the Albuquerque Museum of Art and History. More history is available at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center where you will get a realistic taste of the lives of Native Americans.

Next head for Leasburg Dam State Park, where you will love seeing the visitor center after a delicious picnic and short hike. Then go to the Aguirre Springs National Recreation Area (PDF) for some excitement. You may rough it and get into the backcountry here if you like. You’ll find rock art and fascinating caves. However, it isn’t recommended exploring the caves unless you are experienced in this sort of thing.

Hiking here is of the best quality, with a number of choices for lovely treks. Take the 4.5-mile hike on Pine Tree Trail in a loop. You can also try the Baylor Pass Trail which is longer and much steeper. Getting out in the fresh air and exercising helps loosen those tired muscles from so much driving.

Next stop is White Sands National Monument. The dunes are more like snow than sand as you see them while you approach. It is a wonderful place for photo opportunities. You can camp out at the Oliver Lee Memorial State Park. This park has an RV campground with a dump station for your convenience. It is 24 miles south of White Sands.

Now for some real history! The Three Rivers Petroglyph National Recreation Site is one of the largest sites of rock art in the southwest U.S. See more than 21,000 glyphs depicting animal, plant and human life. There is also a campground with a few RV sites. While staying in this area, you can get in more hiking or even take off for a backpacking adventure.

Go towards Roswell and watch for signs to the Capitan Mountains Wilderness. The diversity of the landscape makes for a lot of outdoor fun, including hiking and wildlife watching. For the best views, take the Summit Trail along the main ridge.

When you are ready to continue your RV journey, carry on to Roswell. You’ll find a wealth of things to do, including visiting the Roswell Museum and Art Center, seeing the UFO Museum, and watching birds at the Bitter Lake Wildlife Refuge.

What a trip! There is always more to do in southwestern New Mexico! You’ll have to return and do it all again on a fabulous RV vacation!

Picture credits: The picture of San Felipe Church on Old Town Albuquerque is from the Wikimedia Commons. It is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

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Experience Santa Fe New Mexico on an RV Adventure

Art and history lovers will not be the only ones who enjoy an RV trip to Santa Fe, New Mexico. Those whose only desire is to get outdoors and take part in some exhilarating recreational activities find that this beautiful area offers plenty of that as well. You will find numerous RV parks to choose from in the area. You might like Los Sueños RV Park as there is easy access to all the sights in town as well as access to a network of trails.

First, after all that driving, you may like to get out for some exercise and to enjoy that New Mexico sun beating down happily. The Randall Davey Audubon Center gives you the chance to escape and find a lively walk through 135 acres of beautiful landscapes and enjoy the wildlife. Then make your way to Hyde Memorial Park to see some breathtaking scenery and hike the trails along Little Tesuque Creek.

The Santa Fe National Historic Trail runs through, once connecting Santa Fe with Missouri, and makes a great place to take a horseback ride or ride a bike. If experienced as a cyclist, you may want to mountain bike up the Windsor Trail to really discover a challenge. Only minutes from downtown, you will find this an energizing experience.

Rich history is abundant in Santa Fe. Museums and missions, historic displays and sites, it is all here. Browse until you get the feeling you are walking these streets earlier in time. The San Miguel Mission was built in 1610 by Tlaxcalan Indians from Mexico. This mission was damaged later but rebuilt in 1710. The church is still in use. The Laguna Pueblo Mission is another in a long list of missions you can visit while in Santa Fe absorbing the history.

Check out the Santa Fe National Cemetery! This is particularly of interest to those captivated by Civil War history. In 1987, a mass grave was discovered of 31 confederate soldiers who died in the Battle of Glorieta Pass in 1862. Some were identified and placed in separate graves but the cemetery has a monument erected where those unidentified were interred. Many notable figures from the war are buried here. Be sure to research this cemetery thoroughly before your arrival so you won’t miss any aspect of this historic spot.

Next, take an inspirational break and visit some of the art museums in Santa Fe! The first choice is the Museum of International Folk Art. Current exhibits you will find fascinating. The Histories of Chocolate may appeal to the connoisseur and the beautiful Amish quilts will give you a taste of unique artworks. At the New Mexico Museum of Art, the building itself is a masterpiece! Enjoy the Santa Fe artists’ amazing works and find a blend of Native American, Hispanic, and European-based art. Finally, you will need to include the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum on your itinerary. An exhibit of Annie Leibovitz is included in the current displays, as well as some of the best of O’Keeffe.

Your RV trip to Santa Fe will be filled with art, history and the outdoors. It’s one you won’t soon forget!

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A New Mexico RV Trip to Visit Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge

Bitter Lakes National Wildlife Refuge near Roswell, NM

Bitter Lakes National Wildlife Refuge near Roswell, NM

A trip to New Mexico’s fabulous Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge provides a look into the wildlife in this desert and grassland region. If you wish to get away from it all and view 357 species of birds or catch glimpses of 59 different animal species, this is the place to do it. A unique vacation this will be – with the opportunity to see dragonflies and damselflies that you never imagined existed.

An RV trip, of course, is the ideal way to travel to these parts. There will be no searching for hotels or motels, trying to find eateries that serve the kind of food you like. This is RV country, and you will find plenty of camping facilities. Town and Country RV Park is a great place to stay, only a few miles from Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge.

This refuge exists on the crossroads of the Chihuahuan Desert and the prairie grasses. The river provides the wetlands that are so inviting to birds and animals. Winter temperatures are cool here, so now is the perfect time to visit. Besides the fauna, the flora is attractive, with prickly pears and Mormon Tea and tarbrush dotting the desert floor. You may spot a Mexican gray wolf in your travels.

Part of the Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge is the amazing Salt Creek Wilderness, with its wide array of wildlife. See and marvel at the sand dunes, native grasslands and all the native inhabitants. Perhaps you will catch sight of cottontail rabbits, jackrabbits or quail. The wonders never cease. Bobcats make this their home but are more secretive than other animals.

Visitors want to see it all and the best way to do so is to take one of the endangered species tours. These operate from the 6th of October through May on the first Saturday of every month. This is exactly what you want to do if you want an unusual view of the more than seventy natural sinkholes of all shapes and sizes. Here is where many fish and amphibians live and where other animals come to water.

Bitter Lake is the place to get in some fishing. You will hook some northern pike and there are plenty of opportunities to catch other native fish. These marshlands also attract a wide variety of birds so you can also fit in some bird watching. Drive the Wildlife Drive which is an eight-mile loop that provides wonderful views of snow geese, Lesser sandhill cranes and red-tail hawks. You can also bike this gravel drive if you prefer.

Hiking is wonderful at this refuge. Try the Butterfly Trail for a lot of information about butterflies that are attracted to the vegetation here. Dragonfly Trail is another favorite, particularly when you wish to see diverse populations of dragonflies.

Before you end off your vacation, stay a day or two in Roswell, New Mexico. There are many things to see here, such as the Roswell Museum and Art Center and the Anderson Museum of Contemporary Art. It is the perfect way to end a most enjoyable RV vacation.

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Travel Historic Route 66 on a Winter RV Vacation

Picture of a Route 66 Sign

Picture of a Route 66 Sign

Drive a historic trip along Route 66 on an RV vacation to experience all the wonders of the American Southwest. This is a perfect adventure for winter months, as the weather and road conditions will cooperate. Historic Route 66 does not appear on current road maps, but is signposted off I-40. You will begin in Glenrio, NM which sits on the New Mexico/Texas border. You will travel across New Mexico all the way to Topock, Arizona, near the California State line.

From Glenrio to Santa Rosa, follow the best routes so you don’t run into trouble on the rough roads with your RV. When you reach Tucumcari, be sure to take your family photo by the Route 66 sign. Montoya is also a must-see, a ghost town where you can even visit a boot hill cemetery.

Santa Rosa, New Mexico is known as the “City of Natural Lakes.” This oasis is a great place to stop for a while and sight see. If you are a scuba diving enthusiast, you will want to try out the Blue Hole. Leaving Santa Rosa and driving to Tijeras, there are many sights to see. Stop at Longhorn Ranch to view the ruins here, and get a real flavor of the Old West.

You will likely want to follow the post 1937 alignment of Route 66 as you move from Tijeras to Grants, New Mexico. But the choice is really yours. Study your maps carefully. In Albuquerque you must see Old Town as well as the Albuquerque Museum of Art and History. At the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center you will absorb the fascinating history of our Native Americans, and at the National Museum of Nuclear Science History you’ll learn all about the Atomic Age.

In Grants, you can enjoy some great meals out (if you are tired of cooking in your RV). Then take a side trip to Bandero Volcano and the Ice Caves. From Grants to Manuelito, you will move through more haunting landscapes. When you reach Gallup, you will find a long list of attractions, and if you are visiting in December, you simply must go to the Red Rock Balloon Rally.

The next phase of your trip is in Arizona. Traveling from Lupton to Winslow is filled with anticipation as you approach some of the most famous sights in Arizona. At Houck, you will want to bring back some memories by seeing the old fort built just for the television show, the F-Troop. See the ruins of the Old Querino Canyon Trading Post.

Of course, for amazing stretches of desert and colorful views, drive into the Painted Desert a ways. The lavender, gray, red, pink and orange hues simply take your breath away. And the Petrified Forest has a 28-mile drive that will take you to some of the most popular parts of this National Park area.

Next, Winslow to Flagstaff is a drive to remember. Winslow is filled with Southwestern history. Visit the Old Trails Museum. Stop on the corner of 2nd Street and Kinsley and sing that old Eagles’ song – “Take it Easy“. This was the corner referred to in the song.

To view one of the largest “accident” sites in the world, stop at the Meteor Crater. A huge meteor crashed into Earth about 50,000 years ago, making a gigantic crater of one mile across and more than 550 feet deep. Check out the former observatory and stop in the Visitor Center on the rim.

You will continue on your trip, from Flagstaff to Seligman, only wishing this vacation will never end. The desert expanses give you the feeling sometimes that you are on the moon. At Flagstaff, take a side trip to the Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument where you can view old extinct volcanoes and the black remnants of lava flows. Contrasting colors and the jagged fields of old lava invite you to experiment with your camera to capture the unique scenes.

When you come to Williams, Arizona, you are really close to the Grand Canyon, so you can make a 60-mile side trip here if you would like! Everyone loves the Grand Canyon’s beauty and the scenery between Williams and this amazing wonder of the world.

The last leg of your journey is from Seligman to Topock, AZ, with more beauty and spaces stretching before you. It is a shame to be done with your Route 66 adventure, but this highway continues on all the way to Los Angeles. If you feel up to it, you can drive this historic route onward – a winter trip with nothing to compare.

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An Exciting RV Vacation in Southwestern New Mexico

The desert blooms in the spring, and this is the best time to embark on an RV vacation through the diverse landscapes of New Mexico. You get everything – from majestic mountains towering over the desert to scenic desert drives with abundant wildlife. The wonders never cease!

If you begin your adventure in Albuquerque, you will want to stop as you drive down Interstate 25 at Leasburg Dam State Park, have a picnic or go for a hike, or both! Check out the visitor center with many interesting exhibits. From Aguirre Springs National Recreation Area, take off into the backcountry of the Organ Mountains where you’ll discover history of the most fascinating kind. Explore the Indian rock art and quiet isolated caves.

Hiking enthusiasts love the area around Aguirre Springs, with a couple of trailheads for amazing treks to the Ponderosa Pines at the higher elevations. Choose the Pine Tree Trail, a 4 ½ mile hike on a steep loop, or the 6-mile Baylor Pass Trail, taking you up and up to more than 4800 feet.

Dunes at White Sands National Monument

Dunes at White Sands National Monument

The spot you really must put on your itinerary is White Sands National Monument. There is no passing up this amazing natural wonder. Take a sunset stroll around the dunes. The closest camping spot is at Oliver Lee Memorial State Park, 24 miles to the southeast. There are RV sites with a dump station.

Continuing north on Highway 54, you will at last come to one of the largest rock art sites in the southwest. The Three Rivers Petroglyph National Recreation Site offers over 21,000 glyphs of all manner of human, animal and plant life. You’ll also have the opportunity to enjoy hiking or backpacking. The Three Rivers Campground has two RV sites if you wish to stay a while.

After turning east on Highway 380 towards Roswell, you will see signs for the Capitan Mountains Wilderness. The birthplace of our friend, Smokey the Bear, this wilderness area contains a wide range of terrain, including high peaks, juniper woodland and Ponderosa Pines. If you can tear yourself away from this paradise of outdoor activity, you will carry on to at last reach Roswell, New Mexico. There are so many things to do in Roswell, it is impossible to list them all. Suffice it to say, you can spend days in this city with never a lack of fun.

Your RV trip is now going to take you south, where you will be happy you stopped to take a walking tour of historic Artesia. Step back in time to the late 1800s and early 1900s as you visit the train depot and other buildings from pioneer days.

Don’t miss Carlsbad Caverns, where you can take advantage of educational ranger-guided tours and see the mass exodus of bats from the cave. Carry on south on Highway 62/180 to Guadalupe Mountains National Park for more outdoor recreation before coming to your final destination in El Paso, Texas.

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Three Great Reasons to go RV Camping in Roswell, New Mexico

As RV camping fans begin to map their spring and summer trips, the eastern New Mexico town of Roswell is well worth a second look. State and national parks quite near Roswell make excellent outdoor destinations, thanks to unique geological formations, unusual bodies of water and some pretty terrific campgrounds. Here’s our take on three great reasons to go RV camping in Roswell, New Mexico.

  1. The Pecos River Valley just east of Roswell is a geological wonder. It is home to Bottomless Lakes State Park, a place that continues to thrill first-time and long-time visitors with its eye-opening landscape. A string of eight small lakes formed by rainwater runoff from the nearby mountains decorate an amazing red rock landscape of canyons and bluffs. One lake (Lea Lake) is open for swimming and active RV campers will enjoy paddle boarding across the lake.Another popular activity at the lakes is scuba diving, so pack your equipment if that’s your passion. You can also fish on a couple of the smaller lakes, a bonus for outdoor adventurers. These ‘bitter water’ lakes are ringed by nice RV campsites with modern amenities. Be sure to bring your hiking gear; you won’t want to miss exploring this one-of-a-kind landscape.
  2. When motorhome camping in Roswell, NM, you’ll also want to visit Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge, where an amazing variety of dragon and damsel flies are unofficial mascots for the park. Wildlife lovers love to explore this refuge, watching for rare and endangered species of birds, mammals and reptiles in a red-rock landscape of mysterious sinkholes, salt plains and rocky bluffs.Friends of the refuge have put together an excellent visitor center. You’ll also find hiking trails and a scenic drive to expand your experience of the refuge.
  3. Roswell, New Mexico also offers RVers the chance to play a great round of golf! With two golf courses open to the public, you can choose the type of golf experience you prefer. The course at the New Mexico Military Institute is definitely the place to amble through a friendly round. Another Roswell course, the Municipal Spring River Golf Course will test your skills in a lush and scenic setting.

Wildlife, wild landscapes and outstanding golf venues…three great reasons to go RV camping in Roswell, New Mexico. With friendly RV campgrounds like Trailer Village RV Park waiting to play host, isn’t it time you started planning your motorhome camping trip to Roswell? And come see our staff at El Monte RV Rentals in Albuquerque; they’ve got a world of ideas for making your Roswell camping vacation a success.

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