Are you thinking about camping or hiking in New Mexico? There are hundreds of excellent campsites, but make sure you’re well equipped for the wilderness. Don’t just take your tent and sleeping bag. Remember how far you’ll be from urban life and the utilities you take for granted.
You’ll need a camping cooler to keep your food fresh – not to mention safe from animal intruders – and a lantern to chase away the darkness so far from the city’s glare. You’ll be glad to have the cooler when you need a cold soda or beer at the end of a long hike, but the lanterns are arguably more essential. Read on to find out why you might be glad for a little extra light.
El Porvenir Campground
If the wilderness appeals to you, El Porvenir Campground is a great place to begin your exploration of a beautiful mountainous and forested region. Situated on the eastern extremity of the Santa Fe National Forest, next to Beaver Creek and close to Hermit’s Peak, this is one of the best campgrounds in New Mexico. It earned the title for many reasons and keeps the title year after year due in part to campers coming back to camp and hike here.
Like the whole of the forest, the campground is within easy reach of Santa Fe or Albuquerque. The fact that the campground has bear-proof trash bins tells you that you’ve arrived just where you want to be. The toilets are a necessity, but you’ll find no utility hookups.
Admire the beautiful mixed-conifer surroundings and remember that you’re headed out into the wild! You can experience the wild surroundings of New Mexico here but still have the safety that a campground offers. Bring a comfortable pair of shoes, there are plenty hiking trails to explore!
Holy Ghost Campground
Traveling westward, a little deeper into the awesome greenery of the Santa Fe National Forest and just north of the little town of Pecos, you’ll find the Holy Ghost Campground. It is said to be the only haunted campground in the Forest Service. The ghost is believed to be the spirit of a priest murdered by the Pueblo people in the late seventeenth century.
Visitors are recommended to bring a lantern to ward off the darkness and tell scary stories to one another around the campfire. Now do you see why you might be happy for some extra light? But don’t worry. If this spirit decides to bother you, it won’t be for long. The priest always decides to say, “Hi” and move along. If you want to keep the lanterns charged, bring a solar charger so you can keep the lights on!
Rio Santa Barbara Campground
Carrying on westward, you’ll find the Rio Santa Barbara campground. This is an essential place to stay if you want to hike into the Pecos Wilderness or climb the Truchas Peaks, which include the second highest peak in New Mexico. The campground offers the closest place if these are your ultimate destinations and you will find all the amenities that you need.
Within the westernmost area of the Santa Fe National Forest you’ll find Jemez Mountain. If you’re interested in geology, this is must! There are some fantastic volcanic deposits. Any visitor cannot fail to be impressed by the mineral bath found at Jemez Springs Bath House, where you can wallow in water heated by the geothermal radiation from the lava beneath the volcano.
After that, you’ll surely be happy to enjoy a cool drink! In fact, it is recommended to keep a drink close at hand while you are sitting in the hot springs so that you don’t get dehydrated. This is another place that you can get to from the campground with relative ease.
Around the Santa Fe National Forest
While you’re enjoying your stay around the Santa Fe National Forest, don’t forget how high up above sea level you are, the elevations ranging from 5,300 to 13,101 feet. At night, take the time to stare up into the heavens and enjoy the views of the bright stars. Dim your lights for just a moment and admire the stars far away from the city smog and light pollution, brighter than you’ve ever seen them before. You might even want to bring along a telescope and view certain things, such as planets or stars, or even things like the Big Dipper or Orion’s Belt.
New Mexico is the Land of Enchantment and you will soon be enchanted by the beautiful surroundings you find yourself in when camping there. New Mexico is also a pretty bare state in general so when camping, it’s important to bring everything with you that you might need, and that includes your fully stocked cooler – or two if you will be gone a while – as well as lanterns so that you are able to see at night. If your lanterns are battery powered, bring batteries!