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Open Roads Forum  >  RV Parks, Campgrounds and Attractions

 > Northern New Mexico state parks

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Earl E

Green Valley, AZ

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Posted: 07/01/12 09:35pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We're heading out of the Tucson heat in a couple weeks. We would love to spend some time in Northern NM where it is cooler. Do you have any recommendations for great state parks in the mountains? Thanks.


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rexlion

Broken Arrow OK

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Posted: 07/01/12 10:43pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hyde SP east of Santa Fe is nice, but not sure if it's that much cooler despite the elevation gain.

DesertHawk

Las Cruces, New Mexico

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Posted: 07/01/12 11:10pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Cimarron Canyon SP is in a high elevation...three miles east of Eagle Nest along US 64...should be cool & very pretty with a few streams running through. Eagles Nest SP has a small campground now as well & is at 8,300 feet in elevation, the park offers a cool retreat from the summer heat for fisherman, boaters, campers and wildlife enthusiasts. The new campground offers 19 dry sites with a vault toilet and community water available.

Fenton Lake SP is a small park at 7900' elevation. Neat area.

At 8,500', Hyde Park SP should be a cool retreat, not many electric sites as I remember, & right off the highway. Up from Santa Fe Sites & Sights.

Not as high in elevation (7,200 feet), but should be somewhat cool, Heron Lake State Park has a nice lake and hiking trails and creek fishing. The state park is about 20 miles from Chama, about 30 minutes. Heron Lake is an anglers delight, stocked with Rainbow Trout and Kokanee Salmon. *Heron lake has 6,000-acre normal surface acres. The lake has approximately 35 miles of shoreline. Maximum depth at the dam is 215 feet when full and 142 feet at minimum storage level (7,186 feet elevation). Lake is restricted to sailing and no-wake speed operation of motorboats. Coldwater fishery. Rainbow trout, brown trout, lake trout, carp, and kokanee salmon. Optimum fishing levels around 7,170' Ice fishing depending on conditions. One can will find good lake kayak/canoe exploration above the Narrows up Willow Creek and along the west side from the West Side Primitive Camping area. Another day can be spent exploring some of the Rio Chama Canyon with water backed up the Canyon where it enters El Vado Lake. North Ramp Access point for that paddle is just 2 miles west of Heron Lake on the way to the Stone House Lodge on NM 95.

We have spent a bit of time at Heron Lake State Park near Chama, NM going back several years in the summers. But have not been there in some time. We did have a canoe and enjoyed canoeing on it. Chama is a neat place with a very nice steam train ride up into Colorado. The Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad. They fish the Chama River as well as the creek leading from Heron Lake to El Vado Lake. Rail Road

Heron Lake State Park: One can drive, bike or walk to a section of Vado Lake State Park, but Vado Lake allows speed boats, canoed a lot on *Heron, even canoed on the section of Vado by Heron up the Rio Chama which is "flooded" or backed up by Vado Lake water for some distance until it became two shallow to canoe easily). One can hike down from the Dam Area to the Rio Chama at Heron. As we were canoeing back from the flooded Rio Chama a speed boad up on plane came charging at us. But it turned before getting very close. Close enough at the time. Didn't know if he could see us or not. We were waving our paddles. We entered Vado at the North Boat Ramp. We were just getting back close to the Boat Ramp site.

It is hard to find a less expensive place to camp than New Mexico State Parks. Unlike Texas and Colorado state parks, no entry fees on top of the camping fees. Free showers and nice restrooms as well and for $4 more you can have electric, too.

If time allows check out the wool weavers workshop Tierra Wools in Los Ojos near the turn off to Heron Lake SP. Clicky

Two neat stops, north of Abiquiu, worth a see would be the Echo Amphitheater, a Natural rock formation, and the Ghost Ranch Piedra Lumbre Education and Visitor Center, located on U.S. Highway 84 just one mile north of the main Ghost Ranch entrance, has exhibits and a gift shop. A very nice museum in "O┬┤Keefe Country." The Echo Amphitheater is past the visitor center some miles.


">DesertHawk- Las Cruces, NM USA
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PenMan

New Mexico

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Posted: 07/02/12 09:52am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Be sure to check before you actually go. The Forest Service is talking about closing a lot of these parks due to the extreme fire danger. Hopefully we'll get some rain soon so they won't have to close.


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maria_bettina

Auburn, CA

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Posted: 07/02/12 10:11pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We stayed at Fenton Lake a couple years ago, and I recommend to stay away from it. It was dirty, closely packed sites, but it's true that the area is beautiful. My husband grew up around there, so we saw Soda Dam (just north of Jemez Springs) and Spence Hot Springs. Within the park, we saw beaver, and I was able to jog a bit on the road from one end to the other and there's a trail around the lake and along the creek. But again, I wouldn't go back there to overnight.

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