Looking for a place out of doors to spend the night? With 325+ days of sunshine each year, Santa Fe is a great place to camp and enjoy the starlight. Here are a few recommendations for places to pitch your tent.
Campgrounds & RV/Sprinter Sites
Hyde Park & Black Canyon
Located 8 miles from downtown, Hyde Memorial State Park and Black Canyon Campground provide a great option for groups, families and those towing a trailer or driving an RV. While very popular in summer, there’s still a decent chance you can find a spot on non-holiday weekends.
The location is above 8,000′ and is usually fully or partially closed throughout the winter. The trade-off, though, is that during the summer months you’ll be enjoying cool mountain nights in the aspens a short jaunt from Santa Fe.
The nearest trailhead is Borrego and Bear Wallow, which is on the edge of the park and will connect you to the other mountain trails.
Rancheros de Santa Fe & Santa Fe KOA
Just off of Interstate 25 and east of town lie two options for RV and Class B hookups. Rancheros de Santa Fe Campground offers full hookups, reservations, pool, bathrooms, showers and a large list of other amenities. They’re open from March 15 – November 1st and accept reservations.
KOA Santa Fe is likewise a good option with full hookups, showers, etc. Similar location off of Interstate 25 and open year-round.
Both of these options are ideal for those looking to ride Glorieta Adventure Camps, Arroyo Hondo, Galisteo Basin or just looking for great amenities in the foothills.
No neighbors, no hookups, no worries. Fortunately, Santa Fe is surrounded by BLM and Forest Service land making dispersed camping a great option. There are two primary areas to consider:
Between the village of Chupadero and connecting near the Ski Basin lies Pacheco Canyon road, also known as Forest Road 102. This graded forest road provides access to the Santa Fe National Forest for about half the year, or at least until the snow melts.
Along the road, there are plenty of dispersed camping areas, some along the creek. Please, please, please! respect the fire conditions warnings and practice no-trace camping principles. Likewise, there are a few areas of Tesuque Pueblo land, which do not allow camping. Please respect their sovereignty.
The road itself is passable by most vehicles with the exception of lower sedans, small cars, etc. But, this is still a high-elevation mountain road, so be prepared for inclement weather and cold nights.
Caja del Rio
This large swath of BLM land West of town is ideal in the shoulder seasons and most of the winter. There is a network of doubletrack ranching roads that lead in every direction. You can camp just about anywhere and you will see fire rings where others have set up shop.
This is prime desert camping, so expect big views, clear skies, and warmer weather compared to the mountains.
Most vehicles should find access easy, although some roads get downright difficult and will push even the most seasoned 4×4 driver. WARNING: the roads are borderline impassable when wet and a good snowfall will turn the mud into a thick clay that will stop any vehicle.