Rare are the places on this Earth that offer more jaw-dropping beauty, pristine nature, and enchanting trails as Coyote Creek State Park in New Mexico does. The vast area of 462 acres is covered in breathtaking forests with a lively stream bustling with trout. The beautiful green pines cover the hills, the riparian canyon is securely nestled in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, and the alluring scent of wild mint is spreading all over the park, providing a perfect nature’s perfume to wake you up and get you ready for the day.
Spending your well-earned vacation days in Coyote Creek State Park will provide numerous opportunities for relaxation, fishing, hiking, and learning a bit about its rich history. Flora and fauna aficionados will find plenty of plants, trees, birds, and animals to study here, and cyclists can take their mountain bike and explore the adventurous trails of the park. Setting up your rig won’t be a problem either, as the park campgrounds are open year-round and offer standard services and amenities that RV campers are looking for.
Reaching the Coyote Creek State Park should not pose a problem since the park is easily accessible from all four sides of the world. It is located in New Mexico, 17 miles north of Mora, and from there you can reach it via Highways 518 to 434. The park is about an hour’s worth of drive from Taos, and about 30 minutes from the Vietnam Veterans Memorial State Park, passing by Angel Fire to reach the final destination.
The road to the park goes through a forest. It is unlit and can be monotonous, so beware when you are heading to the park at night. The entrance is big, but it can be somewhat easy to miss, so keep your eyes peeled. Driving is not permitted on the hiking trails, but RV campers are allowed to take the main road to the RV dump station. OHV’s are not permitted in the park.
Parking is available at two spots, by the River Group Shelter, and by the Camp Host and the pay station close the park entrance. Restrooms are available at both parking lots, one of which is very close to the RV campsites with hookups.
The North Meadow Campground is located close to the entrance to the park, right by the camp host and the pay station. It has ten RV campsites with electric hookups. The sites are situated closely together, so if you are looking for a lot of privacy and space, this campground may not be for you. However, it is the best developed one in the park. A playground and a picnic area are in the proximity, the Lookout Trail and the parking lot are adjacent to the campground, and restrooms are a few minutes away. The maximum length of your RV or trailer is 35 feet, and the campground is pet-friendly.
YCC Campground is considerably smaller than the North Meadow one, as it features fewer RV sites. However, unlike in North Meadow, the actual sites are further apart, allowing you some privacy and more room for relaxation. Restrooms are very close, as well as primitive campsites, and many picnic stations. The beaver ponds are fairly close, and so are the residence shops and the iconic Moonshine Shack. The maximum number of people per site is seven, and the maximum length of your vehicle allowed is 18 feet, so, considerably smaller than at North Meadow.
Some sites are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Coyote Creek State Park boasts numerous bird species, many of which will be interesting to bird watchers. Don’t forget to bring a notebook and your bird book in your campervan, and explore the rich fauna of the area. Some of the most interesting species are the endangered willow flycatchers and its southwestern subspecies. Other animals you can watch from a distance are beavers, who seem to be moving away from the area, but watch your back – black bears, cougars, foxes, bobcats, and coyotes also live here!
Lovers of plants will find their stay in the Coyote Creek State Park quite enjoyable. Coyote willow is the most dominant. However, it is a threated species, so get informed with the park authorities before snapping off a leaf. Chokecherry and narrowleaf cottonwood, as well as the Gambel oak are plentiful here, as well as Douglas fir, limber pine, Engelmann spruce, quaking aspen, and limber pine. Many species of wildflowers grow here, as well as primroses and sunflowers.
The park has a rich history you can explore during your stay. The area was once inhabited by Native Americans before the settlers started occupying and farming the area. An American industrialist and politician Stephen Benton Elkins bought some of the community lands, and in the 1930s, the parcels were owned by Eusebio Romero, whose ranch house and moonshine shack remnants are still visible in the park. You will be taken back to the prohibition era if you visit this historic house, and feel the spirit of Native Americans throughout the area.
Fishing is the most popular activity in the park. Wake up early in the chilly morning and head down to the creek with your equipment and get ready for some of the best trout fishing in New Mexico. In the drought season, many of the beavers move up north and migrate to deeper waters, which drains the pools and allows you to catch trout easier since they have nowhere to hide. White suckers, rainbow trout, brown trout, and Rio Grande cutthroat trout can all be found here!
Another popular activity in Coyote Creek State Park is hiking, as the area has the vast Eusebio Romero Trail, also known as the Lookout Trail. Starting from the camp entrance, you can take a scenic footbridge and hike the entire trail that surrounds the park. You can stop by the Moonshine Shack or rest on one of many benches along the path. You will enjoy the shade of the trees and see numerous species of wildflowers on the way.
One of the beautiful natural occurrences that make the Coyote Creek State Park unique are the beaver ponds alongside the Coyote Creek. Beavers are among the animals that inhabit the area, and the ponds they create are gorgeous and environmentally significant ponds, and you can set up your picnic basket right by one of them! The park does have designated picnic spots by the lakes, so head to one of them and have a relaxing day outside, eating delicious food, and marveling the work of these hardworking animals.