With over 10 miles of trails leading you through rugged mountainous terrain, Rockhound State Park offers some of the best hiking in New Mexico, making it a great choice for active RV campers.
The hills and slopes of the mountains are covered in wildflowers, making for scenic spring hiking. There are also dozens of bird species that call the park home year round, so birdwatchers will find plenty to keep themselves busy whenever they visit the park. A museum located within the park will tell you all you need to know about the local wildlife, as well as teach you about the area’s Native American history.
The campground in the park has over 20 sites with electrical hookups, so you’ll be able to camp without sacrificing comfort and find a site that fits your rig. The wide variety of terrain, natural sights, and local history make the park a must visit any time you are passing through New Mexico.
Located in southwest New Mexico, Rockhound State Park can be reached from all of the main cities in the state, as well as major cities in surrounding states.
If you plan on driving from Santa Fe, take I-25 south out of the city and you will arrive at the park in just over four hours. From Albuquerque, you’ll also take I-25 south, but you’ll get to the park in around three hours and 45 minutes. The park is just under two hours from El Paso if you take I-10.
Once you arrive at the park, the campsites are just down the road from the pay station at the park’s entrance. The road is well maintained and you won’t have to worry about any winding curves or tight turns. And there are no RV restrictions on any of the park’s main roads. There is also parking near the day use area in both the Rockhound and Spring Canyon units.
There are five sites at the main campground that can be reserved ahead of time. All of the sites have a picnic table and a fire ring, as well as an electrical hookup. The max RV length is 50 feet.
The campground has a dump station, a comfort station, picnic areas, and a playground. There is a trail that connects directly to the campground, and allows you to link up with the park’s other trails. If you brought a bike with your rig, you can also use it on the hiking trail that leads into the park.
Reservations can be made up to six months in advance, and you must book at least a day before you arrive.
There’s also a group of over 20 sites that are offered as first-come, first-served year round. Most of these sites feature electrical hookups. You’ll want to check with the park office about availability before you visit, especially if you plan on coming during the peak season.
One of the park’s main attractions is its vast network of hiking trails. There are two main units of the park, Rockhound and Spring Canyon, each featuring unique terrain for you to explore.
The Rockhound unit features rugged slopes and excellent uphill hikes. The Spring Canyon also has excellent vertical hiking, with challenging steep trails. Both units have trails with varying difficulty levels, so hikers of all ages and experience levels will be able to find one that suits them.
The hiking at the park is excellent year round, but best when the weather is mildest in spring and in fall.
If you want to take it easy after a couple days of intense hiking, head to one of the picnic areas near the RV campground for a relaxed meal. Soak in the beautiful mountains and stay until dusk for a breathtaking sunset. There’s also a day use area at the Spring Canyon unit, so you’ll be able to pack a lunch if you are hiking in this part of the park.
Rockhound State Park is one of the most popular destinations in the state for birdwatchers, with over a dozen different species found within the park. Climb to the top of one of the park’s trails and spot birds from on high.
Come at different times of the year to experience new species of birds. Birdwatchers tend to prefer the spring and fall seasons, when birds are migrating. But there are still plenty of species other times of year. You’ll find species such as black-chinned sparrow, western bluebird, ruby-crowned kinglet, and Gambel’s quail throughout the year.
With some of the most scenic hikes in the region, Rockhound State Park is a great destination for lovers of nature photography. You’ll find a wide variety of plant species, as well as dozens of bird species no matter what time of year you visit the park.
Bring your camera with you and hike during the spring for the chance to take pictures of the beautiful native wildflowers found throughout the park. Or climb to the top of one of the park’s peaks for a panoramic view of the surrounding area.
Because of its unique geology, there are multiple different layers of exposed rock at the park. This means rock collectors will be able to find a wide range of rock and mineral samples.
You’ll find different types of rocks at the park’s two units, so explore the trails in both areas if you want a sample of all the rock types in the park. The trails are open year round, so you can visit any time of the year and find samples to add to your collection.
If you’re worn out from hiking, consider parking your rig at the museum in the park. It features a small but well-curated collection of Native American artifacts, local plant life, and military memorabilia.
If you come in the spring, you can also visit the museum’s garden. It has a collection of native plants, with information on the plant and wildlife species in the park. The museum is open year-round, although hours may vary by season.