Villanueva State Park lies nestled within the high red sandstone bluffs of New Mexico. The park sits along the Pecos River, near the picturesque Spanish-colonial village of Villanueva. This charming riverside park is situated in a stunning canyon of red and yellow sandstone cliffs. Native trees and shrubs, including towering cottonwoods, add contrasting color to the landscape. Guests to the park will find this a prime location to indulge in outdoor activities. The park offers guests space to enjoy water sports as well as hiking, horseback riding, and bird watching.
Villanueva State Park blends well into the surrounding environment and maintains adobe-style picnic shelters that were designed and are grouped to resemble a Spanish hamlet. This offers guests a nostalgic experience akin to what they would have experienced in the area in earlier times. Guests will find a footbridge that provides access to trails leading along the river to a prehistoric Indian ruin and a cliff-top vantage point nearby.
Guests to Villanueva State Park will find 33 camping sites within the park. These sites can accommodate RV’s up to 50-feet in length. Many sites offer electric and water hookup. The camp sites offer gravel space to park your RV. Each site provides guests with a fire ring and picnic table. Amenities include drinking water, a dump station, restrooms with vault toilets, hot showers, and a visitor’s center.
RV Rentals in Villanueva State Park
Transportation in Villanueva State Park
The park's address is:
Villanueva State Park
PO BOX 40
Villanueva, NM 87583
Villanueva State Park is located approximately 60 miles north of Santa Fe, NM and 30 miles south of Las Vegas, NM. Those coming from Las Vegas, NM will head south along I-25 and travel approximately 21 miles. Turn left onto NM-3/Dodge Dr. Continue along NM-3/Dodge Dr for approximately 13 miles. This road will lead you directly to the park office.
There is no access to public transportation in the park.
Campgrounds and parking in Villanueva State Park
Campsites in Villanueva State Park
Villanueva State Park
A visit to Villanueva State Park lets you camp among the cottonwoods, juniper, prickly pear, and pines over-night. The park maintains 33 camping sites that can accommodate RV’s up to 50-feet in length. Many sites offer electric and water hookup. The camp sites offer gravel space to park your RV. Each site has a fire ring and picnic table. Most camp sites in the upper campground have shelters designed to look like buildings constructed by early settlers. There are also shelters at many of the lower campground sites.
Due to the many stylized shelters maintained in the campground guests will feel as if they are staying in an early village. The shelters are useful for shade and remind one of early times. Most of the camp sites offer shade and rustic tranquility. Those sites near the river allow guests to relax to the sound of rushing water and relax in the cool breeze that often blows across the Pecos River
Villanueva State Park also maintains a group shelter that accommodates up to 100 people for day use only.
Seasonal activities in Villanueva State Park
Guests to Villanueva State Park with an interest in geocaching will find several caches in the park area. The New Mexico State Park Diamond Anniversary cache is of normal size and easily located in mild terrain. You'll take a short hike from the parking area near the junction of two trails. Stay on the trail until within a few feet of the cache. For added fun, continue up the trail for another quarter mile or so to find GCZW7P. Guests will also find good views from the top of the canyon here. Those guests with reserves of energy can also add the two and a half-mile loop trail on the south side of the river. At the top, guests can locate GCGAEZ and GCWYKZ while enjoying more spectacular views.
Although the Pecos River has miles of prime water to fish along the road, the glory of springtime in the Rockies is found in the fantastic New Mexico wilderness. Guests to Villanueva State Park are invited to cast a line sitting under one of the native cottonwood trees. Rainbow trout are stocked in both the spring and fall. The vast Pecos River offers miles and miles of trout streams flush with fish. June is a perfect month for backpacking and fishing as no bugs or dangerous lightning storms have arrived yet, but temperatures are warm.
Swimming and boating
The Pecos River is an ideal place to cool off in the hot New Mexico summer. Swimming and wading in the river is one of guest's favorite activity in the park during the summer months. The river is also popular with kayakers and canoeists during years of ample spring runoff. Enjoy a relaxing day-long float through rugged, remote canyon lands covering about 19 miles to a take out at U.S. 84 at Tecolotito.
The Pecos river runs primarily through National Forest land starting a couple miles downstream of the state park and is a delightful float of relative ease.
Nuestra Senora De Guadalupe Church
At Villaneuva State Park, you'll be astonished to find the Nuestra Senora De Guadalupe Church with its colcha tapestry in the nearby town of Villaneuva. This is a simple country church with a rock front and stuccoed walls. In the early 1970's the parish priest suggested that the community have a Bicentennial project. The women of the congregation decided to embroider a cocha tapestry that celebrated their faith and community. 31 women from Villanueva and the mission churches it serves created embroidered panels edged in dried chollo cactus. The panels encircle the church and extend up into the choir loft.
The panels, individually designed and embroidered, depict scenes like the "Mother Earth" or "Creation" with a riot of trees, rivers, streams, and native animals. People who lived in the community are shown and named within the tapestry. Community events such as saints days are depicted. Several panels are adorned with traditional New Mexican "dichos" or sayings stitched into the panel. This is an extraordinary display of faith and community using a very traditional folk art.
Guests to Villanueva State Park with an interest in history will enjoy a visit to the Blorieta Pass Battlefield in Pecos, NM. Many people are unaware of the designs the confederate army had on the south western part of the United States. The Glorieta Pass Battlefield was the site of an Civil War battle that ended Confederate ambitions to cut off the West from the Union. The Battle of Glorieta Pass occurred on March 26–28, 1862, at Glorieta Pass. This battle took place on the Santa Fe Trail between the Pecos River and Santa Fe, New Mexico.Today guests to the site can hike a 2.35 mile trail across the historic battlefield. The battlefield and historic pass are now bisected by Interstate 25. The two portions of the battlefield, owned by the National Park Service, became a National Historic Landmark in 1961.
Visitors to Villanueva State Park with an interest in hiking will find several trails here. The park maintains a two and a half-mile loop trail that offers a stunning vista of the canyon. This Viewpoint Loop Trail guides guests deep into the canyon where they can stroll under the shade of cotton wood trees. The park also maintains a .83-mile El Cerro Trail. This trail begins with a steep incline. Overall the trail provides a gentle climb to the overlook point and is less challenging than the loop trail. Alternatively, there's also a .3-mile River Trail.