Found in the wooded foothills of the Manzanos is Manzano Mountains State Park, a popular spot for camping and for simply enjoying the incredible landscape in this part of New Mexico. Due to the remoteness of the park, it is the ideal getaway for those looking for a little peace and quiet, surrounded by stunning Ponderosa Pines and Alligator Juniper. The nearest towns include Manzano, Mountainair, Vaughn, and the city of Albuquerque is less than an hour away.
The visitor’s center and ranger’s station make a great first stop, as you’ll learn more about your unique surroundings, plus there is an interpretive area outside the center where you can further educate yourself about flora and fauna. Rent an RV in Torrance County and enjoy the beauty of the area at your own pace.
Hiking enthusiasts will enjoy the 3.5 miles of hiking trails and interpretive trails when state park RV camping. The trails wind their way around the mountain landscape, which offers some incredible views and is a good opportunity to see flora and fauna of the area. Head to the ranger’s station to pick up a trail guide so you can find your way around the park with ease. The trails are relatively easy but may still present a challenge to some people due to the mountainous landscape.
During the winter months, when snow coats the mountain, the area transforms. Shoe shoeing and cross-country skiing are the main events thanks to the well-marked trails that cross the landscape. The trails are especially scenic as many of the trees are evergreen, so there will still be plenty of life to observe when enjoying the trails. In addition, you may be able to see some of the wildlife that isis still active during the winter months, like bobcats and porcupines.
Bird watchers flock to the area to go RV camping at Manzano Mountains State Park to view the many species that live the park. Don’t forget to pack a pair of binoculars with you on your trip, as there is a huge range of birds that have made their home in the mountains such as jay, crossbills, hummingbirds, flycatchers, and tanager to name a few. In addition to the birds that stay in the park year-round, there are also many that make the park part of their route, including 18 different species of raptor.
Camping in Manzano Mountains State Park
Most people heading to the Manzano Mountains will camp directly in the state park RV campgrounds. The state park offers 30 and 50 amp electrical hookups, with nearby clean restrooms. In the main loop of the campground, there are 16 sites, around half of which are first come first served. Many come with fire rings and grills, which is great for an evening outside with friends and family. There is also a spacious group camp.
For more of a resort experience, one of the best options for those that rent a camper near Manzano Mountains State Park is the nearby Albuquerque KOA Campground. The campsites here have stunning views with 50 amp electric and 80-foot max length. There is mini-golf, a swimming pool, and hot tub for campers to use, which will certainly come in handy after a long day of exploring, and a mini-golf course that will help to keep the kids entertained. There is also a huge park for pets to enjoy, plus a general store that is well-stocked with gifts, supplies, and groceries, plus a propane filling station.
Exploring the Area
The park is located very close to the city of Albuquerque, which offers a range of things to do. For some family fun, Hinkle Family Fun Centre offers a huge range of fun activities, and you could easily spend the whole day here. There is a 7D Interactive film ride, virtual reality, gaming, a go-kart track, laser tag, bumper boats, mini-golf courses, paintball, and lots more. With some activities inside and some outside, it makes for a great day trip whatever the weather for those that have an Albuquerque camper rental.
Animal lovers head to the ABQ Bio Park, where you'll not only find a zoo, but also an aquarium, botanic garden and beach. You could spend hours at each part of the attraction individually, or spend a whole day exploring them all. The zoo is home to more than 900 animals from around the world, many of which have been part of successful conservation plans. The botanic garden has 32 acres of exhibits and showcases some incredible plants from all around the world. The aquarium showcases a variety of fish found from around the US, with the Shark Reef Cafe proving very popular.
Another great thing to do is to ride the Sandia Peak Tramway, which is the world’s longest tramway. At 10,378 feet above sea level, there is quite a view from the top. You’ll be able to see the whole of the city stretching out below you.