One of the sweetest deals anywhere is the New Mexico annual camping pass. It's good in all New Mexico State Parks
An Annual New Mexico camping pass for all the state parks? Yep, all the camping you want for a flat fee.
A few states sell annual camping passes, but nothing beats camping in New Mexico. For out of staters the New Mexico annual camping pass is $225, residents pay $180, and resident seniors pay $100.
Obviously, if you're just passing through and can only stay a week or so, the regular camping fees of $10 a night are the way to go. We know people who spent over 100 nights camping on their 2011 pass and have spent at least 50 already on their current one, so they are definitely getting their money's worth.
If you love the southwest – make sure you also check out our other posts about New Mexico:
- 9 Wildly Beautiful Road Trips in the Southwest U.S.
- The absolute BEST places to camp in Arizona for RVers 
We asked our Facebook followers about the New Mexico annual camping pass…
David said, “Amazing program. Many of the passes we look at are not available to Canadians. This one is and it's a smoking deal. We used it 2 seasons in a row and got so much good camping from it. Starting in the early fall in the Northwest corner of the state Cottonwood Campground at Navajo Lake then Fenton Lake and moved east Santa Rosa Lake, Ute Lake then southwest through Elephant Butte site 25 Percha and progressively lower elevations as it started to get colder. Rockhound site 15 and City of Rocks are super cool. Mixed in an Albuquerque Balloon fest stop as well. Great value if you can get a month or more of camping. Costs extra to make reservations for specific days and sites through their website but worth it to get the spot you want.”
Karen said, “We get the annual pass every year❤ It's a great deal! (Ssh!) Love spending our winters there. Were saddened this winter when we couldn't get one.
Favorites: Elephant Butte- South Montello, City of Rocks, Rockhound, Santa Rosa. Still to explore-eastern NM.”
The New Mexico state park website, with a map of the parks – http://www.emnrd.state.nm.us/SPD/FindaPark.html
Information about all New Mexico State Park passes, including the annual camping pass – http://www.emnrd.state.nm.us/
The New Mexico version of ReserveAmerica – http://newmexicostateparks.
A listing of information about all 50 states' park passes – http://usparks.about.com/od/usstateparks/tp/State-Park-Passes.htm
Three-Season Camping in New Mexico
New Mexico has three-season camping because of the terrain – by late February the lower desert is habitable for RVers, and you can hang out in Leasburg Dam just north of Las Cruces or Rockhound and City of Rocks near Deming, down on I-10.
If there has been any rain at all, catch the desert poppies in Rockhound. These three southernmost parks have beautiful weather in March. The only downside is the brisk spring breeze every few days as fronts blow through, and there may be flying dust – and flying lawn furniture if you aren't careful – once a week or so. Humidity is scary low and a welcome change from a dank winter back east or up north.
Campers have seen dewpoints of -10 F. Eat your sandwiches fast or the bread will be dry on the far side before you get to it.
As the weather warms up in April and daytime highs creep up toward 80 F, move on up to the parks further north and higher in altitude. We like Villanueva on the Pecos and Conchas Lake near Tucumcari. Many of the parks on reservoirs have low water levels – Storrie Lake was nearly gone when we went by there one spring. Rivers are better.
— EMNRD (@EmnrdNM) January 14, 2021
May usually finds campers and RVers up in the northern stretches. Explore Navajo Lake State Park east of Farmington, which is on the San Juan River draining down out of the Colorado Rockies. Some camp downstream from the dam in Cottonwood Campground, although there are plenty of campgrounds up around the reservoir as well.
The downstream section is some of the best trout fishing in the nation as cold clear water is released downstream. These riparian environments have some of the biggest hummingbird concentrations you have ever seen – bring a feeder and you'll have plenty of company, and a fulltime job.
We know someone who would be woken every morning with their tiny voices squawking at him early in the morning, telling him the feeder was empty -again. He kept protesting that he was retired, but they were relentless.
In the heat of the summer, there are parks up at 7000 feet, like Cimmaron Canyon and Eagle Nest. You can spend August fishing for trout in comfort if you want to. In the fall, catch the aspens turning in the mountains, then head downhill and south as the weather cools, ending up back in the desert around Thanksgiving. There's usually a two-week stay limit in each park, but with 33 parks there are many places to go.
More about the New Mexico annual camping pass
The pass is good until the end of the month that you buy it in the following year, so you can get 13 months by buying it on the first. Electricity is an additional $4 a night when available, which you can pay for with cash or check in the drop envelopes. There's a New Mexico-only version of ReserveAmerica that will reserve a spot for you for the exorbitant fee of $9.75 flat rate per reservation, but I have found that it's only necessary if you show up on Friday night or some other high-demand time. Half the sites in each park are non-reservable and first come first serve.
Tell us about your adventures in using the New Mexico annual camping pass in the comments below or in our Facebook Group.
When Jennifer and I travel to the southwest we are continually amazed at the majesty and beauty this country has to offer. And it's really hard to stay in just one state! So we created this Bundle for you in case you like to travel as we do.
We put together our Utah Guide, Colorado Guide, and our NEW Arizona Guide into this 3-State Bundle at a very reduced price!
Each of these RV travel guides is a seven-day guided exploration of some amazing places to explore in these states. And each stop is a curated view of the best things that we’ve enjoyed on these trips and want you to experience.
We provide a suggested route and itinerary, links to multiple campgrounds and boondocking spots, and the best spots to see along the way. Don’t plan your trip to the southwest without it!