Looking for more more stops on a New Mexico RV Tour? Enjoy Part 3 of our travel through one the most beautiful areas of this country.
We've written about New Mexico for years. It is an amazing state and “Land of Enchantment” really sums it up.
In this recent series of posts – we traveled from Amarillo to Roswell enjoying all sorts of odd places, including the aliens at Area 51. Then we traveled from Roswell to Ruidoso and on through White Sand National Park, Carlsbad Caverns, and then ending in Cornudas, TX.
And now, after leaving Cornudas, you’ll continue on the Texas Mountain Highway to El Paso, TX. If you are interested in staying, El Paso boasts the El Paso Zoo, El Paso Museum of Art, the National Border Patrol Museum, and fabulous, authentic Mexican fare among other things.
It is surrounded by the Franklin Mountains and the state park is one of the largest urban parks in the nation.
On the Edge of the Chihuahuan Desert
You’ll head out of El Paso via Hwy 1-10 W to Las Cruces, NM. It is a lovely city situated on the edge of the Chihuahuan Desert, surrounded by mountain ranges, with the Rio Grande running through it.
Be sure to check out the Recycled Roadrunner Sculpture located right off Hwy 1-10.
Mesilla is the old part of the city more than 100 years old. For the adventurous, there are multiple hiking paths within 20 miles of the city.
More New Mexico RV Tour stops – Dripping Sands Natural Area
10 miles east of Las Cruces is Dripping Springs Natural Area located in the Organ Mountains. It will cost $5 to access the trail but it is worth it. It’s about a 4-mile hike and is billed as easy but at times it can be strenuous.
Before heading out take water, snacks, and sunblock. At the end of the trail, you will find a small waterfall and the historic ruins of the Van Patten Mountain Camp which was later converted into a sanitorium. The trail is beautiful and the vistas breathtaking.
Leaving Las Cruces you will head for Silver City, NM which you can use as your base camp for the Gila National Forest.
The Gila National Forest, 3.3 million acres of unrivaled beauty, is where the bear, the elk, and the mountain lions play.
Hwy 15 heading out of Silver City to the Gila Cliff Dwellings is 36 miles of hair-raising turns, epic vistas, and 1000 foot drop-offs.
RV’s are not encouraged but it is an unforgettable car trip.
The trail to the Cliff Dwellings is a moderately strenuous one-mile round trip that takes about 2 hours and includes 661 stairs. Don’t be frightened off by that, take it slow, stop, enjoy the scenery and soon you will reach the top.
The site features the cave ruins of the Mogollon people who lived there approximately 750 years ago.
It is mind-boggling to think that they hauled all the material up the mountain face. It is a simply magical place.
Treat yourself to a soak at the hot springs at Gila River Hot Springs afterward.
It’s only about 5 miles from the cliff dwelling and it is pure pleasure after a morning or afternoon of hiking. It features three different pools of varying temperatures. Can you say aaaahhh…
They have a Day Rate in case you just want to soak in the hot springs, or stay in the campground and really soak it in!
Jimmy, who came to the area over 25 years ago “thanked his guardian angels” for directing him there. You’ll likely be thanking yours as well.
Silver City, whether you travel to the Gila National Forest or not, is a great destination in itself. It borders the Continental Divide and is nestled in the foothills of the Pinos Altos Mountains.
It boasts a colorful history dating back to1870 when silver was discovered.
Some of its more famous characters are Billy the Kid, Geronimo, and Judge Roy Bean.
The city has an eclectic vibe and boasts art galleries on every corner and in every nook and cranny. The Big Ditch Nature area in the middle of town is a quiet oasis. It’s called Big Ditch because 2 floods carved out a “big ditch” where the original downtown was located and washed everything away down to bedrock.
The town has a lively downtown and hosts different events during the year. A stroll down Main Street and dinner at one of the many restaurants make for a pleasant day. There are multiple RV parks in and around the city.
Another must-see in Silver City is the Western New Mexico University Museum. The museum is top-notch and features an extensive collection of Mimbres pottery. The admission is free and it is well worth seeing.
New Mexico RV Tour Must-See Stops
If you are using Silver City as a base camp, there are a number of must-see things within 75 miles on Hwy 180.
The drive is absolutely spectacular as you skirt the western edge of the 3-million-acre Gila Wilderness. You’ll pass several Elk crossing signs and pass through incredible valleys and vistas gazing up at the high country some 7000 – 10,000 feet elevation.
About 50 miles away is Catwalk Recreation Area, a fabulous pink granite gorge in the Mogollon Mountains, and is a must-see stop.
This is National Park does require an entrance fee. If you have the Senior Pass just display it on your dash.
In the mid-1930s, the Civilian Conservation Corps rebuilt the Catwalk bridge system. Little waterfalls, massive boulders, and huge trees line the pathway as well as catwalks over the gorge. It is a unique experience. The hiking is not strenuous and the scenery is breathtaking.
If you continue down the road you will come upon the city of Alma.
This is a great stop because there really isn’t anything else if you want a bite to eat. The café is open from 7:00 – 3:00 and is closed on Thursdays. If you miss either of these deadlines, the Alma Store features items from the menu.
International Dark Sky Sanctuary
The Cosmic Campground is about 5 miles north. This is a certified International Dark Sky Sanctuary, one of only 14 in the world. It offers a 360-degree unobstructed view of the night sky. Yes, you do need to stay overnight.
It’s primitive camping but it’s free and the night sky is, well, cosmic.
Coyotes will serenade you as night falls. The first star you see is Venus. Around 10 PM the Milky Way will begin glowing above you. At midnight and beyond the incredible array of stars and constellations and the glowing brightness of the Milky Way is absolutely stunning.
This is high country so be sure to dress appropriately. Don’t let this opportunity pass you by. There are only 14 dark sky sanctuaries in the world. You might even feel like saying “Beam Me Up”
New Mexico is billed as the Land of Enchantment. Come see, it will blow your mind.
What's your favorite place in New Mexico?
Let us know in the comments here or on our social posts.
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