February 13 – 26, 2017 – When I started posting that I was passing through New Mexico on my way back to Arizona, a good friend who knows what a complete rock nut I am told me that I absolutely must visit City of Rocks State Park. I hadn’t even heard of this state park before and at first I wasn’t totally convinced since it looked like it was in the middle of nowhere and about 30 miles from my main route along IH-10. But she and pictures I saw convinced me it would be a worthwhile detour, and I’ll always be thankful for that advice.
When I saw paths that allow you to get up close and personal with the rocks, as well as camping options to sleep among them, I was stoked and could hardly wait to start exploring! (Hike Among the Rocks page coming soon. You won’t believe these formations!)
Overview of the campgrounds with the sites with water and electric in the foreground and the no hookup sites closest to the rocks, including a loop around the other side. (Campground details)
It was a real pleasure for me to meet the Park Manager, Gabriel Medrano. I’ve always found it adds a lot to my visits when the rangers love sharing their knowledge of the park and Gabe’s enjoyment of his job here was obvious.
This spot is his favorite and there is a picnic table nearby where he takes his kids frequently and he told me how much they love living here and feel lucky their home is a park. He says the most unique feature of this park is how campers can stay so close and cuddled within the rocks. One of the most enjoyable parts of his job is taking school kids on field trips around the park. He gets a big kick out of seeing their eyes light up when they enjoy learning something new.
Lots of opportunities for that exist, including ancient petroglyphs and Native American grinding stones, evidence of the earliest occupants of this land. Here Gabriel showed me the hidden Kokopelli, protected within a little alcove by a smaller rock to prevent bleaching out. Ask at the visitor center for where this and other petroglyphs are located.
Gabriel has been a Ranger since 2008 and has been the manager here since 2013. He laughed when he said he has always loved it here, even when he could call it his “little park” when it was just 686 acres. Now that it’s over 2,900 acres, there’s just more to love!
More Info on City of Rocks:
Location: 30 miles north of Deming via US 180; 30 miles south of Silver City via US 180. GPS Coordinates: 32.59028, -107.97583
Fees: $5.00 day use fee. When camping overnight, day use fee is not charged in addition to the camping charge.
Activities: Trails, bird watching and wildlife viewing, botanical garden, star parties, ranger led walks.
Future Plans: An amphitheater and education center is planned for meeting for the ranger led walks, star parties and other activities.
Busiest Times: February and March, then October and November. There is also heavy day use, not just overnight camping.
True Overview – (35 seconds)
Formed of volcanic ash 30 million years ago and sculpted by wind and water into rows of monolithic blocks, City of Rocks State Park takes its name from these incredible rock formations. The rock formations at the park are so unique that they are only known to exist in six other places in the world.
New Mexico True TV (3:12 min.)
Located halfway between Silver City and Deming, the stunning landscapes at City of Rocks State Park are otherworldly and the sunsets are out of this world! Whether you’re a camper, mountain biker or stargazer, you’ll find an amazing place to do it at City of Rocks.
All Malia’s Miles Pages on City of Rocks:
Transparency/Disclaimer: I do barter whenever possible for review space on my website. It’s one of the ways that help support my travel habit and keeps this site free to readers. But I always make it clear that my reviews are my honest opinion, can never be bought at any price and if I wasn’t satisfied, I would also state that (just like I do Pros and Cons on every campground I review, whether it’s bartered or not).