This was one of my all-time favorite places to stay and explore in New Mexico. Another RVer friend who knows of my fascination with interesting rocks told me even if I had to go out of my way, I had to check out City of Rocks State Park in Faywood, NM. When you see what all I did here, you’ll know why I’m eternally grateful I followed that advice!
Distant view of campground seen from the entrance road showing mostly the sites with water and electric, but a couple of the non-hookup sites are seen closer to the rocks. Most of the sites seen here in the foreground have water and electric service. Separate page with details on sites with Water/Electric hookups.
This shows the sites on the backside of the loop with no hookups. Separate page with details on sites with no hookups.
View from Observation Point, a winding drive that takes you a little higher in elevation (5,320′). There is a circular parking lot up here where you are allowed to camp after checking with the Visitor Center. No hookups, but since there is a picnic table, fire ring/grill and vault toilet here, it is considered a Developed Site. See info on rates breakdown below. The road up there is not paved and has a sign saying the road is rough and not recommended for RVs, so use caution. I did see some mid sized rigs up there during the time I was there.
The Orion Group Area is available by reservation only directly with the park. Capacity is at least 6 RVs and this area has been used by Boy Scout and other clubs and groups. There are no hookups here, but does have a large covered picnic area.
Basic Campground Info:
Location/Contact: 327 Hwy 61 — Faywood, NM 88034 — 575-536-2800 (Park Office)
Campground Site Map – There are 52 developed campsites in the main campground. “Developed” means they have a picnic table, fire pit/grill and trash can at each site. Note that rates below are as of my visit in February, 2017. The $5.00 day use fee is not charged in addition to the camping charge.
Great deals with New Mexico Passes: Fees, Permits, Rentals – This site outlines all of charges for New Mexico state parks, including day use and overnight camping fees. The charges are consistent throughout the state, so you don’t have to check every park for differences. Check out the annual permits which offer the best deals, especially if you camp a lot. I spoke to several folks here who were using the Annual Camping Permit. Residents pay $180 (Seniors $100) and that covers all their camping for 12 months after purchase. Out of state residents pay more ($225), but there are other discounts for people who are disabled and veterans.
I called to clarify some of the details on this because it seemed too good to be true, but it is. So the Annual Camping Permit covers both primitive and developed sites at no extra charge. “Developed” sites mean those with picnic table, fire ring/grill and trash can. Sites with hookups (water and electric) are an additional $4.00/night. Sites with full hookups (water, electric and sewer) are an additional $8.00/night.
When paying camping fees, whether you use the passes or not, no day use fees are charged and also no taxes are paid on camping rates.
Reservations: Reserve America – 877-664-7787. Reservation fees are non-refundable and are based on number of nights reserved. One night = $4; two nights = $8; 3 or more nights = $12. Click here for more information on reservation policies, including cancellation fees.
The only sites available to be reserved in advance online are:
Electric Sites: E-7 and E-8 only. (See Electric Sites details)
No-Hookup Sites: #9 in the main campground and 15, 16, 17, 18 and 19 in the Pegasus North loop. (See No-Hookup Sites details). Generators can be used here except during quiet hours (10 pm – 7 am).
Pull-Through Sites: Electric sites E-5 to E-10. The majority of the no-hookup sites among the rocks are pull through.
Length of Stay: 14 day limit – then you must leave the park for 6 consecutive days before returning.
Amenities: Water faucets and vault toilets are located throughout the campground. Trash cans are located at each site and at other locations throughout the campground. There are also showers at the visitor center at the front of the campground.
Pet Friendly: No extra charge for pets. All pets must be on leash and cleaned up after; dog pens are allowed. Dogs are allowed on the trails.
Satellite TV: All the sites with electric and water service are out in the open and have no problem getting satellite TV. I guess if you were among the rocks and situated where they were in the way, it could be an issue. A couple of local channels come in via antenna from Albuquerque.
Internet/Wi-Fi/Cell Phone: There is no wi-fi at the campground. Verizon has a tower nearby and works great. My jetpack got a steady 4G signal. My phone showed 3G sometimes, but I had no problem surfing with it and could make and receive calls and texts. According to a couple of people I talked to, though, no service at all with AT&T. However, I later met another couple who said they could get AT&T service on their phones at the top of Observation Point, so you might at least check that out. You can drive or hike up there.
Dump: There is no dump station within the park. Nearby dumps (from SaniDumps.com): Silver City and Deming (each about 30 miles away). When I talked to Gabe (Park Manager), I asked if there were any plans to add one and he said not currently because of the difficulty in drilling through the rock, capacity of septic tank in this kind of environment, etc.
Readers have asked for short recaps of pros and cons about the parks I visit. I realize this is subjective stuff and what bothers some people, others won’t have a problem with, and vice versa. As a fulltime RVer, I like things that weekend campers can do without. But, based on my own observations and/or comments from others, here goes:
Endlessly fascinating rock formations. Hiking among them or viewing from a distance was always a treat.
Really dark night sky with excellent star gazing (monthly star parties with telescopes). It is also incredibly quiet and peaceful.
The park is kept immaculately clean. I usually can’t stand to go into vault toilets due to the inevitable smell, but there was never that problem here.
The entire campground is nicely laid out with plenty of space between the sites, even in the electric & water section.
Some of the sites are so large that two RVs can fit in one site. This is allowed as long as each RV pays the camping fee. I think this is a great benefit for those traveling together, especially if site availability is limited.
Having no dump station is the biggest drawback I saw and mentioned most often by other campers I talked to.
Since it is 30 miles from the closest towns for shopping, laundry, etc. (Deming and Silver City), be sure to stock up before arrival. The visitor center has a soft drink machine, but no snacks.
Some of the sites among the rocks are deceptively unlevel. I saw several folks in larger RVs with tires jacked in the air who said they thought it looked like it would be easier to level in since the sites are so large.
Since the campground sites can be used by day use only folks, I heard that sometimes it can be hard to find a site in the middle of the day, especially on weekends.
The winds can be pretty wicked here at times. During the two weeks I was here, there were a few days where winds were 25-35 mph with gusts to 50, so I pulled in my slides in order to keep the toppers from ripping. When it rains, the roads can get muddy around the non-hookup sites, but I asked and heard no campers ever got stuck.
Malia’s 2 Cents: I was convinced to come here for the rocks since the friend who insisted I come here knows what a rock nut I am. I totally enjoyed my time hiking among them and playing the “that looks like…” game. It felt like a magical world walking around those boulders and just sitting among them and pondering the people who used to occupy this land. Being able to camp here and have my cozy home waiting for me when I was pooped out from hiking was the best!
Your Two Cents? The only way I know if the reviews and research I present are helpful to you is if I hear from you. I sure would appreciate your feedback in Comments below. I do have some pictures of a few individual sites and if you want to see any, leave comment below and I will post here.
All Malia’s Miles pages on City of Rocks:
Sites named for constellations: Much research was done by a volunteer to identify sites where the constellations can be viewed at certain times of the year.
RV Park Reviews: Several reviews over the years from fellow RVers.
Campsite Photos.com: Pictures of all the sites.
Campendium: The neat thing about this place is that the campsites are interspersed throughout the rocks themselves – meaning you can camp right alongside the boulders.
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).