Boondocking / Dry Camping, Off the Beaten Path Series, Travel Destinations & Stories

Off the Beaten Path in New Mexico. Our Top Picks!

After 3 years of travel, we find that each one of our bucket list checkmarks comes with a bigger list of things we didn’t see, but now must go back and see! We live and travel full time in our RV and New Mexico was one of our biggest surprises. When we thought of NM we thought of desert, dry, and flat. OH ~ it’s to the contrary! Check out our list of amazing places! Come back often!

Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument

Located near Cochiti. Many people zip right past Tent Rocks when traveling between Santa Fe and Albuquerque without even realizing it’s there. At this national monument, you can hike in between a slot canyon, and up to a mesa that affords unsurpassable views of New Mexico. These rock formations are located off NM-22

The Town of Chloride

Located in Sierra County If you’re a fan of ghost towns of the Old West, you’ll want to check out Chloride. The town supported numerous businesses including a mercantile, a hotel, and a butcher’s shop. The one bank wasn’t able to survive but it was turned into a saloon. Clearly, folks here knew how to have a good time. A handful of people still live in town but it’s essentially a ghost town

Turquoise Trail

Venture off the freeway and onto the Turquoise Trail National Scenic Byway, and you’ll see what we mean.

The Scenic and Historic Area encompass 15,000 square miles in the heart of central New Mexico, linking Albuquerque and Santa Fe. The drive is approximately 50 miles along Highway 14. Enjoy a breathtaking view from atop Sandia Crest, then drive back into history through the mining towns of Golden, Madrid, and Cerrillos, now coming alive with art, crafts, theater, music, museums, and restaurants.

Camel Rock

This rock formation truly does look like a resting camel. Easy to find – No hiking involved!  Just off a highway exit, across from the Camel Rock Casino. 

2020 update on Camel Rock – Someone posted that the nose has fallen off. So maybe it doesn’t look much like a camel anymore.

Blue Hole

This is super cool!! The Blue Hole of Santa Rosa is a circular, bell-shaped pool east of Santa Rosa, New Mexico that is one of the most popular dive destinations in the SCUBA diving and training. It is a clear blue body of water with a constant 62* and constant inflow of 3,000 US gallons per minute. That is an incredible amount of water! While the surface is only 80 feet in diameter, it expands to a diameter of 130 feet at the bottom.

Bisti Badlands

This was our favorite little hidden gem! Little visited and largely unknown, the Bisti Badlands is an amazingly scenic and colorful expanse of undulating mounds and unusual eroded rocks covering 4,000 acres, hidden away in the high desert of the San Juan Basin that covers the distant northwest corner of New Mexico, yet this area is just one of many similar regions in the region, the remainder even less publicized.

Some pictures and video of our trip to Bisti

The badlands are administered by the BLM (Bureau of Land Management), are free to enter, and are known officially, but less evocatively as the Bisti Wilderness Area. The best way to find this area is actually GPS coordinates which are 36.259, -108.252 (this is the BLM trailhead). You gotta see this place!!! It’s amazing. Click here to see our blog where we visited this area!


You won’t have a problem finding boondocking places in New Mexico. Here are 2 great suggestions!

  • Beautiful views! Red Cloud – County Road A023 – Corona, New Mexico – GPS: 34.208941, -105.752795 – Great cell coverage!
  • There is an unbelievable amount of boondocking in the Santa Fe National Forest. Camp May again has plenty of room and great cell service. GPS: 35.897666, -106.398786

We’d love to hear your off the beaten path places you’ve seen in New Mexico. Make sure you leave your comments below! We definitely will be going back to New Mexico to do some more exploring! Share your hidden gems with us!

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9 thoughts on “Off the Beaten Path in New Mexico. Our Top Picks!”

  1. Camel Rock has changed as a couple of years ago the nose fell off so it looks like a fighter who got punched in the nose.

    1. OH NO! Ha Ha I wonder if they’ll change the name! Ha!! Thanks for the information. Safe travels.

  2. We have been to many places on your list and you gave us a few more ideas. Tent rocks is a must and the slot canyons are awesome.

    1. Thank you for your comment. There are so many things to see in our country when taking the roads less traveled. The popular places aren’t to be missed either, but it’s so fun to share places that are less crowded and less known. Travel safe, and thank you again!

  3. We are planning a western states trip for April and May of this year and your ideas are great. We were going to blast through New Mexico until we saw your blog. Thank you. Can’t wait to slow down and check out the scenery.

    1. Definitely don’t miss NM! It’s amazing. Have a beautiful time and safe travels!

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