A small, basic campground nestled in the forests of the Manzano Mountains in Central NM. Great base for exploring the Salinas Pueblos.
- Site Quality = 4/5
This is a small and pretty basic campground. There are only ~16 sites in the main campground loop (the rest are in the group/overflow area which is usually closed) and I would say probably ~only a handful or so accept bigger rigs. It’s a dusty road to get there, but sites are good -> decently flat compacted dirt with fire-pit, grill, picnic table (some with shelters), and 8 sites with electric (20/30/50Amp) hookups. The loop itself is a wide, dusty road with decent access. The area is heavily forested (tree views everywhere) and there’s nice separation between campers.
- Facilities = 2.5/5
Very basic facilities here. Flush toilets, but *no* showers. Group picnic area, trails, horseshoe playground and cute, little bird/squirrel feeding area. On-site dump station and several water spigots around the main loop.
- Location = 4/5
The campground is in a lovely forested location and with easy access to nearby Mountainair (shopping, galleries) and the Salinas Pueblos. The only ding is the drive to get there. Hwy 55 is long, narrow and bumpy (just barely wide enough for “the beast”) and there’s a good ~1 mile very dusty drive to get into the campground itself.
- Pet Friendliness = 5/5
Another great doggie park. Lots of space to hang around in camp and ~4 miles of hiking trails for walking in the State Park. Plenty of access to additional hiking in surrounding Cibola National Forest.
Overall Rating = 3.9
BONUS ALERT = Relax deep in the forest in Manzano Mountains
Summary: Manzano Mountain is a small, basic campground located in the Cibola Forest. It takes a good long (rather bumpy and narrow) road to get here, and there’s another dusty 1 mile to get into the campground, but once here you’ll be well away from everything. The sites are very decent. Compacted, flat dirt with nice “sitting areas”, heavily forested and good separation, but only very few (~a handful) of the 16 are large enough for big rigs. If you’re bringing in “beast size” I highly recommend reserving a site to make sure you get a spot to fit (I think only one of the non-reservation spots would have fit our size). The other amenities in the campground are very basic, just flush toilets and trails. Overall it feels more like a National Forest, rather than a State Park. The surrounding area has lots of additional hiking, cute towns (Mountainair), and interesting history (Salinas Pueblos). We found the campground very relaxing, the hosts thoroughly friendly and enjoyed our stay.
Extra Info: Barely usable 1X signal on both the smartphone and aircard (using external antenna/amp). Sites cost $10/night for non-hookup, $14/night for 50Amp electric. Camping fees can be covered with New Mexico Annual Camping Permit. Approx. half of sites are reservable, half are first-come-first-serve, but highly recommend booking ahead for bigger rigs to make sure you get a spot to fit. On-site water spigots and dump station.
Note: This campground and the entire surrounding forest was closed the day after we left the area due to high fire risk. If you’re coming within the next month, check it’s open before making the drive.
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