Exit 83

You may say camping in the New Mexico desert is hot and dry with limited recreation. I say not so! There is so much diversity in New Mexico. There is almost everything in this state from high desert to mountain to a place to park your boat. I submit Elephant Butte State park in central New Mexico right off the I-25 corridor at Exit 83.

Elephant Butte State Park, NM is the largest lake/reservoir in the state. Bring your jet ski (I am talking to you Stacy), boat, and/or kayak! There is dry camping along the lakeside and electrical hookups with dump station for your RV with truly amazing views. Here are some photos from our trip in May.

Elephant Butte State Park, NM 2015

Elephant Butte State Park, NM 2015

Elephant Butte State Park, NM 2015

Elephant Butte State Park, NM 2015

Camping in New Mexico state parks is relatively cheap (in my opinion). Here is the cost break down: $8 per night no hookups $14 per night with electrical.  However, there are annual camping passes available: $180 with includes tent camping or your RV plus tow vehicle for in state residents and $225 annually for out of state residents (lower if you are a senior or disabled). This is unlimited as much as you want for that price! Now for sites with hookups, you pay the difference daily of the no hookup fee. So you have the annual pass…you pay $6 per night at the time of camping if you choose a site with electrical. OH and did I mention there is free WIFI?  There are WIFI towers all over the areas that have site numbers. You may need a WIFI booster depending on what site you choose and you do have a 14 day limit at some campgrounds.

OK so there is the good…Now for some gritty realities…We did have some reservation problems with the annual pass.  When we went to book online, it would not recognize the annual pass.  I called the park and was told to go ahead and make a reservation and they would refund me the difference in a matter of two days.  Ummm well, it took about a month to get the money back to my account. So, there are some improvements that could happen with the reserve america system and the New Mexico annual pass.  Hopefully, this will get fixed soon.  But if you go to reserve and it doesn’t show the discount… BEWARE… it is a known problem. Ways around this? I would go directly to the park for reservations or gamble on a boondocking adventure near the lake.

Campsite 8 View

Campsite 8 View

Here is the view from our campsite number 8. There are quail everywhere and they wander around like they own the place.  The campsite was huge.  Certainly large enough to have a vehicle and a boat or truck and trailer or even a large RV. The weather can be unpredictable so be prepared!

Let’s talk stars for a moment. I almost cried the first night we were there. Very little if any light pollution.  I felt like I was surrounded in stars and could actually see where the earth’s curve was.  I have never seen so many stars in my life! It made the trip for me and I couldn’t wait to see more. I needed to see more!

Very close to the park is something that you definitely need to experience! The town of Truth or Consequences, NM has natural mineral Hot Springs! Go experience some of the Baths and Spas in town. T or C has one of the highest natural mineral counts in the USA. I am not sure it is a cure for anything but who cares? Still awesome and not to be missed!

– Mara



  1. Tina says:

    Just an FYI if you purchase an annual pass, it is good for any state park in New Mexico .


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