Nestled in the heart of northern New Mexico, Taos is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts seeking adventure and natural beauty. With its picturesque landscapes, rugged mountains, and serene rivers, the region offers a wide array of camping options that allow visitors to immerse themselves in the stunning surroundings. Whether you’re a seasoned camper or a novice explorer, this guide will provide you with valuable insights into the top camping near Taos, ensuring an unforgettable outdoor experience.
The Ultimate Guide to Camping Near Taos
Best Camping Near Taos
Carson National Forest
Carson National Forest encompassing over 1.5 million acres, is a camping paradise near Taos. With its diverse terrain, the forest offers a range of camping opportunities to suit different preferences. From developed campgrounds with amenities to dispersed camping in remote areas, there’s something for every camper. For a scenic camping experience, head to the Wild Rivers Recreation Area, where you can set up camp alongside the Rio Grande or Red River canyons. The forest also features several campgrounds with facilities such as restrooms, picnic tables, and fire rings. For a true backcountry adventure, backpack into the Wheeler Peak Wilderness, where you can explore alpine lakes and hike to the highest peak in New Mexico.
Rio Grande del Norte National Monument
Located northwest of Taos, the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument is a breathtaking natural wonder and an excellent camping destination. The Orilla Verde Recreation Area offers a variety of camping options along the banks of the Rio Grande (it’s also a great location for a gentle, scenic rafting trip). With its tranquil atmosphere and stunning views, this area is ideal for fishing, rafting, and enjoying scenic hikes. The nearby Taos Junction Campground provides developed campsites with picnic tables and fire rings, allowing you to unwind while surrounded by the beauty of the river and towering canyon walls. Make sure to explore the impressive Rio Grande Gorge Bridge, a must-visit attraction offering panoramic views of the rugged landscape.
Taos Ski Valley
Although known primarily as a winter sports destination, Taos Ski Valley also offers excellent camping opportunities during the summer months. The valley is nestled in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and boasts breathtaking alpine scenery. The Twining Campground, located near the base of Kachina Peak, provides a peaceful camping experience amidst towering pines and wildflowers. Hikers can access numerous trails from the campground, including the popular Williams Lake Trail, which rewards visitors with stunning views of the surrounding peaks. Camping in Taos Ski Valley offers a unique blend of mountain beauty and outdoor recreation, allowing you to reconnect with nature in a serene alpine setting.
Cimarron Canyon State Park
Situated east of Taos, Cimarron Canyon State Park is a hidden gem offering camping options in a picturesque canyon setting. The park features two campgrounds: Maverick and Tolby, both nestled along the scenic Cimarron River. Maverick Campground provides developed sites with amenities such as restrooms, picnic tables, and fire rings, while Tolby Campground offers a more rustic camping experience. Fishing enthusiasts will appreciate the opportunity to catch trout in the river, while hikers can explore the trails that wind through the park’s enchanting landscapes. With its tranquility and natural beauty, Cimarron Canyon State Park is an idyllic camping destination near Taos.
Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway
For those seeking a unique camping experience combined with a scenic road trip, the Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway is the perfect choice. This 83-mile loop around Wheeler Peak, the highest peak in New Mexico, showcases the region’s stunning landscapes. Along the route, you’ll find several campgrounds offering diverse camping experiences, from developed sites to primitive spots. From the quaint town of Questa to the charming villages of Red River, Eagle Nest, and Taos, there are ample opportunities to explore and discover hidden gems. Enjoy fishing, hiking, and wildlife spotting while soaking up the beauty of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and the Rio Grande Valley.
Rafting Near Taos
Add a splash of adventure to your Taos camping trip with New Mexico River Adventures’ unforgettable rafting excursions on the Rio Grande and Rio Chama! Our expert guides will lead you through the majestic canyons, taking you on a journey through the heart of New Mexico’s stunning landscapes. Whether you’re seeking adrenaline-pumping rapids (hello Taos Box) or a family looking for a scenic float, we have the perfect rafting trip to suit your needs. Prepare to be amazed by the breathtaking scenery, the rush of the river, and the camaraderie that comes with navigating these pristine waters together!
Pro Tip: If you want to combine camping and rafting, check out our Taos Box Overnight 2-Day trip!
Taos, New Mexico, is a gateway to incredible camping adventures, allowing visitors to experience the beauty of the region’s diverse landscapes. From national forests and state parks to scenic byways, the camping options near Taos offer a range of outdoor experiences for nature enthusiasts. Embark on a camping (and rafting!) trip and create memories amidst the awe-inspiring beauty of northern New Mexico.