Santa Fe New Mexico in Early July


Colorado Plateau is calling...
Feb 3, 2017
We're going to be in Colorado for an extended family vacation (extended family, as in more than just me, wife, and kids) and I am interested in taking the wife and kids down to the Santa Fe area afterward. It would be the beginning of July... as in July 2, 3, and 4. July 5 we will be visiting Mesa Verde on the way back on home (we've been to Mesa Verde a lot--hence the ruins part of the username--so I know what I want to do there). What I want help on is the Santa Fe area. In particular, I'm interested in doing Bandelier while in the Santa Fe area as well as Pecos NHP. What worries me is that Bandelier doesn't allow for reservations at their campground and while supposedly it never fills, if it was going to do so, over July 4th would be the time. Anyone have any experience with this? Anyone have other campground suggestions in the Santa Fe area that I could reserve? Or do I even need to worry and just wing it?
I lived between Santa Fe and Bandelier for a few years and know the area well.

The trouble with the Bandelier area is that Los Alamos National Laboratory is right there. It's a jurisdictional nightmare and therefore there aren't many campgrounds. There is one west of the Bandelier entrance maybe 25 minutes away called Jemez Falls Campground. Here is the link: There there is one a bit further than that called Redondo Campground but that's getting even further out maybe 35 minutes west. Here is the link: Because I lived right there, I've never stayed at either campground because I usually 'boondock it', and I never ventured over there on July 4th weekend. I am sure it will be fine, however.

I think you'll have more trouble finding camping after visiting Pecos NHP. The NHP is just south of the town of Pecos, and the town is just south of the Pecos Wilderness. NM-63 is the road that runs north/south connecting them all, and which dead ends at the wilderness. There are lots of campgrounds between the NHP and the Pecos Wilderness - public, private, some facilities for big trailers, etc. - but they are really, really busy. This is where all the extended families from the area go to have big gatherings and fish and so on. I don't know what to say to expect, again, since I lived there, I would never go to Pecos during that time lol. However, here is the forest service website which lists the campgrounds: The relevant district is the Pecos - Las Vegas Ranger District. I don't think any of the public campgrounds are reservable. If you wanted, it would be a great place to rent a cabin for one or two nights, Pecos is a gorgeous area. Lastly, I am not sure how to find private campgrounds online.

In conclusion, I think you will be fine at Bandelier. At Pecos, I believe it will be tougher to find camping. The distance between Bandelier and Pecos NHP is about 1.5 hours, so it may be best to get a site at Bandelier for a few nights and day trip to Pecos NHP.

Hope that helps.
Thank you @dcpm012. That's great info. I'm not too worried about camping near Pecos NHP as the day we do it, we are planning on staying at a KOA cabin in Las Vegas. We don't generally use KOA as we like to tent and their sites for that typically are kind of well, awful, but we are doing a long drive the day before and we want an early start the next day. Plus the cabins, at least at this KOA, seem to be at a good price point.
I love the Rio Grande Gorge near Questa North of Taos. Not Santa Fe area but AWESOME camping on the rim and hiking down in gorge a blast. It you have an overnight in you those shelters down by the river are great. If not hike the Petroglyphs at least.

I like Jemez Falls area. McCauley warm springs and Spence Hot Springs are a blast as long as nudity doesn't bother you. San Antonio Hot Springs is awesome too but have had multiple friends incur vanadlaism on their vehicles.

Frijoles Falls at Bandelier is a great hike, not sure how it will be flowing then though?

Santa Fe National Forest map would be a great purchase.
Similar threads
Thread starter Title Forum Replies Date
Nethos Santa Fe/ABQ/Durango Area- Mid Late June Trip Planning 11
balzaccom Santa's Nice list General Discussion 0
balzaccom Santa's naughty list General Discussion 1
fossana Bear Canyon/Sabino Canyon Loop (Santa Catalina Mountains, AZ) Hiking & Camping 3
Perry Forgive my Non-backcountry Post... Santa Came Early to My House Photography 15
Nethos Any New Mexico Members? Meet Up (Members Only) 5
scatman Gila River - Gila Wilderness, New Mexico - April 18, 2022 Backpacking 61
LarryBoy A Route In Between: Mexico to Canada Through the Heart of the West Backpacking 50
Stephanie B Dinetah Pueblitos, New Mexico Hiking & Camping 10
Titans Darkening Clouds over Organ Pipe Cactus - Border US / Mexico Hiking & Camping 21
Noun Sequitur Southeastern New Mexico - Aliens, Caves, Sand, etc. Everything Else 0
C New Mexico badlands Trip Planning 1
Shirt357 Hello from New Mexico Noobs: Introduce yourself! 6
tomcat32 Backpacking New Mexico's Pecos Wilderness Backpacking 6
SKLund New Mexico info I have. Noobs: Introduce yourself! 5
piper01 Chaco Culture National Historical Park, New Mexico Hiking & Camping 6
piper01 Bisti Badlands Wilderness Area, New Mexico Hiking & Camping 5
piper01 El Morro and El Malpais Nat'l Monuments, New Mexico Hiking & Camping 6
slc_dan Monument Valley, Natural Bridges, Northern New Mexico. Trip Planning 6
katuah Northern or Central New Mexico, March - April Trip Planning 4
graywolf Noob from New Mexico Noobs: Introduce yourself! 5
C Young Men's Early Spring Multiday Hike Trip Planning 2
regehr looking for a mountain range with few mosquitoes in early/mid August Trip Planning 18
Janice San Juan Mtns - late June too early? Trip Planning 4
C Teton Wilderness Early July Trip Planning 16
shredhiker Maroon Bells early October 2022 Backpacking 14
M Suggestions for early April in Arizona, 2-3 nights Trip Planning 2
forest dweller Where to go, last minute, early August, with wife, for 2 weeks, with no backcountry permits? Trip Planning 25
norwegianxplorer Early Season Solo Backpacking during Snowmelt Runoff in Norway Backpacking 0
E Water in the Needles early-May 2021 Trip Planning 3
Jeremy C Early season run to Horseshoe Basin Hiking & Camping 7
M Suggestions for a 10 day backpacking trip in early June Trip Planning 8
Nethos Southern Utah - Late October & Early November 2020 Trip Planning 16
RyanP 5-day Winds trip in early Sep---suggestions? Trip Planning 18
Born to Hike Early June 3-day jaunt on the Uinta Highline Trail: Naturalist Basin, Pinto Lake, Margo Lake Backpacking 8
pstm13 HELP NEEDED- Idaho in Early June for 2-3 Days Trip Planning 6
Happyidiot Winds in Early August Trip Planning 7
Yvonne first backpacking trip in the Beartooths, early August Trip Planning 13
SteveR Got Snow? Early Season Alberta Skiing Winter Sports 2
Born to Hike Mountain Solitude: Reconnaissance Lake, High Uintas, early Sept 2019 Backpacking 9
R 6 Day 5 Night hike Kintla Lake to Bowman Lake early August advice Noobs: Introduce yourself! 0
wabenho Sawtooth Creek Crossings (early season) Trip Planning 4
RyanP Lower Death Hollow next week (late May/early June), miscellaneous questions Trip Planning 16
Perry Early Winter Day Hike to Packard Lake Plus Murdock Fire Recon Hiking & Camping 9
M Zion West Rim Trail, Early April 2019 Trip Planning 40
McKee80 early september trip possibilities Trip Planning 10
RyanP Water in Needles District in early April this year? Trip Planning 9
K I am hoping to do a 6-8 day packrafting trip on the Dirty Devil in early April. Noobs: Introduce yourself! 0
C First trip to Yellowstone, early May 2019. Thoughts? Trip Planning 15
RyanP 3-day trip ideas (15-20 miles or so) for late May/early June with good water Trip Planning 9

Similar threads