Filed under: Campgrounds & RV Parks, Family Camping, Nature & Wildlife, Outdoor Recreation & Hiking, State & National Parks
A Lovely Fall Campground
One lovely October weekend, we happened upon the Columbine Canyon near Red River, NM. To access the trailhead for our hike, we had to hike through the Columbine Canyon Campground, one of the loveliest, natural forest campgrounds we have ever seen. Regular readers of this blog will know I am a fan of the simple, rustic natural forest campgrounds as a rule, but this was one of the best I’ve seen. Located between Questa, NM and the “wild west” town of Red River, NM, the Columbine Canyon campground is located in the heart of the Kit Carson National Forest, providing all of the peace and tranquility anyone can imagine.
All sites are paved and spacious. Made up of a total of 27 sites, the entrance to the campground contains a small circle of 8 large, perfectly flat open sites easily accessible to big rigs, but with limited shade and privacy. No hookups are available and the facilities are rustic. But the ambiance cannot be duplicated.
The remainder of the campground runs away from the main road and along a small creek (Columbine Creek) that flows to the back of the campground and along the trail the begins at the back of the property. Sites on the left contain a number of back-ins, while those on the right are a series of pull-throughs, suitable for big rigs. All sites contain fire rings and lovely, large sitting areas with picnic tables. Some sites have direct stream access, but no hookups or dump station are available. Several water spigots are located throughout the campground. Still, we noted as we hiked through the campground that the peace and seclusion cannot be duplicated. Further, sites and campers are protected here, due to the canyon and the forest, from the high New Mexico winds, which is unusual in this area.
One of the biggest advantages of this campground is the miles and miles of hiking trails accessible directly from your site. You could literally hike for days from this location. Stopping just for a hike, we hiked for five hours and plan to return again for more. There is access to a minimum of 40 miles of trails just from this campground, as well as many additional trails in the surrounding area.
For fall camping, the Columbine Campground can’t be beat. Open from May 1st through October 31st every year, the campground has a self-service pay station at the entrance. We visited in early October and the campground was empty, though most of the toilets were open. There are four campgrounds in the Red River Valley and we believe this is, by far, the nicest, both in terms of accessibility and access. Sites are $15 per night and well worth the price. If you are in the mood for beautiful fall camping, with a bit of hiking thrown in, visit Columbine Campground near Questa, NM.
Read more about New Mexico campgrounds and things to do in New Mexico.