Posted by: Barbara Evanhoe | February 23, 2012

Little Gem of a Campground

Yesterday, Keith and I decided to do a little local exploring, as it was our day off, and the weather was picture perfect…..deep blue sky, warm temperatures, and a whisp of a breeze to stir up the air and keep it from feeling too much like the desert.

We’d heard about a little campground nearby, with a nice riverwalk, so we decided to drive over and check it out.

The Paseo Del Rio campground is part of the Elephant Butte Lake State Park, but it sits a bit downstream from the dam, lake and main campgrounds.

It’s easy for anyone to locate, and if you are ever traveling north of Las Cruces on I-25, toward Albuquerque, and would like a lovely riverside campground to spend the night in, I suggest that you get off I-25 at exit 79, go south on Date St. to the light on 3rd St, and turn left. Then follow Hwy 51 for a short distance, and look to your left for the campground entrance just after crossing a bridge over the Rio Grande. Total distance from the exit is around 5 miles.

There are no hook-ups, so you would be dry camping, but each site offers a southwest style adobe shelter, picnic table and charcoal grill. Plus, the camping fee is only $8 per night!

We arrived around 11 a.m., and after parking the truck, took of for the Riverwalk. Informational signs introduce you to the area, and explain that this area was originally the site of a 1930’s campground for one of President Roosevelt’s Civilian Conservation Corps, who built parks, trails and public buildings, and planted billions of trees all across the country.

A well-maintained walking trail leads you along the Rio Grande for about a mile or so….nothing strenuous….and you can easily step off the trail to stroll along the riverbank, provided the water level is down.

This time of year – late February – the landscape is monochromatic. Soft earth tones stark against the blue sky.

We passed rough rock aqueducts built in the 1930’s and 40’s…

….clusters of large, rounded boulders along the riverbank

…and ended our trek back in the main campground area.

During high camping season, Paseo Del Rio offers a nice restroom area, which, I believe, has hot showers. Portable toilets, which were clean and fresh yesterday when we visited, are provided during the off-season.

I highly recommend this little gem of a campground ~ much more scenic than the Wal Mart parking lot, for road-weary travelers!



  1. Gorgeous photos!

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