Gila National Forest New Mexico- Rockdocking
New Mexico is always our first of the year (April) and last of the year (October) rockdocking. Warm days, cool to cold nights and crystal blue skies are the weather conditions. The locals say that if it were not for the wind blowing, there would be no weather to report!
The Gila National Forest and Wilderness Area offer thick forests to pinon mesa camping at no charge. Check in at the Glenwood, NM Forest Service office to get the latest on road conditions. Fresh spring water is also available at the site. A very good map is available for $9.00 of the GNF. A trailer can be towed north from Mimbres (pinon country) or east from Reserve (dense forest). The Mimbres FR150 is unpassable for trailers after 10 miles. The Reserve FR141 is well maintained with a few dry washes crossing on the way out towards Pie Town.
Snow Lake is located in the wrong spot using the DeLorme New Mexico Atlas on page 36, but there is a wide open area to explore and camp just north of the Wilderness access. A Forest Service ranger comes through to check the area frequently, so feel free to flag him/her down and ask any questions. There are many pullouts in the forest that a 25 foot or smaller trailer can easily get in and out. Just pick your level of ability when you find a nice location.
Gasoline north of Glenwood will be reduced by 10 cents a gallon if you inquire, paying cash. Buy gasoline in Mimbres or Reserve before you get into the National Forest as that is it until you get into Magdalena. West of Soccoro to the Arizona border this is a wide open, free camping and peaceful area. We fill our Airstream water tanks, fill three 6 gallon water jugs and carry no gray or black water into the forest. This will last us over three weeks, as we use our fresh water sparingly since we are rockdocking, far away from everyday in town needs. Pets will find the running creeks or springs safe to drink.
Obsidian "Apache Tears" can be found in the creek beds into Snow Lake and to the south near Mimbres are small agates scattered about for the kids to find. Turkey, deer, elk and occasional black bear are to be found on your hikes. Hummingbirds are everywhere! The Gila Cliff Dwellings are worth the visit, but DO NOT tow your trailer into the park. The roads are up and down and curvey. You can ask to park your trailer for the temporary visit with the restaurant at the turn, or a local home owner. There is a RV Park near the Cliff Dwellings near the Hot Springs, but check before you venture into this drive!