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Old 02-03-2009, 05:19 PM   #1
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So Cal to Carlsbad Caverns NM this summer

We are planning this out this year and need some help. Where can we stop along the way? Are there any national parks or BLM or state parks?
We have under 2 weeks by the way. Kids are working now.
Any tips are appreciated. Thanks
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Old 02-04-2009, 01:18 AM   #2
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We have stayed at the following campgrounds on the way to Carlsbad Caverns:

1. Rockhound State Park, near Demming, NM. This is a great little campground. There's water and electricity in many spots, but no sewer. However, there is a dump station. They've got geodes in the park, but they are hard to find. Make sure to stop at the "prospector's" house about a mile from the entrance to the park. They have lots of geodes and pretty rocks, reasonably priced. Visitor center is small but interesting. Most areas in southern NM are in the desert and will be hot in the summer.

2. KOA in Los Cruces. This is a typical KOA, but it's close to town and well-kept.

3.Guadalupe Mountains National Park. This is a good overnight stop, but you're basically camping in a paved parking lot. There's hiking in the area, but there's not much to do unless you are into hiking and/or backpacking. Nice, if it's getting dark and you're tired. No hook-ups.

4. Karchner Caverns State Park, AZ. We haven't stayed there, but there is a campground on-site. Have heard from others that it's nice, but you should check around first. The cave has only been opened to tourists the past 5-10 years, so most people haven't heard about it. Their Web site has a little info: Arizona State Parks: Kartchner Caverns: Facilities

5. White's Resort campground near Carlsbad Caverns looks bleak, and the motel looks like the one in Psycho. We haven't stayed there, but all reviews sound bad. I wouldn't count on staying there. Also, there aren't many campgrounds nearby. There are a couple of KOAs within about 50 miles, but southern NM is desert, and it'll be flat, hot and dry in the summer. Ruidoso and Cloudcroft are in the mountains about 100 miles north, and it's much cooler there.

5. If you're going through Tucson on I-10, Beaudry RV Resort is a great overnight stop, or a base for exploring around Tucson. It's in an older part of town, but has very good security, excellent pull-thru's for big RVs, some spa sites, two swimming pools, and there's a Camping World and RV sales & service on-site. We have seen them replacing windshields on big motorcoaches at their site, and I think they discount or comp the stay with a larger repair. Old Tucson movie studios, the AZ Sonora Desert Museum, Titan Missile (Silo) Museum and a lot more attractions are in Tucson. However, I-10 has been under construction for a year or two in the downtown area, and they aren't anywhere near done. It's OK, but traffic can be congested.

There are a lot more places in Arizona, but I don't know which route you are planning, or how far off the interstate you want to roam. More details?
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Old 02-04-2009, 08:43 AM   #3
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5. White's Resort campground near Carlsbad Caverns looks bleak, and the motel looks like the one in Psycho. We haven't stayed there, but all reviews sound bad. I wouldn't count on staying there. Also, there aren't many campgrounds nearby. There are a couple of KOAs within about 50 miles, but southern NM is desert, and it'll be flat, hot and dry in the summer. Ruidoso and Cloudcroft are in the mountains about 100 miles north, and it's much cooler there.
...
Yes, White's City is a dreadful place and has been for many decades. (It's for sale, by the way.)

Some people stay at nearby Carlsbad and like the RV park there. There's also a state park nearby, Brantley Lake.


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Old 02-04-2009, 08:54 AM   #4
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The Titan Missile Silo Museum is located around the city of Green Valley and is a distance from Tucson, around 20 miles or so. There's also San Xavier Mission Del Bac south of Tucson and is certainly worth a small side trip as it is beautiful and holds historic significance. There is also the Biosphere just east of Oracle Junction, north of Tucson which is very interesting and the kids would love it.

Enjoy your trip and have safe travels.

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Old 02-04-2009, 08:55 AM   #5
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we stayed here (carlsbad rv park)

Carlsbad RV Park 1-888-8RV-PARK (888-878-7275)
Pretty sweet spot with an indoor pool. Great customer service and fairly close to the caverns...maybe 15-20 miles.
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Old 02-04-2009, 01:41 PM   #6
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Carlsbad

Benjo,
Thanks for the tip on Carlsbad RV Park. We plan to be there around the 2nd of June and I was concerned about which park to choose. Nothing like a report from someone who has been there.....thanks again!
Ron
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Old 02-05-2009, 10:05 AM   #7
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We are planning this out this year and need some help. Where can we stop along the way? Are there any national parks or BLM or state parks?
We have under 2 weeks by the way. Kids are working now.
Any tips are appreciated. Thanks
There are hundreds of great NP, NF, and SP campgrounds in AZ and NM on or near your route. Be sure to stop in the visitor centers when you enter each state as they have maps showing the camping sites. An awesome but little known jewel is the Chiricahua Nat'l Monument which has a great campground (about 35+ miles off I-10).
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Old 02-05-2009, 11:38 AM   #8
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So-Cal to Carlsbad

I currently live in San Diego. About two years I permanently relocated my 94 Excella 34' footer to my ranch in NM (Lincoln County). Depending on how soon you want to get there and which route will determine the recommended stops. Tucson would be an easy first nighter, There is a Picacho Peak RV park that is real nice before you reach Tucson. Avoid the rush hour as they are doing major road work on I-10 and you cant even get off in downtown. I drove all the way to Las Cruces and stayed at the Hacienda RV Resort 888-686-9090 and was really impressed. Las Cruces is worth at least a day or two. Historic Mesilla is within a few miles and offers good New Mexican food and old town plaza feel. If you stay in NM vs TX, I would recommend going up NM 54 towards Alamogordo and you can visit White Sands National Monument. From Alamogordo go to Cloudcroft to Artesia then South to Carlsbad. It sounds like you already have recommendations to Carlsbad even though Sitting Bill Falls is a neat side trip and wont be as busy as the Caverns. From Carlsbad go back up 285 towards Roswell which is big for the UFO crowd and museums. Roswell is filming a movie now starring George Clooney at the New Mexico Military Institute called "When Men Loved Goats" or something like that. You could either go towards the north Albuquerque/Santa Fe or take the mellow route going west towards Ruidoso. There is a nice conveniant RV park called Deer Crossing 575-653-4838 which would be a great base camp before Ruidoso. Visit Lincoln, (Billy the Kid fame), Peter Hurd Gallery, Capitan (Smokey the Bear/Ft. Stanton) and Inn of the Mt. Gods (Mescalero Apaches)..Enjoy NM
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Old 02-05-2009, 12:01 PM   #9
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Carslbad is an amazing cavern and is very busy in the summer. You say "kids are working", so I guess they are out of school (or in a Tijuana sweatshop). Sounds like they are old enough to see some of the undeveloped caves in the NP. Carlsbad was a constant flow of people along the pathways—because the rooms are so large, the crowds weren't as difficult to accept, but crowded it is. There's little chance for peaceful contemplation of the wonders of the cavern, but still worth seeing.

We went to the "New Cave" which was fascinating. You have to be there on the right days and make a reservation but we had no problem. This was 15 years ago. You also need your own flashlights. It is no longer called New Cave and is not the only special exploring you can do. Check the Carlsbad website for info on all the special tours.

It was July and 100˚ in Roswell and Carlsbad when we were there. Since we live in Colorado, we didn't have AC in our truck—it was brutal. Every vehicle since then has had AC.

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Old 02-05-2009, 12:12 PM   #10
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Last time I was at Carslbad,ended up there on Sunday,that county is dry,had to drive back to Texas to find a cool one.Take your bubblies with you.Dave
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Old 02-05-2009, 01:19 PM   #11
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If you go north toward Albuquerque, Alamogordo has a space museum & I-Max theater, and White Sands National Monument is a nice stop, though no camping. At the missile base, there's a missile display just inside the entrance, though the space museum has lots more stuff.

Farther north is Valley of Fires State Park. This campground was remodeled a few years ago, and they have electric and I think water, but I don't recall if they have sewer hookups. You should check their Web site for more details. There was a dump station, though; and really clean restrooms with showers. A boardwalk area allows you to walk out over the lava flow; however, it will probably be pretty hot here in June. Of course, that's what air conditioning is for, and the evenings are beautiful (cool, clear skies and lots of shooting stars).

A little off the beaten path on the west side of NM, is the Very Large Array (VLA). These big radio dishes were in several movies, including Contact (with Jodie Foster) and SETI and others do lots of research at this facility. There's a small museum on site, and a walking tour where you can get close to one of dish antennas. Very impressive, and lots of boondocking opportunities nearby (outside the VLA property).

We've toured lots of southern NM; let us know which parts you will be driving through, and I've got more neat places to see and camp.
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Old 02-05-2009, 01:30 PM   #12
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The VLA is in the northern part of a large NF stretching as far south as Silver City, NM. There are many place to boondock there and some interesting towns all around the edges. Buy a NM tour book, something like Frommer's, and you'll find out all sorts of things to see and will find 2 weeks isn't enough.

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Old 02-05-2009, 02:32 PM   #13
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Stops along southern NM

If you are planning your route along southern NM and want to get off the Interstate Hwys for awhile, consider these;

City of Rocks State Park to leave the AS while visiting the Gila Cliff Dwellings and Silver City. Quite a bit farther north is the Catwalk off hwy 180. The catwalk follows a very narrow canyon and is bolted to the cliff walls a few feet above a little stream. If you get this far north, might as well go on to the the VLA and take the self guided walking tour of it.

If you head east on hwy 152, consider a lunch stop in the little village of Hillsboro. Emory Pass at 8,228' is not challenging.

Elephant Butte State Park has water and electric sites. Nearby marinas rent boats. Acres of sandy beaches to stretch your legs.

Oliver Lee State Park has water and electric sites plus some interesting history. It is a place to leave the AS while exploring White Sands, Museum of Space History or further north, the Three Rivers Petroglyph BLM site.

At Carlsbad Caverns, recommend walking in the natural entrance instead of just taking the elevator from the visitor center down into the caves. There is a mass exodus of Mexican bats at nightfall.

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We are planning this out this year and need some help. Where can we stop along the way? Are there any national parks or BLM or state parks?
We have under 2 weeks by the way. Kids are working now.
Any tips are appreciated. Thanks
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Old 02-05-2009, 06:49 PM   #14
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Yes, White's City is a dreadful place and has been for many decades. (It's for sale, by the way.)
I'm not sure if I would say dreadful, but at least neglected. It has sold by the way and the new owners are friendly and trying to bring the campground up to standards. In my mind the convenience to the caves more than makes up for the limitations. It's 7 m from the main cave. You can easily spend several days at the caves. IMHO the ranger guided tours are even better than the main cave tour, but you will need to make reservations well ahead of time. Several months would not be out of line.

New Cave is one of the ranger guided tours. It is about a 20 m drive from White City. It is a fairly strenuous 3/4 mi hike up a canyon to the cave which I did in November. The hike finished off my knee. I see an orthopedist next week. It was worth it. Google "The Clansman" the piesta resistance world famous formation in the cave. It is also called Slaughter Canyon Cave. No one or nobody was ever slaughtered there. It was a rancher's last name.

Guadelupe Mtns. NP is less than an hour south. As someone above said the main campground is basicly a blacktop parking lot at a trailhead. Interesting hiking though. Should be plenty hot in the summer. I'ld prefer to be underground. There is a second campground that is more remote at the north edge of the park. Have not been but it's on my list
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