El Rito Campground, El Rito, NM

El Rito Ranger District

Carson National Forest

Free Camping Near El Rito, NM

This is a free, developed campground offered by Carson National Forest. There are eleven (11) campsites with picnic tables and fire rings, and a vault toilet on site. There is also a group pavilion which must be rented out. But there are also dozens more previously-used campsites all up and down County Rd 280 (State Route 110) starting from a mile south of the campground and a mile north.


El Rito Ranger District logo

El Rito Ranger District

Carson National Forest

District Office

Tel: (575) 581-4554

Official campground webpage


GPS: 36.4003, -106.2536

Error retrieving elevation data.

Reservations: First come, first served

Camping Fee: None

Permit: None

Max stay: 14 days in a 45-day period

Amenities: Vault toilet, picnic tables, fire rings, trash cans

Submitted by

Admin Staff

Admin Staff

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Camping at El Rito Campground

Located about five miles north of the town of El Rito, this is a popular campground in summer. It’s situated along the bank of the El Rito Creek. It offers excellent hiking and fishing opportunities. Sitting at 7,600 feet elevation, this campground will close in the Winter and reopen in Spring.

It’s biggest draw, however, are the reddish-orange canyon walls along the opposite side of the creek. There are several trails to explore throughout.

But despite the beauty of the creek and canyon, this campground gets a lot of noise at night from cars, trucks, and OHVs passing by. It’s a busy dirt road connecting El Rito in the south to Canjilon to the northwest.

The access road into El Rito Campground is bumpy and rocky in many places. During wet weather, it gets soft in many places and you’ll want to have 4WD to get through. During dry, warm weather, 2WD is doable. The campsites here can accommodate small to medium-sized trailers.

Other Campsites Within 20 Miles Radius

Associated Documents

Motor Vehicle Use Map, Tres Piedras, Canjilon, El Rito Ranger Districts, Illustrates dispersed camping restrictions & OHV restrictions, (eff: January 1, 2023)
Carson National Forest Order 03-02-00-2023-03, Occupancy rules, maximum camping limits, (eff: May 31, 2023, term: December 31, 2027)

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