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Find yourself way out in West Texas? There’s camping to be had in and around Texas’ Sun City – El Paso.
There are lots of ways to go camping – you could pitch a tent in the middle of the forest, you could set up a site on a beach, or you could have a little break in your own backyard.
Come to El Paso and camping means experiencing expansive high desert terrain within the Chihuahuan Desert, Franklin Mountains, and Hueco Mountains. You can expect hot summers, cold winters, dry air, awe-inspiring sunrises and sunsets, and spectacular stargazing.
Full transparency: There may not be tons and tons of camping options within an hour’s drive of the city of El Paso, but there are still enough so you can tailor your choice to what kind of experience you want. Maybe you’re excited about having a primitive adventure in the middle of a state park where there’s hardly another soul around. Or maybe you’d prefer more amenities at an RV park near the city.
Here are some camping spots near El Paso you need to check out.
1. Franklin Mountains State Park
Why you should go: Just a 20-minute drive from El Paso’s city center, Franklin Mountains State Park offers a chance to be in the heart of the high-desert mountains. There are over 100 miles of hiking and biking trails to tackle plus designated rock climbing areas. You’ll also want to keep your eyes peeled for colorful pictures and etchings on the rocks left by Native Americans.
“The most beautiful state park in the entire state so far for me,” said one visitor. “The landscape, picnic tables, and restrooms are very clean… Very relaxing.”
Pros: One of the most popular things to do out here is to check out the caves. You can take the Aztec Cave Trail, which is around 1.2 miles round trip, to reach some stunning, shady chambers and get panoramic views of the area. Also, birders are sure to have a ball at this state park with over 100 species that can be seen here, from hummingbirds to golden eagles. The park hosts regular activities like ranger-guided hikes, game nights, and nighttime campfires, so check what’s on when you visit.
Cons: There are just 14 walk-in campsites and five drive-up sites, and all of them are primitive. No water or electricity means you’ll have to bring all the water you may need – and water supply is something you don’t want to mess around with since you’re in the desert.
If you go: 2900 Tom Mays Access Rd., El Paso, TX 79911; 915-444-9100
2. Hueco Tanks State Park
Why you should go: A place rich in history and considered sacred ground, Hueco Tanks State Park gets its name from the natural rock basins here that have supported humans for 10,000 years. You can still see remnants from these early travelers in the pictographs and petroglyphs on the rocks.
Pros: Speaking of rocks: Rock climbing is big here, and people literally come from around the world for it. If that’s not your jam, it’s still fun to watch climbers of all levels make their way up the rockfaces, and there are a few hiking trails – most of which are at an easy difficulty level.
Cons: In order to protect the park, there are stricter rules here than at other Texas state parks. They’re not necessarily cons when you consider the importance of conservation, but they’re definitely things to keep in mind when planning a visit.
Reservations at one of the 20 campsites are limited to three days, and there’s no late entry allowed. If you want to view the pictographs and petroglyphs in the self-guided area, you must make a reservation. You can also request a guided tour to access areas that are otherwise off-limits.
If you go: 6900 Hueco Tanks Road No. 1, El Paso, TX 79938; 915-857-1135
Related read: The 9 Best Weekend Road Trips from El Paso, Texas
3. El Paso West RV Park
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Why you should go: El Paso West RV Park lies just over the border in New Mexico and calls itself the “Little Green Oasis in the Desert.” Set up camp here at one of the nearly 100 full hook-up sites, and you can enjoy the many trees that provide some shade plus amenities like free WiFi and cable TV.
Pros: From this RV park, it’s just a 15 to 20-minute drive into Franklin Mountains State Park where you can hike, bike, and rock climb. Drive 30 minutes in the other direction and you can explore the city of Las Cruces with attractions like the New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum. If you don’t feel like straying too far, there’s always Wet ‘N’ Wild Waterworld five minutes down the road. Brought your pup? You’ll appreciate that they have a fenced dog park.
“The employees work each day to keep the park/all common facilities clean and in proper working order,” said one camper. “They are always there to answer any questions and go above and beyond to help/assist when anyone staying there is in need of RV assistance.”
Cons: There’s a dairy farm close by, which means you might get some strong whiffs of cow during your visit depending on how the wind is blowing. But hey, it’s all part of the adventure, right?
If you go: 1415 Anthony Dr, Anthony, NM 88021; 575-882-7172
4. Fort Bliss RV Park
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Why you should go: El Paso is the home of the Fort Bliss United States Army post – and Fort Bliss RV Park, located just down the street from the base, is a popular, well-outfitted option for those with a military ID. That includes active duty, reservists, retired Military, Purple Heart recipients, and former prisoners of war. Immediate family members of active duty military and retirees can also be signed in on a space-available basis.
Pros: There are lots of full hook-up sites here – 133 to be exact. During your stay, you can make use of on-site amenities like a laundry, kitchen, dog park, and playground along with other perks that you might not find at other campsites, such as a family room and workout equipment.
Cons: You’re right next to the highway that runs from El Paso up to Alamogordo, New Mexico, and beyond, so there may be a bit of road noise. Also, WiFi is only available in the family room, but hopefully, you’re too busy enjoying the outdoors to care much about that!
If you go: 4130 Ellerthorpe Ave, El Paso, TX 79904; 915-568-0106
5. Las Cruces KOA Journey
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Why you should go: Yes, Las Cruces KOA Journey is located in Las Cruces, New Mexico, but remember that still puts you within an hour’s car ride of El Paso. Stay here, and you’ll be located smack dab between White Sands National Park and Franklin Mountains State Park for lots of outdoor recreation options. It also means the city is close by in case you forgot any supplies or don’t want to stray too far from the hustle and bustle.
Pros: KOA is a well-known name in the camping world, and you can count on their campgrounds to have a good number of conveniences at your fingertips. At this location, there’s a pool, WiFi, 24-hour laundry, playground, dog park, basketball court, and more.
“This location is a MUST stop,” said one camper. “Pool has views overlooking the city of Las Cruces and the mountains. Bathrooms are better than mine and most hotels I have been to… If you’re looking for a clean and modern place to stay in this area, stop looking and just book here.”
Cons: Some camping spots have better views of the city and mountains than others so if that’s important to you be sure to choose the right kind of site when booking.
If you go: 814 Weinrich Rd, Las Cruces, NM 88007; 575-526-6555
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