New Mexico has some of the best state parks in the country, IMO, and back in January of 2017 when we still had the truck camper we purchased a year pass but unfortunately never got to use it. So when we got back on the road again in our Avion we decided we had better get our moneys worth out of it before it expired (01/31/18)!
New Mexico state park passes cost $225 a year for out of state residents and $180 a year if you’re a New Mexico resident. Now that might seem like a lot but when you are camping and are in a non-electric site the cost is free! If you choose a power and water site the cost is $4 a day and a full hookup site (where available) is $8! Not a bad deal, IMO. Also dump sites are available at most parks.
Our first state park of this tour was Heron Lake State Park in Los Ojos, NM. Situated just 20 minutes from Chama, NM and fed by the Rio Chama. This state park and lake offers many camping opportunities but if you’re looking for something with power and water there are only two options: Blanco and Willow Creek.
Willow Creek has smaller sites and not nearly as many pull throughs as Blanco so when we came through looking for a site we chose Blanco. We found a large pull through almost immediately that was a non-reservation site. All sites in Blanco have fire pits and picnic tables and some have covered shelters. Our site had a shelter and was fairly private. Blanco also has a bathhouse with showers while Willow Creek has a bathroom with toilets only.
There are many hiking trails in the camping areas that lead down to and go around the lake. All are easy paths to hike and offer beautiful views!
The only downside to the campsites at Blanco and Willow Creek is that none of the sites have a true view of the lake. You can glimpse it from certain sites but there are no full views. There are other dispersed camping sites down the road that you can see the lake from but none offer electric or power so keep that in mind. Also, some of the other dispersed areas are not able to accommodate larger rigs. Be sure to scout all areas before driving in!
Length of stay in all New Mexico state parks is 14 days and as we are determined to take it slow this winter we did stay the whole 14 days in Blanco.
Verizon cell service offers 1 bar of LTE but it can go in and out without a booster. TMobile was nonexistent.
All in all, Blanco and Willow Creek offer nice pull through and back in sites that are fairly large and private, good amenities and lots of outdoor activities such as hiking and fishing. We will definitely be back!