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There is an abundance of camping (and associated hiking and fishing) opportunities in northern New Mexico, both in the mountains and along the rivers. Mountain camp sites, hiking trails and fishing are found outside of the towns of Questa, Red River, Eagle Nest, Taos, Penasco, Las Trampas and Santa Fe, in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains; in the Brazos Mountains west of Hwy. 285; and in the Jemez Mountains at Bandelier National Monument, the Valles Caldera Preserve and in the National Forest.
Riverside camping, hiking trails and fishing are found along the Rio Chama, Hopewell Lake in the Brazos Mountains, along Hwy. 64, tributaries of the Ojo Caliente River and especially along the Rio Grande. The Wild Rivers area on the Rio Grande, west of Questa, provides camping along the rim and hiking access into the Red River and Rio Grande gorges, with campsites at riverside. Primitive trails are found elsewhere in the upper gorge.
A wealth of developed riverside campsites, hiking trails, fishing opportunities, big game sightings, bird watching, nature photography etc. are found in the Orilla Verde Recreation Area. The Orilla Verde Recreation Area (OVRA) stretches along seven miles of river, from Pilar upstream to Taos Junction bridge. State Rd. 570 leads upriver from Pilar, and provides access to a number of campgrounds managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in OVRA. Fees are charged for the use of OVRA and the campgrounds. All but two sites are on a non-reservation, first-come-first-served, basis. The group sites at the Rio Bravo and Taos Junction campgrounds must be reserved in advance, by calling the BLM at 575-758-8851. Shower facilities and hook-ups are also available at the Rio Bravo CG (upper photo) and Pilar CG.
The New Wave No Wave Float and Rio Grande Gorge trips travel the river through OVRA. The Racecourse trip travels the river just downstream of OVRA, while the Taos Box trip ends at the upper end of OVRA, at Taos Junction bridge. Thus, the campgrounds of OVRA are ideally situated for those rafting with New Wave. More photographs and discussion of OVRA can be found at New Wave No Wave, our scenic float. All of the Rio Grande and surrounding public land, from the State Line down to and through ORVA is included in the new Rio Grande del Norte National Monument, which is now managed by the BLM. Visit the BLM-managed Rio Grande Wild and Scenic River Website.