City of Rocks is the kind of landscape that can only cause awe which fades to curiosity which quickly becomes playfulness as the inner kid recognizes how much fun it is to wander through the tunnels between the giants and clamber and climb the ones that offer angle and altitude. The area of rocks is not huge – with focus and nominal walking effort one can cross this rock garden from end to end in 10, maybe 15 minutes. It’s nearly impossible to do as one is constantly being beckoned to explore one cranny or nook or another.
Our favorite area is what we have dubbed “Suburb of Rocks” – the New Mexican Park Service has named it the Pegasus camping area, keeping with the astronomical theme of the park – it is a collection of half a dozen or so campsites interspersed into a group of rocks which is distinctly separate from the main grouping. You can see “Suburb of Rocks” and, if you look real hard, our camper at the right of the top photo, which was taken from the summit of Tabletop Mountain.
The site we like is number 17, which faces northwest ish out into a prairie like expanse of high desert.
The wind can be breathtaking with 50 mile an hour gusts testifying to the playfulness of the desert herself.
To the east, Tabletop Mountain rises over 5000 feet above the desert floor. It only very recently has become part of the Park and a trail to the top formalized.
When we visited in 2011 the temptation was beyond refusing – to slide under the fence and pick our way to an even more breathtaking view of the Deming Silver City mid ground. From the top of Table Top, the Florida Mountains of Rock Hound Park area are visible in the distance and the towering loom of Cook’s Peak helps keep ones perspective.
There’s plenty of roaming to be done in this area – and a whole lot to see – often it’s like wandering through a Louie L’Amour or Max Brand book.
Also a very nice network of formal trails provides walkers, hikers, runners and bikers a variety of desert landscape to roam along on well groomed pathways. There are a couple of opportunities for Geo Cache discoveries which are always fun to review – and they are close enough to established trails to be classified as “easy” – great for the kids! (in all of us :))
At the end of the day – when it’s time to just sit and rest, there is plenty of beauty to soak up as the wind dies and the sun sinks into the western sky.
Even when the sun has set, the desert skies are so free of light pollution and so dark that sky enthusiasts and Astronomers alike enjoy the desert nights. With a 14” telescope observatory City of Rocks hosts the occasional “Star Party” to bring the celestial delights even closer.
If you are in Southern Central New Mexico – this is a beautiful, spiritual and fun state park – and you should not miss it!