City of Rocks State Park, New Mexico

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.

City and "Suburb" of Rocks taken from the top of Tabletop Mountain.

City and “Suburb” of Rocks taken from the top of Tabletop Mountain.

Close to Rocks

Close to Rocks

Boulders, boulders, everywhere!

Boulders, boulders, everywhere!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the Rocks

In the Rocks

Lin walking through volcanic rocks toward Tabletop Mountain

Lin walking through City of Rocks toward Tabletop Mountain

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Campsite 17 in "Suburb of Rocks"

Campsite 17 in “Suburb of Rocks”

The site we like is number 17, which faces northwest ish out into a prairie like expanse of high desert.

Chihuahuan Desert

Chihuahuan Desert view from Site 17

The wind can be breathtaking with 50 mile an hour gusts testifying to the playfulness of the desert herself.

Tabletop Mountain

Tabletop Mountain

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.

Chihuahuan Desert from Tabletop Mountain

Chihuahuan Desert from Tabletop Mountain

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.

City of Rocks Ravens

City of Rocks Ravens

Horizon Cows

Horizon Cows

 

Century Plant

Century Plant

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.

Hydra Trail Sign

Hydra Trail Sign

City Of Rocks Geo cache find

City Of Rocks Geo cache find

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 :))

Tabletop Mountain at sunset

Tabletop Mountain at sunset

 

City of Rocks sunset

City of Rocks sunset

Sunset Moments Later

Sunset Moments Later

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

City of Rocks Observatory

City of Rocks Observatory

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!

8 Comments

Filed under Southwest

8 responses to “City of Rocks State Park, New Mexico

  1. John Powell

    Hi you two! I always wanted to get back there. It just so happens that I sold my RV two days ago. I now own a small farm/ranch just south of Badlands NP. If you come this way please look me up!
    John Powell

  2. Lovely, lovely, lovely! What an exciting place to explore. ❤ Night sky photos in the future? 😉
    * Love Louie L'Amour and Max Brand!
    ~Amy

    • Will have to see if my Canon “point and shoot” can do anything with the night sky. We’ll be back there again for two weeks beginning March 15th – so I think I may give it a try. Thanks for the idea!! Hope the snow melts and you can get your hiking boots on soon!

      • Yay! I wonder if ‘digiscoping’ would work? That is when you extend a camera’s reach by taking photos through the eye-cup of a scope. I managed to use one side of a broken binocular when I first tried it.

        Digiscoping is a technique birders use. I now have a mount for my point and shoot to keep it inline with my spotting scope eye-cup, but until I found a mount I just held my scope and camera together (tricky to keep both steady, but it worked).

        We keep getting more snow! At this rate the trails will be ‘sloggy’ until June!
        Love you guys!
        ~Amy

  3. Liz Landry

    Dear Lin and Ric – First thank you for taking me on your tour. Your photos are breath taking (loved the sunset in the desert). Second, your writing is wonderful. Shirley would be so proud to see the artisty the two of you are creating. Can’t wait for the next update. Love to you both. Liz

  4. Anonymous

    Enjoying your Blogs. Thanks for sharing.

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