If you’re looking for a lovely free campground while you’re exploring the O’Keeffe country of New Mexico, here’s a great option for you!
Just over 10 miles north of Ghost Ranch is the Echo Amphitheater campground, and though they used to charge money to stay here, nowadays it’s free. 🙂
I was planning to be away to Colorado by this time, but ended up waiting a week for a mechanic in Española to get a new steering gear box for me. That meant a week of bumming around northern New Mexico — not an unwelcome task!
One of the areas of this state that I really love is the red rock country around Abiquiu. It’s a region made famous by the painter Georgia O’Keeffe, who fell in love with the dramatic scenery here and made it the subject of many of her works.
Whether you’re an art enthusiast or not, it’s a great area for hiking, exploring, and just sitting admiring the vistas. A couple of stunning nearby hikes at Ghost Ranch are Chimney Rock and Kitchen Mesa. Both of those will give you exceptional views of the rock formations that make this area so memorable.
Echo Amphitheater is a natural bowl in the rocks that really does echo. If you stop by here, it’s worth making the short walk up to the “amphitheater”, and hearing what your voice sounds like when it reverberates over and over.
When you camp here, you’re likely to hear other people shouting into the rocks during the day, but it’s super quiet at night once the day trippers leave.
The Echo Amphitheater campground
This small campground has 9 sites around a dirt road loop which was no trouble for Zennie. The sites are far enough apart that you feel like you’ve got privacy and space. All sites have a picnic table and grill, and some of the sites have pull-throughs. There are no hookups. There aren’t any shade structures at the campsites, but there are shaded tables in the picnic area.
I spent a couple of nights here. One night I was the only camper, and the other night one other site was taken. The bathrooms were broken, but the doors weren’t locked, so it’s probably a temporary outage. There was water available from hand pumps, and I even had T-Mobile cell service.
All that, for free, with superb hiking nearby, and I can drink my morning coffee with a view like this! Seems just about perfect to me! 🙂
Echo Amphitheater Campground – Carson National Forest
Official campground. Easy dirt road loops through the campground. Campsites have picnic tables and grills. No shade, no hookups. Drinking water available from pumps. Bathrooms were out of order when I was there.
Altitude: 6,610 ft
GPS: 36.35914, -106.52325
Have you camped around Abiquiu, either here or elsewhere? I’d love to hear about your experiences, so please share in the Reply section below. Thanks!
PHOTO CREDITS: Deanna Keahey