Campsite Review: Valley of Fires Campground on an unburned island in the middle of a lava field in south-central New Mexico. The campground is operated by the Bureau of Land Management. About 5000 years ago Little Black Peak (to the north) erupted it combined with lava forced up through a rift flooded the Tularosa Basin with molten lava. The eruption covers 125 square miles.
Valley of Fires is located west of Carrizozo, New Mexico along US Highway 380.
There are no cities anywhere close. Albuquerque is about 100 miles north.
Here is our story while we stayed at the Valley of Fires
Valley of Fires campground has a mixture of RV sites with electric hookups and tent sites. The tent sites are located well south of the RV sites in the southern loop. There are 25 sites depending on which reference you see, most are pull-through sites and fourteen have electric hookups. There are three group sites. Our site was on the rim overlooking the lava flow.
The campground is on an island in the middle of the lava flow close enough to the highway as to have easy access, but far enough away that noise is not a problem. It is unlikely you would hear much anyway, this road is not well-traveled.
Some of the sites could hold several RVs, nearly all sites north of the southern loop are suitable for large RVs.
We really like camping at Valley of Fires Campground even though it was a little windy.
Website: Valley of Fires
Address: 6158 US-380, Carrizozo, NM 88301
Ranger station phone number at the park: 575-648-2241, expect to leave a message and get a callback.
Reservations: All sites are first-come-first-serve.
Link to Google Map for the area: Valley of Fires
Dates stayed: April 2-7, 2019
Comfort: Temperatures were cool at the beginning of April. Air conditioning at this time of year was not required. Temperatures in mid-summer can get very hot.
Season: Year-round with some exceptions
Price Paid: $9 per night, Here is a link to the article I wrote on how I get such a low price. FoxRVTravel-Snippet: America The Beautiful Pass.
Developed sites with electric/water #2-13 and 15. Developed sites with water #1, 14, 16, 18, 19. Tent sites #20-25.
Our Site: #5
Hook-ups: Electric and water.
Dump station: Yes
Potable Water: Yes
Water to fill your RV storage tank: Yes
Cell service: Verizon – weak signal / AT&T – weak signal. This was a place that the cell phone booster really worked wonders. We pointed our booster at the town of Carrizozo.
Campsite Review: Valley of Fires Campground insider info:
Most of the campsites are pull through and they seem to nearly overlap. The sites generally get more difficult to level your RV the further south you go. Site number five, which we camped in, is less private than most other sites because it is very close to the entrance of the 3/4 mile Malpais Trail.
Some of the pull-through sites share a driveway so that you may have a neighbor parking quite close to you.
Since the campground is first-come-first-serve, make sure you put something on the site to claim it for yourself. Given the design of the site, we just pulled into the empty spot and set up camp. After that, we went to the pay station.
We didn’t really expect as many people here so early in the season. The campground was nearly full every night. There was a good reason the campground was full — check the bonus section below for the reason.
We traveled from east of Roswell more than one hundred miles and arrived a little after 1 pm and nearly had our pick of the sites. As the week got closer to April 6, the campground filled. We were glad we arrived four days prior.
The lava fields at Valley of Fires were fascinating, but not a good enough reason to stay for five days.
The reason that Valley of Fires got busier and busier as the week went on is because of the open house at the Trinity Site. Here is our story about our visit to the Trinity Site
We timed our arrival so that we would be camping there while the gates to White Sands Missile Range were open and we could visit ground zero for the first-ever nuclear explosion. On April 6 we drove about 50 miles each way to the Trinity Site for the twice-yearly open house. The Trinity site is only about 20 miles to the west, but you have to go through the gate, and overall the trip made for a long day.
While waiting for the Trinity Site open house we visited the Ruidoso area and Fort Stanton. Both were good day trips.