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11 Best Aztec Ruins National Monument Free Camping Spots

Last updated on May 8th, 2022 at 01:10 am

Aztec Ruins National Monument (2)

The Aztec Ruins National Monument does not have many trails, but since we love hiking a lot, we visited the trails that were near and fantastic. We also had maps, and that helped a lot. I will describe some of the trails we loved the most so that you know what to look forward to. I will also rate the trails using easy, medium, and hard to choose the ones you will manage.

We enjoyed this place because it offered us an intimate experience unlike any we have ever had. We discovered plaster walls along the way and original roofs and saw a reed mat left behind by the early inhabitants. There were intriguing doors that were t-shaped and corner doors that provocatively faced the north. We saw the great Kiva as a place of wonder and a place where we felt a sense of sacredness. Read through to learn more about our adventure.

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History of Aztec Ruins National Monument

The t Aztec Ruins National Monument is full of history, and we learned a lot about the place. This Monument is located in Northwestern New Mexico in the city of Aztec. It is situated on the Animas River and was established in 1923. It was finally made a World Heritage Site in the year 1987 so that it can be protected and preserves. It is 320 acres wide, and we enjoyed our visit there.

11 Best Aztec Ruins National Monument Free Camping Spots

1. Aztec Ruins National Monument Boondocking Locations – Alien Run

Address
Aztec, New Mexico
GPS: 36.87804, -107.89841
Elevation: 6129′

Management Public – Bureau of Land Management (Official)

The road in is Dirt. Alien Run Mountain Bike Trail consists of two looped mountain bike trails that cover over 26 miles. The original loop and the Outer Limits trail circle around a rumored UFO crash site. Dispersed camping is allowed in the area.

2. Aztec Ruins National Monument Boondocking Free Campsites – Glade Run OHV Area

Address
Farmington, New Mexico
GPS: 36.802763, -108.179315
Elevation: 5669′

Management Public – Bureau of Land Management (Official)

The road in is Dirt and 4 miles from a paved road. There are 30 or more campsites at this location and the maximum RV length is unlimited. You may stay 14 at Glade Run OHV Area.

3. Aztec Ruins National Monument Boondocking Spots – Dunes Vehicle RA

Address
Road 6000
Farmington, New Mexico
GPS: 36.707255, -108.24087
Elevation: 5361′

Management Public – Bureau of Land Management

Over 800 acres of fun is waiting for off-road enthusiasts at the Dunes Vehicle Recreation Area south of Farmington. The off-highway vehicle area contains a wide variety of topography including large sand dunes, steep to gentle hillsides, and sandy arroyo bottoms. Innumerable roads and trails exist in the Dunes, created by nearly 40 years of off-road vehicle use.

4. Aztec Ruins National Monument Boondocking Locations – Cottonwood Campground – Navajo Lake State Park

Address
Navajo Dam, New Mexico
GPS: 36.810863, -107.676723

Management Public – State Park (Official)

The road in is Dirt and 2mi miles from a paved road. Cottonwood Campground – Navajo Lake State Park is open all year. There are 30 or more campsites at this location and the maximum RV length is 45 feet. You may stay 14 days at Cottonwood Campground – Navajo Lake State Park.

5. Aztec Ruins National Monument Boondocking Free Campsites – Angel Peak Scenic Area

Address
Off state rd 550 about 20 miles south of Bloomfield NE
Aztec, New Mexico
GPS: 36.545225, -107.862155
Elevation: 6643′

Management Public – Bureau of Land Management (Official)

The road in is Gravel and 1-6 miles from a paved road. There are 6-15 campsites at this location and the maximum RV length is unlimited. You may stay 14 Days at Angel Peak Scenic Area.

6. Aztec Ruins National Monument Boondocking Spots – Beyond the Well

Address
Navajo Dam, New Mexico
GPS: 36.812921, -107.543115
Elevation: 6260′

Management Public – Bureau of Land Management

The road in is Dirt. Beyond the well is open Weather permitting. There are 1-5 campsites at this location and the maximum RV length is 25 feet. You may stay 14 days at Beyond the well.

7. Aztec Ruins National Monument Boondocking Locations – Durfield BLM Boondocking

Address
Durango, Colorado
GPS: 37.219377, -107.699484
Elevation: 7026′

Management Public – Bureau of Land Management

The road in is Dirt. Durfield BLM Boondocking is open May 1 to Nov 30. There are 1-5 campsites at this location and the maximum RV length is 35 feet. You may stay two weeks at Durfield BLM Boondocking.

8. Aztec Ruins National Monument Boondocking Free Campsites – Cherry Creek Gravel Pit

Address
Hesperus, Colorado
GPS: 37.328922, -108.119816
Elevation: 7989′

Management Public – Forest Service

The road in is Dirt and 100 Yards miles from a paved road. Cherry Creek Gravel Pit is open Whenever not blocked by snow. There are 6-15 campsites at this location and the maximum RV length is unlimited. You may stay 14 Days at Cherry Creek Gravel Pit.

9. Aztec Ruins National Monument Boondocking Spots – Bay City Campground

Address
La Plata Canyon Road
Durango, Colorado
GPS: 37.360975, -108.078145
Elevation: 8734′

Management Public – Forest Service (Official)

The road in is Paved. There are 1-5 campsites at this location and the maximum RV length is 15 feet. You may stay 14 days at Bay City Campground.

10. Aztec Ruins National Monument Boondocking Locations – Miner’s Cabin

Address
Durango, Colorado
GPS: 37.371249, -108.07663
Elevation: 8836′

Management Public – Forest Service (Official)

The road in is Gravel and Six miles from a paved road. Miner’s Cabin is open Three seasons. There are 1-5 campsites at this location and the maximum RV length is 35 feet. You may stay 14 days at Miner’s Cabin.

11. Aztec Ruins National Monument Boondocking Free Campsites –  Barnes Mountain Boondock

Address
FR 171
Durango, Colorado
GPS: 37.369575, -107.899104
Elevation: 9288′

Management Public – Forest Service (Official)

Places and Things to Do and See in Aztec Ruins National Monument

I went to Aztec Ruins National Monument with my wife and am not lying when I say that we enjoyed every bit of it. I will discuss some of the things we enjoyed the most so that you know what to expect. Below are places and things to see and do in the Monument.

Visitor Center

This is the first place that we had to visit, the center was once Earl Morris’ house, and it has a rich history. We were asked to pay an entrance fee, and we received orientation where we were told all about the archeological site. This is where you also get to pick a trail guide to know where you are at all times. We saw beautiful artifacts more than 900 years old and even watched a 15-minute video about the ruins.

Aztec West Self-Guided Trail

Another activity that you can participate in is the self-guided trail. We explored a place called the Great house, an economic, social, and political center for the whole region. Along the way, we got to see skillful stone masonry and wood roofing that has been well preserved. The walls even had an original motor, which was pretty cool. We got to learn about the traditional Native American perspectives and the modern archeological findings. The highlight of it all was the great ceremonial Kiva over 40 feet wide and one of the oldest buildings of such kind.

Junior Ranger

If you visit this place with your kids, then this is a program that they will love. The kids are taught to become junior rangers, and they even get to earn a badge after complications of specific activities. We joined this program, and it helped us learn a lot about the ancestral Pueblo people.

Special Events and Interpretive Programs

In this program, we learned more about the history and traditions of the people that lived in the Aztec Ruins National Monument. There were different demonstrations of their arts which was pretty cool. You have to check with the schedules a month earlier to be sure to get this program.

Native Plants Walk and Heritage Garden

Both of this activities were inside the historic area. We were able to see traditional crops like sunflowers, corn, squash, beans, and even gourds. We enjoyed this activity a lot, and it made us appreciate gardening even more. We took a quick stroll and saw the plants that Southwestern people relied on for years.

Top 9 Trails to Hike at Aztec Ruins National Monument

The Aztec Ruins National Monument does not have many trails, but since we love hiking a lot, we visited the trails that were near and fantastic. We also had maps, and that helped a lot. I will describe some of the trails we loved the most so that you know what to look forward to. I will also rate the trails using easy, medium, and hard to choose the ones you will manage.

Aztec Ruins National Monument Hiking Trail #1. Aztec Ruins West Great House Loop

Aztec Ruins National Monument (1)

This is the only trail that we visited in Aztec Ruins National Monument. It is 0.4 miles long, and I can rate it as an easy trail. We managed this trail with no problem, and the QR code spots along the way helped a lot. When you scan, you get to learn more about the place and its history. The paths were marked, so we did not wander off, which was a plus. We also got to learn about the Chaco Phenomenon, which made it an even better place.

Length: 0.4 mi
Elevation gain: 6 ft
Route type: Loop

Kid friendly, Hiking, Walking, Historic site, No dogs

Aztec Ruins National Monument Hiking Trail #2. Alien Run Trail at Hart Canyon

1. Aztec Ruins West Great House Loop - Aztec Ruins National Monument Boondocking Locations

This trail is not part of the Aztec Ruins National Monument, but it is near, and that is why it’s on the list. The trail is 7.9 miles long, and I can rate it as easy. The trail is accessible all year long, and you are allowed to even come with your dog. My friends and I used mountain bikes, and we still managed even though the riding was a bit technical. The trail was also well marked, so you will know how to get there and back. There were also plenty of opportunities to go off-trail, but it was easy to get back on the road.

Length: 7.9 mi
Elevation gain: 646 ft
Route type: Loop

Kid friendly, Hiking, Mountain biking, Nature trips, Walking, Bird watching, Running, Dog friendly, Forest, Views,
Wildflowers, Wildlife

Aztec Ruins National Monument Hiking Trail #3. Cox Canyon Arch

3. Cox Canyon Arch - Aztec Ruins National Monument Free Campsites

 

The Cox Canyon Arch is also not in Aztec Ruins National Monument, but it is located in Aztec. It is .04 miles long and can be rated as an easy trail. Any person with any skill can be able to maneuver this trail with no problem. We loved the arch and also loved how the trail was well marked. There were a few challenging spots, but the effort was worth it. There was also a nearby gas facility that we didn’t appreciate because it made some noise.

Length: 0.4 mi
Elevation gain: 127 ft
Route type: Out & back

Hiking, Nature trips, Views, Wildlife, Rocky, Scramble, No shade

Aztec Ruins National Monument Hiking Trail #4. Kinsey Trail and Rigormortis Loop

4. Kinsey Trail and Rigormortis Loop- Aztec Ruins National Monument Free Campsites

Another trail that is near Aztec Ruins National Monument is the Kinsey Trail and Rigormortis Loop. It is located in Flora Vista and measures 7.2 miles. I can rate this trail as moderate as it was a bit hard, especially if you are not a seasonal hiker. The area does not have much shade, so carry plenty of water. Some of us even decided to try it out with our mountain bikes, and it was still amazing.

Length: 7.2 mi
Elevation gain: 452 ft
Route type: Loop

Dogs on leash, Hiking, Mountain biking, Nature trips, Road biking, Walking, Bird watching, Running, Views, Wildflowers

Aztec Ruins National Monument Hiking Trail #5. Anasazi Trail

5. Anasazi Trail- Aztec Ruins National Monument Free Campsites

 

The Anasazi trail is also another trail that is worth trying out. It is located in Farmington and has various scenic views. The trail is 2.9 miles long and can be rated as moderate. We decided to go on this trail with our mountain bikes, and it was still a lot of fun. The trail was short, and we enjoyed the sandstone features. There were also plenty of whoops on the banks, which was also a lot of fun.

Length: 2.9 mi
Elevation gain: 167 ft
Route type: Loop

Dogs on leash, Mountain biking, Nature trips, Walking, Bird watching, Views

Aztec Ruins National Monument Hiking Trail #6. Kinsey – Seven Sisters Loop

6. Kinsey - Seven Sisters Loop - Aztec Ruins National Monument Boondocking Spots

Another easy trail near Aztec Ruins National Monument and is worth the visit. It is located near Farmington and can be tried by people of all skills. It is 8.8 miles long, and you are even allowed to go with your dog. Just make sure that you keep the dog on a leash. It was an excellent workout for all of us, and we appreciated the views. If you are using a mountain bike, look out for sandy washes requiring major descent.

Length: 8.8 mi
Elevation gain: 623 ft
Route type: Loop

Dogs on leash, Hiking, Mountain biking, Running, Rocky

Aztec Ruins National Monument Hiking Trail #7. Aztec Animas River Trail

7. Aztec Animas River Trail - Aztec Ruins National Monument Boondocking Spots

I want to finish with an easy trail that I also loved a lot. It is called Aztec Animals River Trail and is located in Aztec. The trail is 1.6 miles long, and one of its great features is a lake. You can use the trail for different activities like running, walking, and even biking. There was also some exercising equipment on the way, which we loved a lot.

Length: 1.6 mi
Elevation gain: 62 ft
Route type: Out & back

Dogs on leash, Wheelchair friendly, Kid friendly, Stroller friendly, Road biking, Walking, Running, Lake, Paved, Wildlife

Aztec Ruins National Monument Hiking Trail #8. Simon Canyon Ruin

8. Simon Canyon Ruin Aztec Ruins National Monument Hiking Trail

If you are looking for a trail that is not too hard or too easy, then the Simon Canyon Ruin is a moderate that measures 1.6 miles long. It is located in Aztec, and one of the features that we loved a lot was the river. It was a quick hike for us, but that may be because we are seasonal hikers. The site was fantastic, and the trail was well maintained. There was also some slick sandstone, but it is not something you should worry about.

Length: 1.6 mi
Elevation gain: 147 ft
Route type: Out & back

Kid friendly, Camping, Hiking, Running, Dog friendly, River, Rocky, No shade, Historic site

Aztec Ruins National Monument Hiking Trail #9. Ditch Canyon Wash

9. Ditch Canyon Wash Aztec Ruins National Monument Hiking Trail

Another moderate hike near Aztec Ruins National Monument is the Ditch Canyon wash. It is also located in Aztec and has fantastic sceneries that we appreciate a lot. We shared the trail with others who were on their horses and others using their mountain bikes. It was overall a good trail, and I would recommend trying it out.

Length: 6.5 mi
Elevation gain: 246 ft
Route type: Out & back

Hiking, Horseback riding, Views, Rocky, Off trail

Aztec Ruins National Monument is worth a visit. It has a rich history and also several activities that you can participate in. I went with my friends and had a lot of fun. We would love to go back there again so that we can experience it more. It does not have many hiking trails within the Monument, but there are many around, and they are all fun.


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