• Menu

12 Top Las Cruces Free Camping and El Paso Boondocking Stops

Free Camping at Organ Mountains, Las Cruces, NM - VanLife

There are  wonderful free boondocking areas in western Texas where the weather is usually pleasant. Beautiful locations offer free camping throughout Texas, from the Panhandle to the Red River and from the Gulf of Mexico to the East Texas Piney Woods. You should take advantage of the numerous options for boondocking in Texas since it takes more than 16 hours to drive from Beaumont to El Paso and over 10 hours hours to drive from Wichita to Brownsville. Consider visiting these top spots since the state is home to two national parks, more than 250 state parks, and numerous other attractions.

El Paso and the Las Cruces sister cities, which share a border with Mexico and New Mexico, are a treasure trove of southwest scenery. Camping here means experiencing sunrises over the Chihuahuan Desert and views of undulating mountains. Rock climbing, biking, and hiking are all nearby. Also, leave the rain gear at home because El Paso experiences 300 days of sunshine annually. The greatest places to view the starry Texas skies are from an RV park, a private ranch, or a Texas state park that is close to town.

One of El Paso’s best-kept secrets, Hueco Tanks State Park, is a local favorite. In this sacred location, there are several Native American rock drawings and unusual structures. Some of the most popular activities include bouldering, rock climbing, hiking, and camping. Just keep in mind to make advance plans if you wish to obtain an access permit. (The park distributes 70 each day.) Franklin Mountains State Park is right in the middle of El Paso. It is the largest urban park in the United States, covering 37 square miles of mountain desert. The 100 miles of rough trails are easily accessible from rustic RV and tent camping.

Take an aerial tramway up North Franklin Mountain for further adventure, or climb the rocks at McKelligon Canyon. (Keep in mind to BYOG, or bring your own gear.) Texas isn’t the only spot to set up a tent, of course. For expansive skies, cross the state border into New Mexico. If you enjoy exploring old buildings, the desert campground in Pancho Villa State Park is a fantastic choice.

5 Great Things To Do In El Paso

 

1. Eat the Best Crunchy Tacos in El Paso

John loves crunchy foods and was more than willing to eat one of the best tacos I had found in El Paso, Texas, when I told him about it. Tacos Antonia are a must-order item at Lucy’s Cafe West (6600 North Mesa Street). It lived up to its reputation as one of El Paso’s top crunchy tacos. John told me that he thought the first taco, which was stuffed with shredded beef, avocado, and cheese, was the nicest crunchy taco he had ever eaten. Our Google Maps now shows the restaurant as starred as well as every place to visit in this article, making it easier for us to remember it the next time we visit El Paso and to help you get to them as well.

2. Explore and Discover El Paso Murals

Visit the Greetings From El Paso Mural by Greetings Tour at The Substation at 145 East Sunset Road in the Upper Valley. Since 2015, Victor and Lisa have been touring the country in their RV while painting stunning murals in the style of greeting cards. Additionally, it was here that we spoke with Chorus Nylander of KTSM. Have you captured this mural on camera? Please let us know by leaving a comment below.

If you want more El Paso murals, go on a driving tour through Downtown to find your favorites. We spotted this X-men mural near Cotton Street between 3rd and 4th Avenue.

3. Enjoy a Pint of Texas Craft Beer at Tin Man El Paso

With many locations across the city, El Paso’s favorite Texas craft beer growler filling station is called Tin Man. We made a visit at Tin Man Montecillo (4935 North Mesa Street #12) as we were already in the vicinity. The filling station offered unique growlers for sale along with more than 25 Texas artisan beers on tap. To learn about changes and discounts, visit the Tin Man Facebook page.

4. Nachos at The Tap Bar & Restaurant

El Paso offers a wide variety of restaurants for foodies to pick from. From fancy restaurants with menus that meet dietary needs to greasy spoons. The Tap Bar & Restaurant, which serves El Paso’s best nachos, and L&J Cafe, which serves mouthwatering enchiladas, are a couple of our favorite eateries in the city. Our video on things to do in El Paso includes both of these eateries.

5. Enchiladas at L&J Cafe

When we return to El Paso in the future, Cafe Mayalan will be at the top of our list. This restaurant is regarded as one of the top Mexican restaurants in El Paso and delivers classic healthy Mexican cuisine made with fresh ingredients.

We still have so much to see and do in El Paso, such as Franklin Mountain State Park, the El Paso Museum of Art, the Municipal Rose Garden, and the Wyler Aerial Tramway.

5 Best Things to Do in Las Cruces

 

The city of Las Cruces in the state of New Mexico actually means ‘The Crosses’ in Spanish.

Unknown if this was intended to relate to genuine crosses, the city is today more likely to be called “The Crossroads” because of its advantageous location at a junction of two motorways.

The city is well-known for having temporarily housed luminaries like Billy the Kid and the Mexican leader Pancho Villa, and the region was formerly renowned as a sanctuary for miners.

Thanks to its delectable and diverse New Tex Mex cuisine as well as its endearing blend of southwestern friendliness, history, and culture, Las Cruces is now well-known.

Let’s have a look at the best things to do in Las Cruces:

1. Old Mesilla

Traveling south of Las Cruces will bring you to Mesilla, a community that holds historical significance as the site of the infamous Billy the Kid trial.

Today, Old Mesilla is home to charming stores that offer local crafts, and if you’re looking to enjoy some traditional Mexican cuisine, you’ve come to the right location.

If you’re feeling courageous, you may take a walking tour of Old Mesilla’s downtown plaza, which is supposed to be haunted by spirits of historical figures and miners who once lived and died there.

2. Fort Seldon State Monument

The United States Army constructed Fort Seldon in 1865 as a defense for the local people that had settled in the Mesilla Valley region.

Today, most of the fort is gone, but visitors can still explore the brick walls built in the adobe style, and there is a fascinating and enlightening visitor center with a permanent display that describes everything about life on the border.

There are frequently live demonstrations here on the weekends that will give you the impression that you have traveled back in time.

3. White Sands National Monument

The largest gypsum dune field in the world can be found 45 miles east of Las Cruces.

The monument, which visitors to the area have compared to a landscape from another planet, and the dunes provide insight into the native plant and wildlife that manages to survive in these hard and arid conditions.

There are picnic sites nearby, white sand dunes that remain unspoiled, and the chance to go surfing or tobogganing down the dunes.

The monument covers an area of 275 square miles, and there are guided tours available, including the Sunset Stroll Nature Walk, which are led by locals who can tell visitors about all the surrounding attractions.

4. Green Chili Trail

If you enjoy chili, consider taking a self-guided tour of the Walk of Flame, which is a collection of restaurants and pubs that all serve food that is somehow related to chili.

It is only natural that visitors try some of the chili-based meals as well as green chilies are the pride of Las Cruces and the local university even has a research department devoted to studying these tiny green capsicums.

On the Green Chili Trail, you can stop at neighborhood eateries to sample classic Mexican cuisine cooked with green chilies, or you can partake in the tour and sample foods made specifically in the Las Cruces region.

You can try some strange drinks like green chili vodka, green chili martinis, or even green chili beer.

The Walk of Flame will also take you through the history of chili production in Las Cruces as well as giving visitors an insight into growing and picking techniques.

5. Organs Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument

This monument is actually a nearly 500,000-acre protected area that is well-known for its hiking trails in the Organ Mountains that surround Las Cruces.

The region is great if you want to spend a day exploring some of Las Cruces’ picturesque surroundings, and the hiking paths here are well-designed and simple to navigate.

Any hike you choose will provide you with stunning views of the Organ Mountains and mountain ranges in the Chihuahua Desert.

The monument is conveniently located in Las Cruces and offers visitors a view of the native flora and fauna that thrive in this arid climate.

12 Las Cruces Free Camping and El Paso Free Boondocking Locations

Las Cruces Boondocking West

1. Organ Mountain National Monument NW of Las Cruces

Address
Las Cruces, New Mexico
GPS: 32.430744, -107.140048
Elevation: 4741′

Management: Bureau of Land Management

Several small pull-off areas along the gravel roads that traverse BLM lands in the Monument. Didn’t see another human being for more than a day, and not until I returned to paved road COO7. The road into this Las Cruces boondocking location is paved.

Best Review:

I stayed here a few nights ago – my first night of a five month road trip. Several pull-outs available and as the person who submitted this spot said, there was no one out there. As a solo woman, that was a little freaky, but I am sure it was just because I need to get back into the swing of things and gain my confidence again. The stars at night were truly magnificent and the sunrise/sunset is killer. This was a great El Paso boondocking Location.

Best Hiking:

Dripping Springs Trail

Dripping Springs Trail and Las Cruces Free Camping

Finished the hike in an hour and ten minutes after starting at 6:30 p.m., so if you go then, you’ll have plenty of time before sunset. A nighttime stroll was made pleasant by the very gentle ascent. The entire path is gravel, so take care while choosing footwear. The spring had gushing water because it rained yesterday and today.

Length: 3.0 mi
Elevation gain: 456 ft
Route type: Out & back

Kid friendly, Hiking, Walking, Running, Views, Waterfall, Wildflowers, Wildlife, Rocky, Historic site, Fee, No dogs

2. High Desert Camp

Address
Las Cruces, New Mexico
GPS: 32.213561, -107.091511
Elevation: 4505′

Management: Bureau of Land Management

A large turnout about 300 yards north of the Aden Hill ORV station on county road B5. Can fit a large class A rig. The road into this Las Cruse free RV camping area is dirt not well maintained. BLM Ranger and Border Patrol came by and did not disturb us for the duration of our 14 day stay. Easy to get to El Paso free rv camping area.

Best Review:

It was a really beautiful place in the middle of nowhere. There were parts of the gravel road in where I had to drive very slowly but totally worth it for sunsets behind the mountains. The off road track across the street made for such nice peaceful walks through the desert. No amenities, bring everything you need. One of my favorite El Paso free camping stops on a Texas cross state run.

Best Hiking:

Pine Tree Trail

Pine Tree Trail and Las Cruces Boondocking

A pleasant short walk in the woods. Done in less than two hours, before the sun was at its peak. I heard one rattler nearby and saw one on the trail. Bring bug spray; there are many of mosquitoes. Although it’s a short and enjoyable hike, there aren’t many sights that can’t be seen from the drive in.

Length: 4.6 mi
Elevation gain: 1,135 ft
Route type: Loop

Kid friendly, Hiking, Walking, Bird watching, Running, Dog friendly, Forest, Views, Wildflowers, Wildlife,
Rocky

3. Box Canyon Rd

Address
Las Cruces, New Mexico
GPS: 32.323049, -106.904829

Management: Bureau of Land Management

The road into this Las Cruse free camping area is dirt and 3.5 miles from a paved road. Box Canyon Rd is open year round. You may stay 14 days at Box Canyon Rd. This is large pull-off along Box Canyon Rd. on an eastern ridge. It’s in the Organ Mountains Desert Peaks National Monument (Desert Peaks Unit). Viewed to the east is Las Cruces, Picacho Mountain, and the Organ Mountains in the distance.

Best Review:

Great little campsite with an amazing view of the surrounding mountains and Las Cruces. The road was rough but we made it in our 2wd Mitsubishi Lancer. Camped in a tent for one night. Would highly recommend if you’re passing through Las Cruces.

Best Hiking:

Soledad Canyon Loop Trail

Box Canyon Rd El Paso Free RV Camping

The entire trail is distinctly marked. It is uphill to get to the small waterfall in the narrow canyon. This hike was quite fun thanks to the gorgeous scenery and blue skies! It does get heated up by early afternoon, so I would definitely go early. As there is no water availability along this 3-mile track, be sure to pack plenty of water for both you and your dog (if you decide to bring your best friend).

Length: 3.4 mi
Elevation gain: 659 ft
Route type: Loop

Dogs on leash, Kid friendly, Hiking, Horseback riding, Running, Views, Waterfall, Wildflowers, Wildlife, No shade

4. Las Cruces Overlook Rest Area

Address
Las Cruces, New Mexico
GPS: 32.280868, -106.866846
Elevation: 4196′

Management: DOT Rest Area

Overnight RV Parking in a highway rest area that also serves as an overlook. EASTBOUND traffic only!

Best Review:

This was a great El Paso boondocking Location and overnight spot! Traveling in a Skoolie with enclosed trailer about 50 feet long. Plenty of RV parking along the inner circle. Restrooms are clean, they have in person security n good cell service. Wonderful views ?

Best Hiking:

Organ Needles Trail

Soledad Canyon Loop Trail and Las Cruces RV Free Camping

Another strenuous, lengthy hike, but well worth it. 8 miles in total. Take plenty of water; 4L can be consumed comfortably. Still a rope at the top. Before beginning the east side hike, there were two rattlesnakes at the higher saddle, both hiding under the large, flat, rectangular rock. Watch your steps and exercise caution. Happy hiking! Oh, and storing water at Yellow Rock for the walk out was a great idea. The final half mile is covered in stinging nettles. ugh

Length: 5.8 mi
Elevation gain: 3,579 ft
Route type: Out & back

Hiking, Views, Wildflowers, Wildlife, Over grown, Rocky, Scramble, No dogs

Las Cruces Boondocking East

5. Sonoma Ranch South

Address
Las Cruces, New Mexico
GPS: 32.318915, -106.709594
Elevation: 4285′

Management: Bureau of Land Management

Dispersed camping. BLM land. Off Sonoma Ranch near the city landfill. The road into this Las Cruse free RV camping area is paved for the most part.

Best Review:

The road into this Las Cruces boondocking location is off the road some bit but not far and is used as a shooting range. If you don’t mind guns going off at times or just enjoy shooting it’s the perfect spot. Easy to access to El Paso free rv camping area with the shooting not for everyone but reminded me of a day of duck hunting in Arkansas.

Best Hiking:

Bishop Cap Trail

Bishop Cap Trail and El Paso Boondocking

Fun hike We followed the ridgeline, which included Pyramid Peak, as we ascended. You may take a reasonably good herd route to the top from the saddle between Pyramid and Bishop Cap. Plenty of El Paso free camping around the trail.

Length: 5.4 mi
Elevation gain: 1,292 ft
Route type: Out & back

Hiking, Running, Views, Wildflowers, Rocky, Scramble, Off trail, No shade

You May Also Like: 19 Free Campsites for Big Bend National Park 

6. Organ Mountain-Desert Peaks National Monument

Address
Las Cruces, New Mexico
GPS: 32.320287, -106.630977
Elevation: 4856′

Management: Bureau of Land Management

The road in is The road into this Las Cruces boondocking location is dirt. There are 1-5 campsites at this location. Leaving Las Cruces, just before the turn off of Dripping Springs on to Baylor Canyon road on the right hand side.

Best Review:

Really great spot. Plenty of space if you have all wheel drive or four-wheel-drive you can go up a little higher where it’s even more quiet larger spots more spaced out. Plan to be here for three nights but you can be here for up to 14. Epic sunsets & Hiking. Strong cell signal. And town is 15 minutes away. Stayed on weekdays (Sunday thru Wednesday) was very quiet and the stars are outstanding.

Best Hiking:

Pena Blanca Trail

Pena Blanca Trail El Paso Free Camping

Love exploring here because it’s so serene and calm and because there are so many caves and interesting rock formations to discover. Additionally, search for mortar holes made by people who lived long ago:

Length: 2.4 mi
Elevation gain: 282 ft
Route type: Out & back

Kid friendly, Hiking, Running, Views, Wildflowers, Wildlife, Rocky, No shade

7. Organ Mountain NM-Baylor Canyon Road

Address
Las Cruces, New Mexico
GPS: 32.3424, -106.613429
Elevation: 5151′

Management: Bureau of Land Management

The road into this This was a great El Paso boondocking Location is 4x4. Organ Mountain NM-Baylor Canyon Road is open year round. There are 1-5 campsites at this location. You may stay 14 days at Organ Mountain NM-Baylor Canyon Road. Small pull off with fire ring on the west side of Baylor Canyon Road. .1 miles off Baylor Canyon drive, this is a rocky, rough road. Site can accommodate a vehicle and tent or van camping.

Best Review:

Gorgeous spot!! Overlooking the city of Las Cruces with the Organ pipe mountains behind you to the East. Dry camping,camp sites are in pretty good shape. Looks like it may be a party destination based on some of the ground litter. The road in is rough but passable, just go slow. Quiet place to enjoy this area.

Best Hiking:

Dripping Springs to Soledad Canyon

Dripping Springs to Soledad Canyon Las Cruces Boondocking

Excellently maintained desert trail with several trail markings. Great valley and mountain views, a wide variety of cacti, and relatively level terrain.

Length: 5.1 mi
Elevation gain: 521 ft
Route type: Out & back

Hiking, Mountain biking, Views, Wildflowers, Wildlife, No shade

8. Baylor Pass West Trailhead Parking Lot

Address
Las Cruces, New Mexico
GPS: 32.391105, -106.613916
Elevation: 4885′

Management: Bureau of Land Management

The road into this Las Cruse free RV camping area is paved. Baylor Pass West Trailhead parking lot is open all year. There are 1-5 campsites at this location and the maximum RV length is 45 feet. You may stay 14 at Baylor Pass West Trailhead parking lot.

Best Review:

Easy to get to El Paso free rv camping area to stop for the night. We had plenty of room for our 45 ft RV and Jeep. Beautiful scenery and nice to be right off a paved road.

Best Hiking:

Tortugas Mountain Trail

Tortugas Mountain Trail Las Cruces Free RV Camping Locaiton

Amazing hike given the variety of available routes, it is advised to use the AllTrails app for navigating. Basically, you go around the mountain and then climb up it straight, gaining the 900 feet of elevation all at once. Excellent, expansive panoramas.

Length: 5.0 mi
Elevation gain: 964 ft
Route type: Loop

Dogs on leash, Kid friendly, Hiking, Mountain biking, Walking, Bird watching, Views, Wildflowers, Wildlife, No shade

9. Aguirre Springs Rd (next to White Sands Missile Range)

Address
Las Cruces, New Mexico
GPS: 32.430732, -106.548929
Elevation: 5295′

Management: National Park Service

Turnout on the way up to the campground, where the road is too steep for trailers. About 1/2 mi. odd Hwy. 70. Very quiet! Can be very windy. The road into this Las Cruces boondocking location is paved.

Best Review:

None

Best Hiking:

Turtleback and Arroyo Loop Trail

urtleback and Arroyo Loop and Las Cruces Free Camping Locaiton

Wear the right shoes for a rocky climb! there’s enough side trails to turn off if you can’t go up, and lovely views, but if you want to try the trail as drawn on the All Trails app there’s a few places to scramble up.

Length: 0.5 mi
Elevation gain: 98 ft
Route type: Loop

Hiking, Walking, Running, Views, No shade

El Paso Boondocking

10. Camping World El Paso Texas

Address
Anthony, Texas
GPS: 31.979761, -106.581104

Management: Retail Store

The road into this Las Cruse free camping area is paved. The maximum RV length at Camping World El Paso Texas is unlimited. You may stay overnight at Camping World El Paso Texas.

Best Review:

Friendly staff directed us to overnight in their parking lot. They even showed us 110 electrical hookup with water! This is really the only place to for El Paso boondocking that will allow you to unhook and explore the city. As you know Camping World always has great security and your personal belonging are safe there. Not true boondocking but an easy El Paso boondocking Location for a night of exploring

Best Hiking:

None

You May Also Like: 15 Guadalupe Mountains National Park Free Campgrounds 

11. Wal-Mart Super Center

Address
El Paso, Texas
GPS: 31.812997, -106.26151
Elevation: 3983′

Management: Retail Store

24hr Wal-Mart even asked manager to make sure it was okay relatively close to hucko tanks state park. The road into this Las Cruse free RV camping area is paved.

Best Review

I’ve recently spent a night at the Lowe’s parking lot. Note – The Walmart parking is almost full so no place for RVs. While there is an adjacent Lowe’s Parking, it’s quite unoccupied and easy to find good spots. Nobody bothered us. Also another camper pulled in while I was there and we managed to camp overnight with no issues. Easy to get to El Paso free rv camping area that will do for an overnight on a long Texas trip.

Best Hiking

None

12. I-10 Rest Stop

Address
Fabens, Texas
GPS: 31.505763, -106.120723
Elevation: 3750′

Management: DOT Rest Area

The road into this El Paso boondocking spot is Paved.

Amenities:
ADA accessible
Pets Welcome
Picnic Tables
Restrooms

Best Review:

It looks like there are two near identical rest areas on either side of the highway. We stopped at the one on the Eastbound side. There were a limited number of spots so many people pulled along the curb. There were small shelters over picnic tables and grills, which was nice. About 5 stalls in the women’s bathroom and it was pretty clean. The rest area is 100 feet from the highway so you will hear traffic and trucks coming in and out. The road into this Las Cruces boondocking location is paved.

Best Hiking

None


For complete photos and videos of our trip visit our photos on our page Instagram Page

You May Want to Join Our Boondocking Facebook Group Boondocking Group on Facebook For More Information

You May Want to Join Our Campfires Recipes Group Campfire Recipes Group on Facebook