free camping

  • Joe Skeen campgroundFearless Bus parked here for the week that is allowed in the campground.  El Malpais is a beautiful and diverse natural area just south of Grants, NM making it very convenient for CDT hikers, cavers, and day trippers alike.  The campground is always busy with nearly all of the ten sites filled each night.  We recommend arriving early in the day and planning on a short wait to see if sites open up.
     
    Tent campers can often find a place to pitch their tents alongside occupied sites as the community seems very accepting.  Some of the sites, especially along the ridge over the road, provide ample space for more people (as long as you don't go over the 8 person per site limit), and the brush makes for more privacy for tent campers.  While we camped there, two thru hikers pitched their tents on our enormous site.
     
    Along with the large free sites, there are two vault toilets that are kept clean and supplied by the Rangers.  There is no water available here so campers have to head into Grants or hit the Ranger station if it is open.
     
    Joe Skeen is within a few short miles to the Ventana Arch, the CDT, lava formations and tubes, ice caves, and the gorgeous sandstone bluffs.  There is a "land of contrast" feel to the entire area with the black of the lava stark against the cream of the sandstone.  The sharpness of the lava fields is in contrast to the soft palette of the surrounding desert.
     
    This is one of the best free campgrounds we have ever inhabited.  Highly recommended.  Did we mention there is an Asian Super Buffet with power outlets and delicious food right up the road in Grants?  Mmmmmmm....