Soak in sunsets and starlit desert skies on a Tucumcari camping trip.
An iconic stop along historic Route 66, Tucumcari continues to be a popular destination for road trippers and campers of all stripes. Just outside of town, the 4,000-foot Tucumcari Mountain is marked with a hand-painted “T.” It’s surrounded by rocky desert camping opportunities under remarkable sunsets and gorgeous starlit skies. Nestled in the arid environment are several surprising oases for lakefront camping. Go swimming, fishing, and kayaking at Ute Lake State Park or Conchas Lake State Park, which both offer developed RV campsites with electric hookups, picnic tables, and restrooms. Or, dive deep into the crystal clear waters of Blue Hole near Santa Rosa Lake State Park for a scuba diving adventure.
About 20 miles northeast of Tucumcari, Ute Lake State Park offers several campgrounds along different parts of its shoreline. The Yucca and Zia campgrounds by the eastern part of the lake are designed for RVs and come equipped with hookups for water and electricity. The Roadrunner and Cottonwood campgrounds in the same area are more primitive. Near Logan Park and Rogers Park camping areas in the north, find Ute Lake Nature Trail, which takes hikers through desert canyons and past arroyos. Fishing for largemouth bass, crappie, and walleye is also popular at Ute Lake, as is horseback riding through Mine Canyon and Rogers Camp areas.
Created by the construction of the Conchas Dam on the Canadian River in 1939, Conchas Lake is a large reservoir with sandy beaches and secluded coves. An excellent site for swimming, boating, sailing, fishing, and even water skiing, Conchas Lake also offers a number of camping opportunities along its shore. Both primitive camping and more developed RV campsites are available at Central Recreation Area, while marinas and boat ramps are a bit farther north between Cove Recreation Area and North Area Campgrounds. Southside Recreation Area also has a boat ramp, plus primitive lakeside campsites with covered picnic shelters and fire pits. Note that water is only accessible to campers between April and November.
Both Juniper Park Campground and Rocky Point Campground at Santa Rosa Lake State Park offer comfortable amenities like electric and water hookups, clean showers, and tree-shaded picnic areas. After setting up, explore hiking trails around the plains of eastern New Mexico while keeping a lookout for migratory birds like sandhill cranes and white-winged doves. A short 15-minute drive south, find Park Lake, which features an inflatable water park obstacle course. Next to that is the 81-foot deep Blue Hole, a compact swimming hole with cool clear water that’s especially popular among scuba divers.
Summer campers in Tucumcari who love heat will find ample opportunities for water sports and outdoor activities in average temperatures of 100℉. It’s important to stay hydrated and seek shade as much as possible during these hot summer months. For milder daytime highs in the 60s to 80s, as well as increased wildlife viewing, try camping in the Tucumcari area in spring and fall instead.