I covered 8800 miles in the Odyssey Camper, boondocking often, while traveling to the 2018 Rubber Tramp Rendevous (RTR). One of my favorite sites was the Aguirre Spring Campground outside of White Sands, NM.
Nestled in the Organ Mountains, the Aguirre (ah-gear-ee) Spring Campground is tended by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and is located at GPS coordinates:
32.36666667 / -106.5567608
Access is from Aguirre Springs road off of Route 70 (if you are going east, it’s on the right) just east of Las Cruces, NM. Unlike most BLM managed land, Aguirre has 55 designated campsites for which you will pay $7 per night, but no dispersed camping. However, the fee includes use of the pit toilets located at the campground and there are refuse cans available. The campground is accessible by a windy road and sits at 5700 feet (although the prominence is much less). You’ll pay at the top by leaving an envelope in the slot.
Be prepared to be “off-grid” as there is no water or electricity at the campsites (but there IS water available at the entrance) and a sketchy cell signal, depending on your carrier.
Your reward is a landscape view of White Sands and a brilliant star-filled sky. I visited in winter and had the entire campground to myself. If you have a fear of camping alone it may put your mind at ease to know that the gate closes at 6 pm in the winter and someone would need to be pretty dedicated to hike up here in the dark. You can still drive out after 6, but no one can come in.
The campground itself has relatively small sites that are ideal for a car and tent, class B RV, or of course, a minivan camper! If you are over 23 feet, you may want to skip this location due to the tight radius turns on the way up the mountain.
While experimenting with my new YI action camera settings, to try and capture some night sky shots, I was visited by a very noisy “bear”. Sitting on the side door sill and fiddling with my tripod at 10pm, I was surprised (meaning I nearly shit myself) when an animal came crashing out of the woods beside me! I grabbed my flashlight and lit the woods up, looking around four feet above the ground for the bear or mountain lion that was about to pounce on me. It was then that I saw two beady little eyes on a tan-colored raccoon. I guess the combination of the quiet and the dark made me a little jumpy! He went about his business without realizing he was almost the first trash panda with a confirmed human kill.
After about 30 min my heart slowed down enough to turn in for the night. It got down to 22F (or 17, depending on which weather app you believe) but I slept through the night, waking up at dawn.
It’s worth mentioning that I had frost on the windows between the glass and the Reflectix privacy panels. This shows that although you don’t want to intentionally rely on Reflectix for insulation (it’s better suited as a radiant barrier) it does provide SOME insulating value.
While it’s not the FREE boondocking nirvana that a lot of us seek, Aguirre Spring Campground is a hell of a deal for $7. I will use it whenever I pass through the area, probably for RTR 2019. I realized after I left that I was pretty close to the Trinity test site. I’ve definitely got to check that out next time around!
I didn’t shoot any video at this site, but these guys did. Check out the video for a better view and then cruise over to the Odyssey Camper YouTube channel.
Thanks for reading!
If you are looking to save some real money on campgrounds (like 100s of dollars), check out my reviews of discount camping clubs, here. These discount campsite programs are well worth the money, but you have to pick the right ones.