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El Rito Campground

Carson National Forest

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County Road 280 El Rito, NM 87530 505-581-4554 505-758-6200 Official Website

GPS: 36.4004, -106.2537

  • Overview
  • Q&A
  • Cell Service
  • Reviews (2)
  • Amenities

Overview of El Rito Campground

Number of Sites 11

Open Seasonally April-Nov.

Elevation 7,578 ft / 2,309 m

Tent Camping Yes

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Reviews of El Rito Campground 2 people have reviewed this location.

Ratings Summary

Overall Rating
Site Quality

Cell Phone Coverage

Verizon 4G/LTE
Confirmed by 1 User
Last reported 10/2/2018
Confirmed by 1 User
Last reported 10/2/2018
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ID 23' Fleetwood Mallard 23D 1993 Ford F250
36 reviews
“Beautiful campgrounds and creek but a rough ride in”

Reviewed 10/2/2018

Nightly rate: FREE!
Days stayed: 1
Site Number: Dispersed camping
Overall Rating

The roads to this campground were all paved, but they were terribly bumpy. (Think a paved version of a washboard road). My husband, who usually does not get motion sickness, is feeling awful right now because of the ride.

So there’s that. :(

I think it’s worth it, though; it’s really gorgeous up here. We got into cacti country on the way, and were thinking that it was going to be desolate desert, but then WHAM! You’re up in pine trees and there’s a creek running through and it feels almost like Montana or something.

The internet is here, but not strong. With AT&T (hotspot), we had three bars and 4G, but no LTE. With our booster, that bumped it up to five bars, but still no LTE.

With Verizon on our phones, we had three bars and 3G without the booster; with the booster, we got another bar but not LTE internet. So expect to be able to browse the internet and get work done, but don’t expect to stream videos.

We have a Sprint hotspot also; no service there with or without the booster.

The description says toilets and picnic tables; I’ll admit that we haven’t explored much yet, but I haven’t spotted anything like that. There’s just random fire rings marked out with stones scattered throughout. The particular spot that we’re camped at was as level as a yardstick but some sites didn’t look that level, so YMMV.

There’s supposed to be trout in the creek that runs past here, so I know what my husband will be doing this evening!

Driving through El Rito...I kinda get the other person’s review of this place. El Rito is...interesting, and not in a positive way. It’s not a place I’d want to be after dark, that’s for sure. I haven’t had anything stolen, but El Rito does seem sketchy. Definitely come with water, groceries, and gas in your tank, because none of that is available locally.

Overall, it’s gorgeous up here and there is SOME internet, so it works for us! We’d stay here again for sure.

Edit: Well, I take most of what I said back, lol. We ended up only staying one night instead of two because I’m like 95.2% sure that there are drug dealers selling drugs up here. There’s no other explanation for what the locals were doing. Old beat-up cars from the 80s and 90s; minivans that have seen (a lot) better days...these are not toads for RVs. These were locals, out for a cruise in the middle of...nowhere? Yeah, they’re doing something they’re not supposed to be. We didn’t see a single RV or tent camper the entire time we were there. All other vehicle traffic (and there was a LOT of it) was locals. Driving back and forth at all hours of the night and throughout the day. Who goes for a pleasure cruise through a national forest in the dead of night in a thunderstorm?!

Also, turns out that we were on roaming AT&T internet, not regular AT&T internet, so by morning, we’d used up all of our roaming data and our hotspot had basically become a paperweight at that point. Verizon went between 3G and LTE according to my phone, but it felt like it was alternating between 1x and 3G. We never had real LTE, I’m positive of that.

There were also herds of cows wandering through and cow patties everywhere, which we’re from Idaho so that doesn’t bother us, but I thought I’d warn y’all in case cows aren’t your thing.

To be clear, we never had anyone threaten or even interact with us at all. But it just wasn’t a good feeling up there. Also, we did do some exploring, and we never found picnic tables or vault toilets. So, the listing for this area is totally not accurate.

Personally, even though it’s pretty, we’ll never stay here again. The beauty doesn’t outweigh all of the negatives. (Oh, and no fish in the streams!)

Site Quality
Verizon 4G/LTE

This review is the opinion of a Campendium member and not of

1 review

Reviewed 12/31/2015

Days stayed: 4
Overall Rating

Great campground, but as you drive to it you will notice the local area. Locals constantly driving by. I lost $1200 dollars worth of equipment that was locked up. Be ware of theft!!

Site Quality

This review is the opinion of a Campendium member and not of

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  • dry camping
  • fishing
  • picnic area
  • recreation trail
Site Amenities
  • fire ring
  • picnic table
  • restrooms: vault
  • pets


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