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Back to Nature and Beautiful Views At Ojo Redondo Campground in Cibola National Forest

Aug 17, 2007
If you're looking for that profoundly serene and peaceful feeling that a "back to nature" camping experience can give, visit Ojo Redondo campground, located in Cibola Natioinal Forest, near the eastern end of the Zuni Mountains in New Mexico. The campground is approximately 25 miles south of Thoreau, New Mexico, but takes about an hour to drive on the sometimes rough, narrow (one lane) and winding roads. The location is very remote and the landscape is absolutely pristine and beautiful.

My wife and I explored Ojo Redondo in November, 2006. We were awestruck by the beauty and variety of landscapes of the area on the way to the campground (from Throeau). Mountains, valleys, canyons, meadows, desert-like/arid vegetation and lush pine forests -- it was all there on the way to the campground. It was one of those trips that you want to get out of the car every few minutes to take a picture or just look in amazement at the beautiful views and wonder how life could be so good. The hour long journey to the campground (no stops, we had to be in Alpine, AZ that afternoon) was filled with awe and delight. It seemed like the whole way there, each of us were saying "look at that!," "isn't that gorgeous," "I can't believe how beautiful this place is," etc. etc. The trip to the campground was thoroughly enjoyable.

A word of caution, the roads in some places can be rough and wind around sharply in places. We don't recommend large RVs on this road. But if you do have a large vehicle, call the National Forest office (505-287-8833) and get their recommendation. I can often be overly cautious.

Once at the campground, the scenery is every bit as beautiful as the trip to it. The scenery isn't as varied, but the landscape is just as pristine and beautiful. Ojo Redondo only has 15 camp sites - most of which look out onto a gorgeous open meadow with a forest of tall majestic pine trees in the background. The campground is strewn with pine needles, pine cones, and small pinkish white quartz rocks and black lava rocks.

Because of the remoteness of the location, the silence here is deep and pervasive and greatly enhances the beauty of the scenery. I had a slight sense of isolation and you should go prepared for an emergency since there are no people anywhere near the campground other than other campers (on the day we went there weren't any campers); but the pristine beauty of the area made the experience totally enjoyable. We could have stayed for several days. For campers, there is a tradeoff for being so far away from civilization - there are no amenities other than vault toilets. If a beautiful view is one of your most important criteria for selecting a campground, the tradeoff of hookup and hot showers for remote, pristine beautiful views is worth it.

As we left the campground returning back to Interstate 40, we took a different route that was equally spectacular in its views of the surrounding landscape. As you are leaving the campground, retracing your steps coming in, at a Y intersection that will take you back to Highway 612, instead of turning northwest, turn east toward Milan, New Mexico. The distance is a little shorter this way to Interstate 40.

Camping at or taking a day trip to Ojo Redondo campground is well worth the effort in getting there. I'm sure you will enjoy it. We did.

Happy camping!
About the Author
Carl Zimmerman is owner and webmaster of Camping with a View, dedicated to finding campgrounds with beautiful views. Visit the New Mexico Campgrounds - Cibola National Forest Campground Reviews page for photos, reviews and more information on Ojo Redondo campground.
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