A few years ago we made the trek up to the northwest corner of New Mexico to visit and photograph the Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness. It had been on Anne’s photography bucket list for a while. While scouting out possible camping locations we looked at a BLM run campground in the Angel Peak Scenic Area. However, since it is a few hours drive from there to the Bisti, we discounted it and set up camp right in the Bisti Badlands parking lot.
Recently a fellow RVer friend of mine camped at Angel Peak and raved about it, so this time through New Mexico we just had to give her a try. The Angel Peak Scenic Area a little south of Bloomfield, New Mexico off of Highway 550 about a 3 hours drive from Albuquerque.
Locating the Angels Peak BLM Campground
Location / Access
Access to the Angel Peak Scenic Area is off US Highway 550, 15 miles south of Bloomfield on County Road 7175. Follow the gravel road along the canyon rim for approximately six miles to reach the campground, or stop at one of three developed picnic areas along the way to enjoy the view or have a bite to eat. It is important to note the gravel road may become impassible in bad weather. – https://www.blm.gov/nm/st/en/prog/recreation/farmington/Angel_Peak.html
It’s critical in a larger RV or towing to take the road marked 7175. We stupidly followed our Garmin GPS and turned down another road and ended up down in the canyon and had to turn around. The whole region is covered with crisscrossing dirt roads used by the Oil and Gas companies, and they confuse the heck out of the GPS. DONT TRUST IT! The proper entrance is marked by a brown BLM sign on US Highway 550 at Mile Marker 137.
The road in is brown dirt and had hardly any washboard when we were there. Although smooth it was rutted in places from previous wet periods. When dry the surface is hard but if it rains it quickly turns to mud so leave if rain in the forecast. Also, keep an eye out for oil and gas company trucks, most have marker flags on them. They use the road often and travel relatively fast.
The road in will follow the rim of the canyon, and you will pass by an overlook and several marked picnic areas. These picnic areas are suitable for a larger sized RV to access and maybe camp in. The actual campground is located at the end of the dirt road and forms a loop with nine designated campsites. Of the nine, two or three could hold a large RV, the others are for smaller vehicles or tents.
The day we arrived March 8th, 2017 there wasn’t a soul in site. We were able to snag the largest and flattest site located at the end of the loop with an epic view of the badlands and Angel Peak. During our five day stay, only a few other campers showed up and the odd day trippers.
Campsite and Local Amenities
The campground is spartan (no hookups, dump or water). You do get a nice picnic table, fire ring, metal shelters at some sites, plus vault toilets. We were able to get a solid 4G connection on our T-Mobile and Verizon devices and over 50 channels on the RV TV antenna.
The Angel Peak BLM campground is well maintained. There are many groomed trails leading to campsites and out to lookout spots to enjoy the views. Someone has even taken the time to line the paths with round rocks. I rank Angel Peak as one of the nicest *free* campgrounds I’ve stayed in, kudos to the New Mexico BLM.
For supplies, the town of Bloomfield is close by or the city of Farmington is around 30 miles to the west. Farmington appears to be the hub for the surrounding rural area with major services, shopping and sporting a pair of Walmarts. While here I did a propane cylinder refill run to Aztec, a small town 20 miles to the north. There is a small Roadrunner fuel station with large vehicle access, high volume diesel pumps, propane, and RV dump and water fill.
Hiking at Angel Peak Scenic Area
Angel Peak Scenic Area offers tons of dispersed hiking to enjoy with fantastic views of the vast badlands and distant mountain ranges. Interesting rock formations abound. There aren’t any formally marked trails but a “must do” popular hike starts right from the campground.
It’s a short hike maybe a mile, or so that follows a ridgeline of badland peaks offering spectacular views of the Angel Peak and the canyons far below. Avid hikers will find it easy, but those afraid of heights or not so sure footed may find it intimidating. There are a few narrow spots and a few steeper sections to scramble up. (Check the video below for some footage of the beagle and I hiking it)
Camping and Hiking Angel Peak, New Mexico
Our stay at the Angel Peak Scenic Area will most definitely be a camping highlight of this snowbird season. It has all the qualities we look for. Off the beaten path, peaceful, embedded in spectacular natural surroundings with terrific hiking and photography opportunities. Oh, and all at no charge. Two thumbs up from Love Your RV!
Angel Peak Photo Gallery
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