BLM Campground Review – Datil Well, NM

View from the hiking trail at Datil Well

A lovely, remote $5/night BLM campground with easy access to the VLA and Pie Town in Central NM.

Link to campground here: Datil Well, NM
Link to map location here: Datil Well, NM

  1. Site Quality = 3.5/5
    Very decent site quality here, especially for a BLM location. All 22 sites are basic, firm dirt with picnic table, grill, fire-pit and cute, individual trash cans. The sites are set on a loop, with outer sites being pull-throughs and inner ones back-ins. The main ding is size and levelness. All kinds of variation here, but we thought 8 of the sites large and flat enough for rigs up to 40-feet (esp. #8,11,13,15,17,19 and 20, with #17 & 19 as the largest of the lot). You might get something in slightly larger than 40-feet, but turns start around the campground loop start to become an issue. Good separation with high forest views.
  2.  Facilities = 2.5/5
    Basic facilities here. There are pit toilets, kept very nicely clean plus a large wood-pile (for free use) and camp office with info on the area. Several water spigots around the campground. No showers or dump station however.
  3. Location = 5/5
    You come to this place to experience remote beauty and for that reason it’s just perfect. The campground is set beautifully in a lightly wooded valley with lovely hiking trails to overlooks on the surrounding hills. Only ~15 miles to VLA in one direction and Pie Town in the other on Hwy 60. Nearest grocery is at Magdalena ~30 miles away, so come prepared.
  4. Pet Friendliness = 5/5
    Another lovely place for doggie. Lots of space to hang out and ~4 miles of hiking trails to walk around.

Overall Rating = 4.0
 Remote high forest views, pies and the Very Large Array!

Summary: We chose this campground primarily to visit the nearby VLA and Pie Town, and truly ended up enjoying the stay. This is a remote and gorgeous area, set in a high forest valley with hiking trails to overlook the area. The campground is ~1 mile west from Datil and ~1/4 mile down a wide, firm dirt road from Hwy 60. All 22 sites are compacted dirt with quite a bit of variation in size/level, but we counted at least 8 big and flat enough for our kind of size. Lovely developed “sitting area” at each site with picnic table, fire-pit, and grill. This is a primitive campground and it’s basic pit toilets and no hook-ups , but several water spigots on-site. We arrived on the week-end and only 3 campers were there (none of which were in our line of sight) so we essentially had the place to ourselves. You’ll get dusty coming in, but for those who enjoy remote beauty and relaxation this is just fabulous. We loved our stay and would definitely come back.

 Extra Info:  Believe it or not Verizon access was good here! Smartphone had very decent 3G. Aircard benefitted from antenna/amp,but connected fine. Sites cost $5/night all first-come-first-serve (officially there is a 7 day camping limit, but I’m guessing the very relaxed hosts would work with you). No hook-ups, but several water spigots on-site.

Our pull-through site (#8). Not very level, but lovely privacy and views.
View of one of the larger, decently flat back-ins (Site #11)
Another of the larger back-ins (#13 shown)
View of one of the two biggest, flattest pull-through sites (#17)
Road-view of the other large, flat pull-through (#19)
View down campground loop from right in front of our RV
View down middle of campground with fire-wood pile, facilities and campround office front to back
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We LOooVE Comments, So Please Do

  1. says

    Thank you for this review. For the next couple of years, we expect to be taking short trips into New Mexico, and this sounds like a wonderful destination for at least one of those trips.

  2. Steve says

    Loving your blog. So as you approach California, what’s next? Ask TJR for another role? Silicon Valley can always use two gifted engineers and the recovery is in full swing. Hit the road to Canada and Alaska? Publish your blog and pics? (I’ll reserve a copy for my coffee table!) Thanks for the 1+ year of escape.

    • libertatemamo says

      Hey Steve,
      So happy you’re enjoying the blog. Not really sure what’s next. I have to admit semi’s probably are
      not in the future for us. You never know of course, but this lifestyle is pretty addicting,
      and as long as Paul keeps going on the market the way he has, we’re dong OK :)
      We are thinking Alaska at some point. We’ll winter somewhere SW and then probably
      head up the West coast and see how far we get next year. Both Alaska and Canada would
      be amazing.

  3. Todd says

    Great site review, a real bonus that is has verizon. We will keep it on the list for our trip. Keep them coming, the site is great!!!

    • libertatemamo says

      Yeah, we were pretty amazed they had Verizon. Really expected no kind of coverage out there.
      What’s even wierder is that 1/2 mile from the campground there’s no coverage…go figure.

  4. says

    Oh we love that spot. and Pie Town is adorable. Just wanted to let your readers know that twice a year in April and October I believe, the VLA and the Trinity Test Site both throw open their gates on the same day for public tours by personnel. We did this a few years ago and had a blast!

    P.S. if you’re still in the area, El Camino in Socorro is a fabulous place to eat. And don’t forget to stop at Riverbend Hot Springs in TorC. Tell Jake that Jim and Rene (former workampers) say Hi!

  5. Alfred says

    Am thinking about visiting Datil Well Campground this weekend but I need my Tour de France. Do you think, based on your experience with Verizon 3G posted above, that my Verizon iPhone would get a good enough 3G signal so I could watch the race via my Tour de France app?


    • libertatemamo says

      Hmmmm…not completely sure. Our signal was good (esp. in our site), but
      we didn’t push it by streaming any video. So, can’t say for sure.
      DO let me know if you go!

  6. says

    Thank You for the Blog and info. Addicting? Of course… Spirit and I are ending our 7th year on the road full time. On our way to Valley of the Gods but must stay in the area for another Dr’s appointment [back!] in Belen till Monday. You info is perfect… Ara and Spirit

    • libertatemamo says

      7 years full timing…that is fabulous! You will love this campground. Wonderful little spot and the price is right too.


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