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Caja Del Rio Dispersed Camping Just Outside Santa Fe, NM

We camped at Caja Del Rio Dispersed Camping, New Mexico in October 2021

Our previous stop: Brown Springs Campground New Mexico Camping Review & Info

Campground Info

Location: 35.689548, -106.091867
Cost: Free
Camping Limit: 14 Day
Amenities: Vault Toilets

Related: Save 50% On Campgrounds All Over The United States With Passport America

Essentials Nearby

Town: Santa Fe, NM10 miles
Gas Station: Shell – 6 miles
Dump Station & Potable Water: No Nearby Dump Stations, Closest RV Park With Dump Station, Santa Fe Skies RV Park12 miles (cost: unknown)
Grocery Store: Walmart – 9 miles

Cell Phone Service

Verizon – Excellent
AT&T – Excellent

Nearby Attractions

Santa Fe Railyard Arts District – 12 miles
New Mexico State Capitol – 12.5 miles
Cochiti Lake Recreation Area – 32.5 miles
Diablo Canyon Recreation Area – 13 miles (dirt road)
Pecos National Historical Park – 40 miles
Albuquerque, NM – 60 miles


Free Camping Just 10 Miles From Santa Fe, New Mexico

The Caja Del Rio Dispersed Camping Area is part of a large recreation area just outside of Santa Fe, NM. It’s a very basic, park where you can, campground with a vault toilet at the entrance.

One funny thing about this place is it happens to be right next to the city landfill. Surprisingly there weren’t a lot of flies, smells, or noise though.

The area is still beautiful and for a free camping area so close to a city it was actually pretty clean and nice.

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Steep side roads from the main road at Caja Del Rio Dispersed Camping Area
Small side roads you can camp along at the Caja Del Rio Dispersed Camping Area near Santa Fe, NM.

There’s a cattle guard at the entrance and a road that leads to the left directly after. If you have a very low clearance RV I recommend taking that first left to enter the main camping area.

You can keep going on the main road and camp on either side but the side roads have steep entrances that aren’t very accessible for Class A RV’s or long trailers.

See Also: The Best Camping Gas Generators That Will Run Your RV AC

There is a large OHV road that lead’s through the camping area so expect some people to be driving by every day and lots of weekend noise.

There are tiny roads everywhere and you can pretty much park and camp where ever you want. Some people we’re camping in the middle of some of these roads where it was level.

Small campsite in the Caja Del Rio Free Camping Area in Santa Fe New Mexico
Small campsite we pulled into in the Caja Del Rio Dispersed Camping Area.

Since we have a small RV with no slides we were able to fit into a tiny spot between a bunch of trees.

There were people camping everywhere so we weren’t far from other campers but it felt like we had our own space.

RV and travel trailer camping in the Caja Del Rio Dispersed Camping Area in Santa Fe, New Mexico
Nearby campers in the Caja Del Rio Dispersed Camping Area.

As you can see in the picture above there were campers nearby just parked in random places.

The roads are dusty and when the wind picked up one day the air got pretty sandy but otherwise it was good camping.

It’s pretty level everywhere and there’s probably always room for anyone who wants to camp no matter how crowded it gets.

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Class C rv at a campsite in the Caja Del Rio Dispersed Camping Area near Santa Fe New Mexico
The trees make most campsites at the Caja Del Rio Dispersed Camping Area feel more private.

Caja Del Rio Dispersed Camping Area Review

Besides the occasional side-by-side that went by and the many campers driving in and out the Caja Del Rio Dispersed Camping Area was actually pretty peaceful.

The trees really help get rid of road noise and make it feel like you have your own space.

We camped there for 3 nights over the weekend and it never got too busy. It was October which isn’t the high season for Santa Fe but the area was so huge it feels like there should always be room for another camper.

If you follow the main dirt road past the camping area you come to a shooting range. So don’t be scared if you hear gunshots during the day.

Being so close to the landfill was funny but not much of a problem. There weren’t any flies when we were there and the noise was minimal.

See Also: Best RV Stabilizers For RV, 5th-Wheel & Travel Trailer

As far as things to do you can hike along any of the trails or mountain bike. There’s supposed to be a way to get all the way to the Rio Grande but we never figured out which road to take.

We would camp here again anytime.

Cell phone service was good with both Verizon and AT&T and our data speeds were faster out there than in the city.

Have any questions about camping in the Caja Del Rio Dispersed Camping Area near Santa Fe, New Mexico? Leave a comment below. 

by Jenni
Jenni grew up in a small town in Idaho. With a family that loves camping, she has been towing trailers since a very young age.

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