Oliver Lee State Park

Set against the Sacramento Mountains in New Mexico sits a quiet camping oasis called Oliver Lee Memorial State Park. This rustic campground served as the perfect home for us during our Alamogordo, New Mexico, explorations.New Mexico State Parks

This open year round 640 acre park is located just 15 miles (25 Km) south of the town of Alamogordo, New Mexico and 27 miles (43 Km) from the White Sands National Monument.

New Mexico State Parks
Oliver Lee Memorial State Park, New Mexico

Not only was it convenient for us to visit the dunes at White Sands National Monument from this location, the on site hiking trails were quite enjoyable. The Riparian Nature Trail is an easy hiking trail that meanders within the Dog Canyon along a trickling creek.  The constant source of water flowage year round is a rare treat considering the area receives less 12 inches of rain a year.

Dog Canyon New Mexico
Along the trail – water flowing through Dog Canyon

Along the way are unusual natural plants and a historical marker …. remnants of a solitary life long ago.

Oliver Lee Memorial State Park

Francois-Jean Rochas, aka Frenchy, was a French immigrant who lived alone at Dog Canyon from 1886 -1894.  In 1894, Frenchy was mysteriously found dead in his cabin from a gun shot wound to the chest.  His legacy lives on in these walls – Frenchy’s cabin.Frenchy's cabinNew Mexico camping

After my stroll on the Riparian Trail, I started UP the Dog Canyon National Recreation Trail.  This is a 5 1/2 mile one way challenging trail (round trip 11 miles).  The trail rises about 3,100 feet and offers spectacular views of the Tularosa Basin and Lincoln National Forest.Piparian TrailIt was getting late in the day when I embarked on a “stroll” and I did so without water or phone (plus I didn’t let hubby know where I was going …. well, I told him one thing, but did another – quite normal around our household 😉 )  That said, I only climbed as high as indicated in the photo below.  I would’ve loved to have gone further and if we had stayed another day, you can bet that trail would’ve been on the agenda ….. ah, most likely somewhat abbreviated though.

hiking in New Mexico
Dog Canyon Trail at Oliver Lee State Park

So what did we think of Oliver Lee Memorial State Park?  Overall we enjoyed our stay very much, but do note many of the sites will need some assistance in the leveling department.  This was the first time in months I had to work some magic to get us level.Camping in New MexicoBy raising the stair side of the RV to level up meant that bottom step made for a good glute workout.  Certainly higher than normal.

New Mexico state parks
that first step makes for a good glute workout!

There’s a total of 44 campsites at Oliver Lee but only 7 are reserveable.  The rest are all on a first come, first serve basis.  18 sites have electric and some with water.  All the sites have nice views and are well spaced.RVing in New MexicoWe wouldn’t have a problem fitting our 31′ 5th wheel into any of the sites but larger rigs would need to be a little more site selective or at least experienced with maneuvering.  For a more in-depth review you can click here and read Nina’s review on the park.  Although, unlike her experience with the showers, we had very little warm water and it was definitely not hot…. tepid at best.  Hey, at least we smelled nice after a cold shower!New Mexico state parks

Would we stay here again?  In a heart beat, but then again …..  we like remote and rustic 🙂

Camco 44505 Leveling Blocks – 10 pack
Camco 45322 Vinyl Wheel & Tire Protector, 2 pack (27″-29″ Diameter, Arctic White)