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)



Hildi leads us astray!

Today’s drive was an easy 2 1/2 hour drive from Deming, New Mexico to Alamogordo NM.  However, I wouldn’t categorize it as uneventful.  Al has chosen to allow Hildi to do the navigating.  Not wanting to get into an argument and second guess the wench, I leave the atlas in the backseat and leave the navigating to her.RV New Mexico

For those of you new to the blog and not sure who Hildi is you can click here for her story.

We leave Rockhound State Park in Deming, New Mexico, and continue on Interstate 10 toward the city of Las Cruces.

Hildi has us exit the interstate in Las Cruces and pick up Highway 70 where we encounter plenty of stop lights and road construction.  Way to go Hildi!  Finally we get around the city and we’re headed toward Alamogordo.  Traffic is light, winds are calm, and it’s a beautiful sunny day.

I can see tuffs of white sand dunes off in the distance.  Ooh, my excitement starts to build with anticipation as we get closer to a place I’ve wanted to visit for a very long time.  What’s this?  We need to stop?AlamogordoWhite Sands Why do these stops always make me nervous?  We watch the dog get a little excited around the mini van pictured top right and the driver was told to pull over into that spot.  RVingHmm, wonder what the little doggie smelled.  I nervously watch the dog as he quickly moves down the line totally uninterested in us or the RV.  Thank goodness.  After all, we have Colorado license plates (some places assume since the use of marijuana is legal in the state of Colorado, anyone with Colorado plates is in possession…. not cool).

We pull up to a guard and are asked if we are U.S. citizens? We respond, “yes” and are waved on. Thank goodness hubby kept his sense of humor in check and didn’t respond with a “Si, Señor”.  I sure would NOT want to find out exactly what kind of sense of humor these border patrol guys have.

After the inconvenient stop, we continue our journey and it isn’t long before Hildi has us making a right onto highway 54.  So far so good, but then she has us turn left a little too soon in my opinion.  There’s no brown sign noting Oliver Lee Memorial State Park and although paved, the road looks narrow – not what you would expect for regular state park traffic.  I recommend we not turn and that we shouldn’t trust Hildi.

Garmin GPS
Are you sure you want to trust Hildi?

Al turns.  We continue down this little residential street and when it ends Hildi has us turn right…. right onto a gravel road.  Mind you, we’ve traveled on rougher roads, but this is not what Al or I expected.

Oliver Lee
Hildi leads us astray!

We eventually make it to our destination:  Oliver Lee Memorial State Park.  We’re a little dustier and dirtier but no worse for the wear.  We get settled into an electric/water site with the help of our Lego leveling blocks.Oliver Lee Memorial State Park

RV parking in Alamogordo
Oliver Lee Memorial State Park, Alamogordo, New Mexico

I slap together a quick lunch rushing Al.  We have some exploring to do …..   I’ll do the driving and we’ll leave Hildi at home!

White Sands National Monument
I’ve long wanted to visit this place!

Camco 44505 Leveling Blocks – 10 pack
New Mexico Road & Recreation Atlas (Atlases)