Good Sam RV Travel Guide & Campground Directory
New Mexico - South
The southern part of New Mexico is a picturesque and adventure-filled playground for any traveler to the region. Las Cruces is tucked into the lush Mesilla Valley, and there are few places better to enjoy a round of golf, followed by a lunch or dinner of first-rate Mexican food. The amalgam of art, shopping, and culture make Las Cruces a picture-perfect destination spot to travelers from all around, but since we’re using it as the starting point, let’s enjoy it while we’re here because there’s much more down the road!
The first leg of our journey takes us westbound on the I-10 until we reach the northbound Highway 180, which takes us into Silver City. Silver City is close to the Gila National Forest, which is ideal for hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding. The surrounding Grant County is also home to more than 300 bird species, which thrive within the desert’s ecology. Silver City also plays host to a variety of special events throughout the year, such as the Red Paint Powwow, the Grant County Fair, the Wild West Rodeo, and the Victorian Christmas celebration. For those looking for something truly unique and offbeat, be sure to catch a hilarious performance at the Pinos Altos Melodrama Theatre, which specializes in showcasing over-the-top, hysterical comedies. Feel free to cheer the hero, boo the villain, and even throw popcorn at the stage!
Another point of interest in Silver City is Fort Bayard, which served as a defense point for settlers and miners in the area. Soldiers from Fort Bayard were dispatched to capture Geronimo, and with his capture the Apache wars effectively ended. The fort stands as a symbol of bravery and dedication; it currently maintains several historic buildings and monuments, including one to the Buffalo Soldiers who served with pride and professionalism.
Heading southeast on the US-180, an hour later we arrive in Deming, which makes a perfect staging point to go hunting for the region’s Old West history. The Gila Cliff Dwellings once served as home to indigenous people dating back as far as 400 A.D., and were eventually home to nomadic bands of Apaches. Another spot of note in Deming is the Deming-Luna Mimbres Museum, which was at one point a National Guard Armory. It now contains various artifacts dating back to the mid-1800s, such as quilts, Indian relics and military exhibits. The Luna County Courthouse should also be on our list of things to see, being an elegant two-story brick structure that was completed in 1910. Fifty miles south of Deming is the Shakespeare Ghost Town, which is all that still stands of an authentic Old West town, founded by a silver strike.
While in Deming, let’s take some time to check out The Catwalk, a mile-long steel pipeline constructed by miners in the late 1800s to run water from a mining site to the town of Graham, some three miles away. There’s no overnight camping, but we can pack a picnic lunch and enjoy the natural wonders of Whitewater Canyon and the Whitewater River.
Just south of Deming, we have the town of Columbus, which deserves mention as being one of the towns sacked and raided by Pancho Villa and his war party of 1,000 banditos. If we venture into the old Customs Building in Columbus, we can see a film on Villa’s raid. We should also tour the historic downtown area and bring back a few souvenirs from this out-of-the way, rarely-seen place.
Returning to the I-10 brings us back to Las Cruces, which is just as good a spot to end our trip as it was to begin!
Other Area Sponsors in New Mexico:
Enchanted Trails Camping Resort
KOA of Tucumcari
Los Campos de Santa Fe RV Resort
Santa Fe KOA Campground
The Trailer Ranch RV Resort