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Published on August 29, 2018, by admin in New Mexico Summer.

Villanueva State Park

My two weeks were up at Storrie Lake so I packed up and headed south along the Pecos River to check out two more state parks. I was a little concerned that I would be dropping lower in altitude and thus finding hotter temperatures, but I hoped to find an electric site to ride out the Labor Day weekend with air conditioning.

Forty miles south of Las Vegas, New Mexico is the little state park called Villanueva. It’s another one of those parks built in a valley along a river. There is fishing and hiking trails. I only stayed overnight and hiked two short trails. There was no cell signal from a tower but up at the visitors center there is a booster where you could connect as long as you were close to the building. The Pecos River that runs along the length of the park supplies moisture to the valley so that lush, tall trees provide a pretty campsite.

There is a lot of history along the Pecos River. Early Spanish explorers were believed to have traveled through the valley, and later the area became part of the Santa Fe Trail. The town of Villanueva was a busy crossing when the Pecos was part of the border between Mexico and the United States. Supplies brought in by traders heading west were heavily taxed by the Mexico government.

Trail above the Pecos River.

In the morning I hiked up the valley to a mesa where early Spanish settlers built rock walls as a place to thrash wheat. They would fill a large, round, stone walled area with wheat and walk cattle in a circle to separate the grain. Then they would fluff it into the wind to remove the chaff.

After my morning hike, I packed up and drove 80 miles south to Santa Rosa State Park. Santa Rosa is 2000′ lower than Storrie Lake and the heat was definitely in full swing when I reached the the campground. I drove the non-electric camp loops and only saw a couple sites occupied. It was the opposite when I looked at the electric sites. Luckily, I found a couple non-reservable sites open and snagged one for the next seven days.

Santa Rosa Lake lookout.

I haven’t explored much of the park yet. The lake is not a place where I can launch my kayak so I will just hang out and enjoy the electricity. I did ride Honda into Santa Rosa today and met Richard and Dianna on their trip back to Tennessee. We had a quick lunch at McDonalds and then they continued on east. I will not see them until next year.