City of Rocks State Park - Days 16 & 175:26 PM
After the beauty of the Guadalupe Mountains National Park, it seemed like we would not be able to find somewhere as nice on our next stop. Driving out to the City of Rocks Stat Park in New Mexico, I had my doubts about the place. There was nothing but dessert and tumbleweeds as far as we could see driving up to it, but all of a sudden we saw the rock formations pop out of the background nestled near the bottom of a table top mountain.
The campsites here are right in the rocks. The rocks themselves are left over ash called Tuf, that was left here by a volcano in the area that erupted many millions of years ago. The ash in this area was so hot that it hardened back into rocks that are here to this day.
The boys loved this place, it is probably at the top of their list. The rocks form an endless maze of fun for the imagination of a child. The found various homes, caves, Jacuzzis, benches, tubs, etc. I kept them pretty close, close enough for me to hear, gave them their water and had them check in every so often. Other than that, I never heard from them and they played for hours with each other.
We took only one hike here, since we were only there for two nights. The hike we took, led us up to Inspiration Point, were there is a smaller group of rock formations as well as a great view of the visitor's center and campground. If you look carefully in the one photo below, you can see our van and tent.
The visitor's center is small, but is staffed by a knowledgeable volunteer and has lots of hands on learning opportunities for the kids. They even have binders filled with information and photos of rocks, animals, and plants found in the area. If you are planning to visit, the campground is $10 per night for sites without hookups and there are showers and flush toilets available at the visitors center as well as vault toilets available at the campground.