After driving beyond Valles Caldera on New Mexico’s Hwy 4 (see the first post on this adventure here), we stopped in hopes of finding a nice camp spot at Jemez Falls Campground.
As usual, we scored a nice site in a quiet corner of the campground. We love showing up at a campground on a Sunday; we can usually count on solitude!
There was a trail head just steps from our site, which we discovered to be a nice little walk to take Sprockett on the next morning!
All of the sites seemed nice, with plenty of space between them. The bathrooms were clean and although we camped directly across from one, there was no evidence of “bathroom wind” to darken the air of our outdoor home.
It rained a TON that first night. (So…does it ALWAYS rain in New Mexico or what? Have you noticed a recurring “rain” theme in our New Mexico camping adventures?) I’m so glad we bought that $10 tarp last summer! It was completely weighed down with rain water that morning!
The next day we hiked up to San Antonio Hot Springs. Here’s that map again to get your bearings:
Jemez Falls (circled in red), is where we camped, and you can see San Antonio Hot Springs NW from there. The road was very rocky, and although the directions WE had said it was about 5 miles….well, you can imagine. It was a good 30 minutes on a rough road.
Once we found the tiny parking area near the locked gate, we walked up a dirt road that was high above the stream, then followed the trail down and over the water and back up to the pools.
I don’t have more photos of the hot springs, as it’s a bit awkward taking photos with other (sometimes nude) bathers. The above photo is a nice representation of the the view while relaxing in the pools. There are four pools that cascade down the mountainside, with the top pool receiving hot spring water out of a pipe.
The hike to the springs is short but steep, but Sprockett managed just fine! He even made some new friends!
A few other things we checked out on this trip:
Soda Dam, which was interesting to see, but not exactly that exciting…
This little stop had a restroom and a brief walk to a viewpoint:We walked beyond the end of the trail, made our way through some cleared trees and discovered a much better view of the valley below:
Las Conchas Trailhead:
The Jemez Springs area of New Mexico is definitely worth discovering if you’ve never been. We camped 2 nights, then stayed in Albuquerque on the third night. You could do this and alternatively stay in Santa Fe, since both are pretty close. It made for a nice getaway!
Here is some travel info for you if you’d like to check out this area of New Mexico:
San Antonio Hot Springs-We had the good fortune of meeting an *older gentleman at the hot springs who said San Antonio were the best ones around, as many of the others (like Spence) were over-ridden with tourists and people were catching weird fungeses from it (eek!) For what it’s worth, San Antonio seemed very clean and clear, which the man claimed was due to all the recent rain. * I trusted his opinion after talking with him at length; he lived in a nearby cabin.
Jemez Falls Camground– Yes, there was a hot spring at our campground, but we never checked it out because we wanted to hike to a more remote one in hopes of missing some of the crowds. (We arrived at San Antonio around noon and there were about 10 people) The camp sites were very nice, with pit-toilet facilities and runnuing water near the restrooms. We would stay there again.
Redondo State Campground– We drove through this campground and while it was bigger than Jemez Falls, it too was very scenic. I would actually like to camp here the next time we visit! (San Antonio campground is also up the road, but much more like an RV situation. It was very well-kept and by a stream, but a little too close for comfort for my taste)
Las Conchas Trailhead
If you like hot springs, check out this post for Manby Springs in the Taos area.