Focus Artesia Summer 2021 | Guadalupe Peak

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Take a moment from social media and your busy life.

There is beauty in Southeastern New Mexico to be experienced, to be seen, to be touched, heard, and smelled. Eddy County and the surrounding areas have definitely played a huge role in my family’s outdoor, overlanding adventures. The rural area has many roads, trails, and hidden gems tucked away in the national forests. We have seen so much, traveled many miles, and are nowhere near close to exploring all the hidden treasures. That’s the beauty of exploring the great outdoors; there is always a new adventure within each day. Eastern New Mexico has many sites to visit all within miles of each other. This particular location has multiple points of interest along the way. Want to take a dip in a fresh natural waterfall? Sitting Bull Falls is a great spot. Take a walk down the winding path of some bat caves? Carlsbad Caverns is great for all ages. Want to test your limits on a hiking trail to the highest natural point in Texas? Guadalupe Peak is right up the road. You don’t have to travel too far to hit some spectacular views and find a great picnic spot to take the family. A favorite day trip is to Rim Road in the Guadalupe Mountains.

You won’t find easy directions online, so follow the turn by turn directions below!

  • From Artesia we head South on US 285 towards Carlsbad, NM.
  • Make a right turn on to Queens Hwy (Hwy 137)
  • (23 miles from 1st and Main Artesia, NM to Queen turn off).
  • Further down this road you will see signs for points of interests such as Guadalupe Christian Camp, a Memorial for Flying Paper Boy (35.1 miles), and Queens Cafe and CampGrounds (35.5 miles), which has amazing burgers and homemade pie.
  • A couple miles after passing The Queens Cafe you will make a left hand turn onto Guadalupe Ridge Road which is now a gravel road. (38.9 miles on to Cougar Road)
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Here you can find some great campsites which are all part of the Lincoln National Forest. It’s common to see a wide array of wildlife such as deer, javelina, and elk, to name a few, along with hunters, ranchers, and cattle. Great hiking opportunities are found all along this road if you plan to make a full day out of it or camp overnight. Roadside or dispersed camping is allowed throughout the Lincoln National Forest. Roadside or dispersed camping is described as: you may drive to park your RV no more than 300′ from an open road designated for such use.

The road will “Y” and you will see Klondike Gap/ 540 to the left and Guadalupe ridge to the right ─ stay right. This is all open range so beware of cattle as well as wild animals on the road. Soon you will reach multiple overlook areas where you can see the vast openings and drops in the lower valleys. (First is Fox Vista which is at 46.8 miles.)

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These points (Fox Vista, Buck Vista, Skunk Vista, Javalina Vista, Coyote Vista, Bobcat, Elk, and Five Point Vista, all within a mile of each other) are where most would hang back for a while, have a picnic, take in the views, and head on back home … but if you travel further down the road there is more beauty to be seen. The road ahead will require a high clearance vehicle due to rough terrain or you can park and go for a hike. Trust me, it’s worth the 2 to 2.5 mile hike. The overlooks on Rim Road are amazing but the view further up is breathtaking. (It’s 50.3 miles to the unmaintained road and a 4×4 vehicle is necessary after rain or snow.)

For the past several years this weekend cruise has been one of our favorite spots. The terrain changes a bit from flat, dry desert to rolling hills and mountain ridges tucked away in the Lincoln National Forest.

Once you have made it through the bumpy ride trailed with cattle, you are presented with this large opening with a breathtaking view of beautiful mountain ridges.

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Article written by Tess Ortega and originally published in Focus on Artesia 2021 Summer edition.

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