Posts From The Road: City Of Rocks State Park

Park Entry Road: Visitors enter City of Rocks State Park along a straight road across prairie grass lands as seen in this photo. It is not until you pass over a small ridge that the “city” suddenly appears before your eyes. The road leads directly to the park visitors center. The area became a state park in 1952. Photo by Gary Warren/

The City: Rocks in the City of Rocks State Park were the result of a massive volcano almost 35 million years ago. Since that time, wind and weather have formed the rock formations which make up the city. Shown is a panoramic view of the entire “city” from a nearby hill. Random rocks can also be seen in the grass lands near the city  of rocks. Photo by Gary Warren/

On Top of It: A round rock sits on some much larger boulders  at the City of Rocks State Park as seen from the gravel road that leads around the City of Rocks formations. Also seen is a trail leading out of the formations. There are dozens of trails that lead visitors all through the rock formations within the “city”. Photo by Gary Warren/

Formerly of Los Alamos

New Mexico has many state parks that feature various aspects of the Land of Enchantment. Some parks may feature water such as lakes or rivers, others represent historical aspects of the state, and some feature the variety of geological features within found throughout the state.

One of my favorite of the state parks that we have visited is the City of Rocks State Park. This geological wonder is located about midway between Silver City and Deming and is unlike any other park within New Mexico.

The park includes a grouping of hundreds of rocks and huge boulders that appear to look like a city. There are various gaps between the formations which are hiking trails but also could be called the streets within the city. The shape and size of the rocks vary greatly and the formations appear as round boulders, columns, spires and other shapes which make up the “city”.

The “rocks” at the City of Rocks State Park are not just any rocks. These rocks and formations measure up to 40 feet in size. The “city” sits in the middle of prairie grass lands and look strangely out of place. However, once among the rocks, visitors can experience the true size and magnitude of the rocks.

The boulders within the city are a result of a massive volcano almost 35 million years ago. The formations have been formed by weather as constant freezing and thawing occur which slowly over millions of years creating this park.

The City of Rocks State Park offers visitors a variety of activities such as picnicking, camping, hiking, photography and watching for wildlife and birds. There is also a botanical garden walk that features many of the desert plants found in the park. 

There are dozens of campsites including a section of campsites with full hook ups for RVs and dozens of sites that are dry camping (no hook ups) for RVs and tent camping that are scattered around the perimeter and some sites even tucked between the rock formations. 

Numerous trails meander through the rock formations as well as other trails on the surrounding grass lands in the area. Many species of birds can be spotted at the park including hawks and eagles to many smaller birds. Wildlife such as deer, elk, coyotes, and other smaller animals make the park their home and may be spotted by visitors.

As mentioned above, the City of Rocks State Park is a favorite and we have visited the park several times and we are never disappointed. This park was featured in the first Post From the Road almost four years ago and remains a special place in our travels.

Editor’s note: Longtime Los Alamos photographer Gary Warren and his wife Marilyn are traveling around the country, and he shares his photographs, which appear in the “Posts from the Road” series published in the Sunday edition of the Los Alamos Daily Post.

Campsite: Several campsites for RVs and tent campers are tucked in among the rock formations. Shown is our RV surrounded by the colorful rock formations. It was a joy to wake up each morning and look out the window at colorful rock walls and formations. Photo by Gary Warren/

Nature’s Sculpture: Nature has sculpted the massive rocks and formations, which look like works of art. The late afternoon lighting shining on these rocks accentuate the beauty of the formations. Photo by Gary Warren/

Pathway: A pathway runs between two sculpted rock formations with the “city”. There are numerous pathways such as this as well as others that are wider that visitors can use to explore the formations. Photo by Gary Warren/

Balancing Act: Many of the rocks in the City of Rocks are positioned in unusual and precarious positions as seen here. These rocks may shift over time but most have been positioned for thousands of years. Photo by Gary Warren/

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