New Mexico Camping - Gila National Forest
(Grapevine Forest Camp)

New Mexico Camping - free rv camping in Gila National Forest

ADDRESS / TEL / GPS coordinates:

Gila National Forest

Off Highway 15

New Mexico


N33.17789° W108.20170°

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free rv camping in New Mexico - Gila National Forest, Grapevine Forest Camp

Grapevine Campground is in the heart of the wonderful Gila National Forest. Gila is a 3.3 million acre pine, spruce and aspen forest, that is publicly owned... meaning you can camp here for free because this is our land! And what a beautiful land it is.

Gila National Forest is an oasis in the otherwise desert country of southwestern New Mexico.

A winding road from Silver City climbs the forested hills for several miles, before it descends to the Gila River. After 42 miles you find Grapevine Campground, right beside the river.

The campsites are spaced out amongst the trees so you can’t really see your neighbors and the sound of the river drowns out any noise they might make. It’s a beautiful spot to camp, true wilderness camping. I really loved it here.

If Grapevine Campground is full, try the next camp ground down the road (Forks Campground), which is also along side the river.

If you are camping with horses, there are 2 horse camping grounds near the Gila Visitor Centre - Woody’s Corral and T.J’s Corral (with pipe corrals, pipe hitching rails, water tanks, as well drinking water and vault toilets. Horse trails start from both these corrals)

Note: The entrance in to Grapevine Campground is quite steep and is not recommended for vehicles over 20ft.

New Mexico Camping - Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument, Gila National Forest

It is only 6.8 miles to the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument from the camping ground. These cave houses are really interesting as you can actually go inside them (stop off at the Gila Visitor Centre for information). I was lucky when I was here as there was a guide waiting for a group, that gave me an impromptu tour, explaining all the uses of the rooms and the significance of the markings.

At Lower Scorpion camp ground (on the way to the Visitor Centre) there is also a small cave dwelling (take the short left trail behind the vault toilet). There are also some pretty good petroglyphs (take the even shorter right trail behind the vault toilet).


Free camping


10 official campsites (with fire pits) but you could set up camp else where in the campground as it is large, but you can only light fires in the fire pits provided


All year


First come first served


14 nights

New Mexico Camping - Gila National Forest, Grapevine Forest Camp


  • Dirt floor campsites/pitches
  • Vault/long drop/compost toilets
  • Non-drinking water (from the river)
  • Fire pits
  • BBQ/grill plate

Note: No drinking water (the nearest drinking water is at the Gila Visitor Centre, 4.8 miles up the road)


Yes (must be kept under control at all times)






  • Hiking (dogs must be kept under control on trails) (there is a nice trail right from the campground, but you have to cross the river several times)
  • Hunting
  • Horse riding (There are 2 horse camping campgrounds near the Gila Visitor Centre - Woody’s Corral and T.J’s Corral)
  • Gila Cliff Dwellings
  • Tour-led activities

This real camping ground was submitted by:

Brendan Townsend of Seattle, Washington

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