As I’ve written before I like to boondock camp. A nice free location when north of Las Vegas, New Mexico, on I-25 is Springer Lake State Wildlife Area. This location is near another favorite location: Maxwell National Wildlife Refuge.
Getting to the Springer Lake involves driving along a few miles on a well maintained gravel road. The last short section of dirt road to get to the campground isn’t maintained so be aware of mud and snow.
Here is a link to a PDF download with map directions and some more information about Springer Lake –
The campground is on the southern side of the lake surrounded by a barbed wire fence (to keep the cows out); next to the poorly maintained boat launch ramp. Enter the ‘human corral’ by the dumpster crossing a cattle guard. Choose your spot by one of the half-dozen concrete picnic tables.
The grounds are basic – just tables, occasionally mowed grass and a pit toilet. The ground is mostly flat so leveling isn’t difficult. No campfires are allowed! The toilet is in good condition, though I’m not sure how often it is serviced – I recommend you bring your own toilet paper!
On a clear night the stars and moon are amazing – there is no light pollution! This is great place to see the Milky Way or search for plants using a telescope.
I have stayed at Springer Lake many times and all but once I was the only person at the location. During my stays I usually hear coyotes and see at least a few antelope. The morning of my February 2019 visit there was a herd of 50+! Ducks paddle on the lake.
The wind can blow strongly. It is also gusty. My visits have been in the winter so nights are very cold.
This is a great location for truck campers or those with rigs and/or trailers willing to drive along a gravel road and splash through a few puddles.