On our family’s recent Southwest vacation, we visited Rockhound State Park in New Mexico. It’s hard to resist snatching up a bit of nature along hiking trails, especially when traveling with kids and their backpacks. You needn’t worry about breaking that rule at Rockhound where collecting the beautiful rocks is encouraged.
In the Little Florida Mountains, near Deming in South-Central New Mexico.
Cost per Day:
- $5 per vehicle
- $10-$18 for camping, RVs, etc.
- Visitor’s Center with displays, literature and gifts.
- Picnic tables and camp sites.
- Hiking trails with interpretive signage.
What We Liked:
- It really feels, especially to kids, like a legitimate mountain climbing experience.
- The view was incredible, even very early in the hike.
- The trail was safe, even for a curious three year old. There were only a very few spots where the edge dropped off, and then only a few feet.
- Even at the highest, furthest point, my cell phone worked and we could see the parking lot below. We never felt lost or unsafe.
- You can feel free to pick up what you find! They even had little fabric pouches at the visitors center that they gave out for free.
- There really were rocks worth picking up. Several were sparkling with crystal traces that made the kids think they were quite magical!
- We visited in early spring and flowers were abundant, as were other native desert plants.
What We Didn’t Like:
- We couldn’t find any information about how far the walk was. You could make out a general shape of the path from the map provided, but with all the twists and turns, it was impossible to decipher how far you were going. I had to turn around with one kid who needed to use the restroom not knowing how much further it would be. My husband continued on the trail with our other child and it turned out we had been about halfway done.
- When the visitors center closes, they lock the good restrooms, even though they are accessible from outside of the building. We had to turn around and go back to the trail head to use the non-flush camping restroom that had no sink, soap or trash can. Either get done before 5:00 pm or bring your own Purell.
- We enjoyed the bit of exercise and found the path to be just the right level of challenge for our family. But, do know that it is a relatively steep climb in a somewhat high altitude. Some parts are steep enough to hurt “bad” knees and you will want to have good shoes. A little one who is still unsure on their feet (less than 2 years old, perhaps) might not be able to do this walk.