GREG WOOD HAS STAYED in 33 of New Mexico’s 35 state parks as a volunteer (construction and a wildfire caused him to miss two). In exchange for an annual camping pass (currently $225 for an out-of-state resident), he and his “wonder pup,” Freddy, spent two weeks at each state park in his 13-foot camp trailer and published a blog, Ramblings from the Road, with photos and descriptions.

You can camp all year in New Mexico. There’s not a lot of states you can do that in. There’s amazing diversity. New Mexico goes from the deserts to the mountains, so it’s a neat place.

The ranger would save me a really nice electric site. Then the ranger would meet me and escort me to the site. All the other campers were like, Who is this VIP?

There’s a lot to explore that you can’t do in just a weekend. I would hike all the trails. As a photographer, there are certain times the light is really good—morning and afternoon—so I’d plot out where I wanted to go, then I’d spend a couple days writing the blog.

I wanted to have fun, too. I didn’t want to just go in there and zoom, zoom, zoom. I recommend a week at any campground.

This summer, I’m camp hosting at Verlot, by Granite Falls, in Washington. Only 23 sites, right on the river. I met so many nice camp hosts in my travels, and they kept telling me what a nice thing it is. So instead of driving, this is what I’m doing.

New Mexico goes out of its way with the visitor centers—they’re like mini-museums.

It was a blast. All in all, I can’t say any are bad. Every park is unique in its own way.

Greg Wood visited 33 of New Mexico's 35 state parks. Photograph courtesy of Greg Wood.

Five Spots

Greg Wood reveals what he loves about his favorite parks.

Cimarrón Canyon“It’s got wonderful little rock pools.”

Navajo Lake“It’s a huge place if you like water sports, and there was a boat show going on—a fun place. Lots of stuff for the kids to do.”

Clayton Lake State Park & Dinosaur Trackways. “It is out in the boonies, but there’s a spectacular reservoir there, and the dinosaur tracks and
boardwalks—kids love that stuff.”

Fenton Lake.  “Wonderful hikes all around it, through meadows filled in the spring and summer with hummingbirds and wildflowers. It was more rustic camping, but I loved it.”

City of Rocks“It’s just unbelievably weird. It’s like, What’s with these rocks? And trails go all through it.”