City of Rocks State Park
Entrance to City of Rocks State Park
City of Rocks State Park contains about 2,306 acres, 49 acres of which are composed of the ancient weathered volcanic ash formations that give the property its name. The volcanic ash was deposited about 35 million years ago and has eroded over the intervening time into what we see today. There are also several archaeological sites in the area dating back up to 11,500 years.
City of Rocks State Park is located in the Mimbres Valley, high in the Chihuahuan Desert. The vegetation in the area is a mix of grasslands with yucca, cacti, ocotillo and agave. In some areas among the rocks you'll find small stands of gray and Emory oak.
City of Rocks State Park offers a visitor center, group picnic shelter and 52 developed campsites, 10 of which offer electric hookups. In the camping areas you'll find restrooms and showers. The visitor center offers several interpretive exhibits. As the centerpiece of City of Rocks State Park is the rhyolite outcropping named "City of Rocks," most park activities center around picnicking, hiking, wildlife watching and exploring the wonderland of eroded rock structures. City of Rocks State Park also has an astronomical observatory on the property. The observatory has a roll-off roof and is completely solar-powered. Visitors can "see" through the 14" Meade LX-200 telescope with a 20" computer monitor attached to the telescope control system.
City of Rocks State Park entry gate is open from 7 am to 9 pm, every day of the year. To get there: Follow US Highway 180 northwest from Deming for 24 miles. Then turn northeast on New Mexico Highway 61 and go four miles to the park entrance road.
Weathered volcanic ash formations at City of Rocks State Park
Other photos courtesy of Erica Asmus-Otero, New Mexico State Parks