50 States... Or Less


City of Rocks

It’s like a city... made out of rocks!
Edge of the CIty City of Rocks State Park. It just kinda tapers off on the edges and goes back to being sort of hilly grasslands.

We’re pretty big fans of geology, in fact when we travel Alana usually refers to it as rock tourism. So when we were passing though southern New Mexico and saw a sign for a place called City of Rocks we could hardly pass it up.

A city is a very apt description of this place. It sort of looks like a very low resolution model of a city or like a giant built a play set for his kids. the rocks are all clumped together in a relatively small patch about half a mile long by 500 feet wide, but they they are riven with avenues and paths that feel like streets.

Toilet Rock The GMC in the background of a rock shaped like a toilet at City of Rocks park

It was formed about 35 million years ago from volcanic ash, and then over the years wind and water eroded them in to the strangely familiar shape they are today. There are 62 campsites scattered throughout the rocks, most would be an awesome place to camp. Each site is tucked up into the city with great views of the rocks around you or of the valley that it resides in. There is also a botanical garden highlighting desert plants and an observatory that must be great considering how black the sky is at night.

We got there in mid afternoon on our way between Silver City and Las Cruces. The first thing you see on your way in is a surprisingly nicely designed visitors center, and the second thing you see right behind it is possibly what most people know the park for; Toilet Rock, a rock that looks like a giant toilet. It is a huge rock set apart from the rest of the city like some kind of monolithic piece of outhouse plumbing and a source of great amusement to both of us.

City of Rocks An overview of the "city" which is like a giant decided to create a model of a city with the boulders he found lying around.

This would be an incredible place to camp for a photographer or a sky watcher.

We spent about an hour wandering around in the city, they are totally dog friendly so the three of us were able to clamber all over the place. It would be great later in the day when the light is a little more orange but it’s a good environment to take photos whenever you are there.