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  1. #1

    Default Winter trip from Austin to Los Angeles - suggestions?

    Hello! A friend and I are planning a road trip from Austin to Los Angeles in January of 2015. We've got about 7 or 8 days.

    Do you think it is reasonable to allow for a couple days of camping, in New Mexico or Arizona? I know weather can be very unpredictable, and that snow is always possible, but I'm just curious to see if anyone has experience with winter camping.

    For the other nights, we'd really like to stay in some smaller hotels/lodges/guest houses, and drive with a mix of planning and following our noses. We're hoping to start by driving directly to Big Bend, then either head north toward the parks around Santa Fe, or southwest, toward Chiricahua.

    I have an idea we might be able to find hot springs along the way, but maybe that's just from my experience in CA's Eastern Sierra--any suggestions?

    I'd love any thoughts, recommendations, tips, warnings, etc! that anyone has to offer.

    Many thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    It seems like you've got a very nice trip idea. Camping is reasonable, as long as you have the proper gear. At the very least, you're going to need a very good sleeping pad to keep you insulated from the ground, and a good cold weather sleeping bag (I'd make sure it is rated for at least 0 degrees, if not subzero). The other challenge could be finding open campgrounds. You should be able to find some campgrounds that are open year round, but some may also still close for winter, so you'll want to do a little research there before you leave.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    One hot spring that I'm aware of is not all that far from I-10: Faywood, between Deming and Silver City, NM. It has a few pools, at least one of which appears to be clothing-optional (!), and a camping area. Faywood also has cabins and a motel, it looks like. (My parents went there once a number of years ago, with their RV.)

    Many campsites in the southern areas of NM and AZ are still open, because many of them cater to snowbirds. Tenting areas aren't usually an issue, but the RV area might be in January. As Michael suggested, do a little research, and call ahead. At someplace like Faywood, you might need a reservation.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default The Wonderland of Rocks.

    One camping area whih is definitely open in January, is in the Chiricahua Mountains NM. It is a nice campground in an amazing setting.

    Last edited by Lifemagician; 10-05-2014 at 05:12 PM. Reason: typo

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Albuquerque, New Mexico

    Default Santa Fe area

    Quote Originally Posted by Megan
    then either head north toward the parks around Santa Fe
    If I may ask, which parks? Some places are open all year, others are not.

    Santa Fe is at a fairly high elevation, 7000 ft. above sea level. The average nighttime temperature in January is about 18 degrees F, and it can get a lot colder than that. Michael's recommendation that you have a good cold weather sleeping bag is entirely correct. You would want something rated down to at least 0 degrees F. If it really gets cold, a zero-degree (F) bag won't be enough.

  6. #6


    Thank you all for replying!

    howard, I'm not sure which parks, but am open to suggestions! Bandelier seems like an obvious choice, but I've never been anywhere in New Mexico, so this is all just speculation at this point. I'll keep your recommendation about cold weather sleeping bags in mind.

    Lifemagician, Chiricahua looks great! Thanks for the recommendation.

    Midwest Michael and DonnaR57, thanks for your suggestions regarding camping. I'll take these into consideration when planning the trip; we may end up in cabins or guest houses instead, depending on the weather.

    Any specific recommendations any of you have for particular places to stay are very welcomed. Thanks again!


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