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Brantley Lake, New Mexico


Free Forest Camping Report

 Adventure Location: Lincoln National Forest, NM

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When Monday Sep. 4 arrives the OFM Teams must vacate the Brantley campgrounds for a minimum of 6 nights. There are many locations for us to enjoy and are free. The OFM Teams went to re-acquaint the Teams with the Lincoln NF possibilities. 

We left the Brantley Lake campground and crossed highway 285 and headed westerly on highway 137. Highway 137 loops around on a bunch of BLM land and dead ends in Dog Canyon campground in the Guadalupe Mountains. It also goes through a huge chunk of free camping BLM land. Here is a picture of the lower elevation BLM land along the road. This is near the turn off to Sitting Bull Falls.

There is private land in some places that is not available for free camping but that only leaves you a few hundred thousand acres to choose from for your boondocking. The Teams have found several very nice locations through this area over the years.

But we kept on going on up into the Lincoln NF to check out the easy to get to parts and especially some places on forest road 540. The small community of Queen is up there. They now have a small RV park with hookups. The café is up and running again. They used to have the best hamburgers of any place in the world in our opinion. Yep they were even better than a Whataburger.

A few miles past Queen highway 540 takes off to the left. It is a graded gravel road that runs for miles off into the forest. We explored a lot of it when we had The Truck which was 4x4. As you travel along the road there are places to pull off and set up camp. There is a 14 day limit per stay. One thing for certain, if you will need or want it, bring it with you. Your location will be about 85 miles from the nearest store in Carlsbad.

There are lots of nice meadows with easy pull offs that even Sierra can drive into and back out. We checked that out carefully since Sierra is a 2wd truck. Here are a couple pictures of the scenery from on hwy 540.

Guadalupe Mountains NP in the distance
 If you chose the wrong parking spot you might need several leveling blocks.