Just Park It: FREE and Off Grid in Las Cruces

On our late fall tiny house road trip through southern New Mexico, it felt like spring. Warm, sunny days and cool nights. We discovered an enchanting free boondocking site on the outskirts of Las Cruces. For four days, our backyard was the rugged Organ Mountains. Specifically, we were parked in a Baylor Canyon BLM dispersed camping area within the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument. Felt remote, but had connectivity perks. The close proximity to the city meant strong cell service. It was also just a short drive to both the White Sands National Monument and Missile Range Museum. For a tiny house on wheels and less rugged RV’s, I recommend staying close to the main road. There are a handful of easier access spots, just inside the BLM camping zone— less bumpy and mostly flat. The further in you drive, the more rugged the dirt roads.

The BLM off-grid parking spot ended up feeling like a nomadic micro-neighborhood. We made friends with our full-time tiny home neighbors. Our immediate neighbors were a thirty-something couple living in a restored vintage Airstream Argosy travel trailer. They are digital nomads, who call the New Mexican state parks and BLM land home. All for under $500 per year. A little further down the rugged dirt road was a young couple in DIY box truck conversion, who are slowly traveling the country. Neighbors like this meant stories around the campfire and sharing of boondocking tips and tricks. The nomadic tiny living community is truly a wealth of knowledge.

Ever since Christian and I began dating, he’s been telling me how much he loves New Mexico. Finally, after three and a half years of traveling, we have experienced three full weeks of New Mexico living. And I now understand why it is so awesome. There’s a kind of desert magic here that’s hard to put your finger on. It’s both vibrant and sparse, charming and weird. The sunsets are unreal. For boondocking, the selection of free or low-cost spots in various enchanting settings across the state are endless. For more on available tiny home communities, explore TryItTiny.com and SearchTinyHouseVillages.com.

White Sands National Monument

Watch the above vlog episode see why New Mexico is so awesome!

Something that wasn’t awesome about our stay at the BLM campsite was the amount of litter. Public lands belong to all of us, and it is up to us to respect and preserve them for everyone to enjoy. Please, please, please pick up after yourself. If camping, leave no trace! Pack out whatever you pack in— no exceptions. And if you see litter, take a moment to pick it up. That’s precisely what we did. We spent a solid half hour collecting trash, and you know what, it made us feel great. A side effect of doing the right thing.

During our stay, we took a magical day trip to White Sands National Monument. The ever-moving yet anchored gypsum sands struck me as a metaphor for well-grounded nomads, which we always strive to be. Though we are often on the move, we maintain a sense of normalcy and peace by being each other’s rock. It also helps to always have our comfy bed with us. We are always home.

-Alexis Stephens, Tiny House Blog contributor

My partner, Christian and I are traveling tiny house dwellers. Together we’ve been on the road two years for our documentary and community outreach project, Tiny House Expedition. We live, breathe, dream the tiny home community every day. This is our life and our true passion project. We are very grateful to be able to experience this inspiring movement in such an intimate way and to be able to share our exploration with all of you.

 

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