Boondocking with Joe Skeen in El Malpais National Conservation Area, New Mexico

Joe Skeen is easily the nicest free campground we have stayed at, thus far. We were lucky to nab the last of about a dozen spots on this BLM area. I’m not really sure who Joe Skeen is but I’m thankful for the campground bearing his name.

The road into the campground was dirt and took a large dip. We made it with minimal fuss. We grabbed the last available campground nearest the entrance.

Each site is easily identifiable with the large shelter and picnic table. There’s even a concrete pad.

Each site also includes a double wall fire pit with grates and a large charcoal grill. The grill is approximately 3 feet by 3 feet. More than large enough to cook for a family here.

The view is nothing to complain about either. Even with the dozen or so nearby campsites, its a peaceful area.


Each site has a covered concrete pad, picnic table, charcoal grill, and firepit. A vault toilet is located inside a loop made by most of the campsites.

A dump station was once available but is now permanently closed.

Cell Service

Our site was the lowest and closet to the entrance. Due to that, we had very poor to no signal on AT&T. Others have reported better service with the higher campsites. Service here is not a guarantee.

My Take

We would definitely stay here again, likely for a few days. Others have mentioned trails that come off the campground that could be worth hiking.

You can find Joe Skeen near:
Grants, NM 87020
GPS: 34.9435, -107.8204

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