Our next stop was Villanueva State Park which was packed for Cinco de Mayo weekend. We arrived on Thursday, so we had parking options. On Friday we watched some pretty fancy backing as good-sized trailers were forced to take small sites. It was very entertaining.
We were right along the Pecos River and were further entertained by enterprising young people who carried tubes up river then floated right by us.
The park has two nice hiking trails, both short, but with some serious elevation change. First we did the Canyon trail, a two-mile loop which begins as an easy walk along the river. But we knew it was going to the high point in the upper right of the picture.
As the trail started uphill, we could look down on our rig. We had chosen that spot from the satellite view on Google maps for the openness and easy access. We couldn’t park right in the sun because the pay station was there, but we got enough morning and late afternoon sun for the solar.
The campground layout is interesting. Most of the sites are down along the river, but 11 of them are on top of the cliff. If you click on the picture, you can see it better. One of the sites on top would probably be better for us, but, although the one-way road was fine going up, I swear it was a 20 percent grade coming back down. Yikes!
After puffing our way up a particularly steep switchback, we enjoyed the view down the Pecos River canyon.
The rest of the trail loop took us along the top of the bluff,
With some sections looking like sand dunes,
And others looking like they had been paved with flagstone.
Eventually, we dropped back down to river level where Ron spotted these cliff swallow nests.
The next day, we hiked the shorter El Cerro trail which climbs above the campground to a nice view of the valley below.
Anybody know what this cool plant is? I don’t think I’ve ever seen one. Maybe some kind of fern?
I really enjoyed this state park because of the trails, which is a good thing since the road in is not the best. When we exited the interstate, there was a road sign that said it was not recommended for trailers. But it was just a little narrow and curvy and we were far from the biggest RV that we saw arrive at the park. We were without phone or internet during our stay, but we just had to leave before our respective daughters’ birthdays so we could call them on their special day.