Datil Well Recreation Area (BLM)
Altitude: 7687 ft
GPS: 34.185252N 107.907929W
1/4 mi off Hwy 60 West of Magdelana NM. $5 per night (9/10/2011) 7 day limit. Open all year. Elev 7400 ft. In Datil (East) is a gas station/store/restaurant with very good (huge) steaks that my daughter highly recommends. It's the place with the "turret" for an entrance. If coming in from the East, stop in Socorro (I-25 Exits 147 & 150) to get all your supplies. There's very little up there. The Wal-Mart and the Family Dollar allow overnight parking in their parking lots. Casey's Socorro RV Park (South end of town at Exit 147) will allow the use of their dump station if needed ($).
22 sites. Pit toilets. Water pipes (threaded to accept a water hose) at various locations in campground. Sites do not have hookups. No dump station. Camphost was on site. Good gravel road to campground. Gravel interior roads in good condition when we were there. Gravel pads, pull thu and back in. Mostly level sites. Use care as this area has rattlesnakes and a problem with bears/mountain lions and elk. It seems to be self pay with a campground host. I would suggest that you bring cash but they do accept personal checks made payable to BLM.. The campground is open year round but I suspect the water gets shut off. This is "high" altitude so you will have to adjust your cooking a little. But fairly cool in the summer days (highs in 80's)... chilly at night (low's in the 50's). In winter they get snow pretty early and often. Nice spot to base at to visit the VLA to the East and Pie Town to the West. The VLA is between Magdelena (a gas station and very little else) and Datil (even less than Magdelena but still fuel/convenience store and the really good steak restaurant) is the Very Large Array
My daughter went and picnicked up there, toured the site... pronounced it "uber cool"
... It is not, despite depictions in popular culture, used to assist in the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI)....
You may have already seen it on big & small screen...
...The VLA is the setting for the beginning of the 1984 film 2010.
.. For the 1997 film Contact, much of the outdoor footage was shot at the VLA site with the number of dishes visible on screen artificially increased by CGI, and the canyon depicted as being in the vicinity of the VLA is actually Canyon de Chelly in neighboring Arizona.
... In the 2009 science-fiction film Terminator Salvation, the VLA is the location of a Skynet facility. At the beginning of the film the site is attacked by Resistance forces.
... New Jersey rock band Bon Jovi shot the music video for "Everyday", at the VLA and a "dish" can be seen on the cover of the album Bounce. Likewise Matt Harding can be seen dancing at this location in his second video.
... The cover for the Night Ranger album Dawn Patrol, the Dire Straits album On The Night, and the At the Drive-In album In/Casino/Out feature the VLA.
... The VLA featured prominently in Carl Sagan's 1980 documentary Cosmos: A Personal Voyage.
... The VLA features in plans to save the world from satellites being pulled from orbit in the second volume of the comic book series G.I. Joe: America's Elite published by Devil's Due.
... The VLA could be visited in Auto Assault, a massively multiplayer online game that was set in post-apocalyptic America.
David checking out a site
Handicapped Accessible pit toilets located across from site 5 (other toilets are not surrounded by concrete but otherwise look the same)
We did not camp here. We took the opportunity to check it out on the way to the Pie Festival in Pie Town. We expected there to be a lot of folks here. Not counting the campground host there were only about 3 vehicles. The entrance road off Hwy 60 is very wide and in very good shape when we visited.