Tuesday, February 15, 2011

On the trail of Pancho Villa

From El Paso westbound, we stuck close to the border, in the tracks of Wandering Willy from about two weeks ago.

This is a fairly ‘bland’ area of southern New Mexico, but good driving on a straight road with no traffic, except me and the Border Patrol.  For part of the route, you can easily see the endless vehicle barrier fence stretching for miles across the flats.  It was early when we got to Columbus, the site of the famous raid into the US by Pancho Villa in 1916.


The state park of the same name was a pleasant surprise, and too inviting to pass up.  The place was surprisingly busy, although I think there may have been a caravan in camp.  But they had a range of campsites, including some random dry campsites away from the rest, which was just what I was looking for.  The campground is right on the grounds of the 13th cavalry’s Camp Furlong, with numerous original buildings and structures still standing.  There is a good museum in the park, and historical hiking trails throughout the area.  The town of Columbus also has a number of historic buildings and interpretive plaques.  CIMG3854CIMG3852

Compared to the facilities and staff at Garner SP in Texas, the staff and atmosphere here was refreshingly casual and laid-back.


Cootes Hill, right in the campground – where the troops were eventually able to repel the attack from the south.


I recommend a visit here, but you might be tempted to spend a few days!

When I told Hailey the story of the surprise raid a mere 95 years ago, she insisted in climbing a tree to be on the lookout for anyone coming across the border.


Confident that we were not going to be under attack any time soon, she came down to enjoy the sunset with me.CIMG3844

For more on the Pancho Villa story, check out these links:




Before you know it, we might be back in Arizona!


  1. On our first trip to the southwest Pancho Villa SP was the second SP we stayed in with Rockhound near Deming being the first. We took a liking to Columbus & enjoyed the quaint hospitality there. You can eat really cheaply at the Seniors Center most days. If you look directly south from PV towards Mexico you can see some mounds in a field. That is where they dumped everything from the original fort when they decomissioned it. You can hop the fence & walk down there & find old stuff like broken bottles dating back to the original Fort days. We picked up some nice pieces there. Try to get down to the Pink Store in Palomas cause it's just worth a look see & they will give you a free Margurita. It's a walk across border & you can't miss the Pink Store because it's right there at the crossing and..... it's pink:))

  2. Looks like an interesting place, will have to add it to our list.


  3. Looks like an interesting place, will have to add it to our list.