If you're looking for adventure in the desert during your next RV camping trip, look no further. Brantley Lake State Park occupies more than 3,000 picturesque acres of desert and oasis near Carlsbad, New Mexico. This undeniably scenic park bears the name of its Brantley Lake, a human-made water body created during the construction of Brantley Dam on the Pecos River. The park offers year-round RV and tent camping for those who want to enjoy the outdoors in a desert landscape. The park exhibits a charming ambiance amidst delightful recreational activities. Hiking trails abound with the charms of nature and birdwatching in a unique desert environment.
There are possibilities for a fantastic picnic party and spectacular horse riding. Brantley Lake is sparkling with opportunities for boating, kayaking, canoeing, and fishing. Brantley Lake is the oasis to the desert of Brantley Lake State Park and is the most visited tourist spot in the park. You won’t help but admire the gorgeous skies with seasonal events like kite flying and Star Party.
RV camping is fantastic at the park, so whether you're driving the class A or hauling a trailer, you're sure to have a satisfying stay. Limestone Campground is a well-maintained RV campground with partial as well as a few full hookup campsites. You will have a comfortable, convenient stay in your RV with a gorgeous desert setting in the backdrop. You can even immerse in a tent camping experience at Ricky Bay Primitive Camping. Mid-March to the beginning of October is the busiest camping season at Brantley Lake with hundreds of RVs crowding the campground.
Brantley Lake State Park is easy to access via car or RV from Carlsbad as it is just 12 miles north of the town. The locals of Eddy County will easily get to the park via US-285 in their RV. Roads are usually closed due to snow conditions in the winter, so be sure to check the local weather and driving conditions before heading out. Other times roads may be closed due to construction. In such cases, you will have to drive through an alternative route, which you will find easily.
Upon arriving at the park, get a parking permit for your car or RV. There are no driving restrictions for RVs and trailers inside of the park. The roads are paved, well-maintained, but a little too narrow at times. But you won’t face any significant difficulty in driving your rig on the streets.
You will find plenty of parking options in the park. You can park at the park office, Visitor Center, day-use areas, and your designated campsite in the campground. Parking is mostly sufficient, and even during the busiest visiting months, you will be able to find a spot for your car or trailer at any parking lot. Towed parking is also available.
Sitting near the desert oasis of Brantley Lake, Limestone Campground boasts 51 RV campsites with a combination of partial and full hookup sites. As the park is a desert in itself, the campground features inherent desert beauty like claret cup cactus and many other wildflowers. There are 38 partial hookup sites with 30-amp electric and water hookups, ten partial hookup sites with 50-amp electric and water hookups, and three full hookup sites with 50-amp electric, water, and sewer hookups. Sites can accommodate rigs up to 50 feet in length.
You can enjoy on-site amenities like a pay station, soda machine, dump station, restroom with hot showers, and drinking water. Fancy picnic sites overlook the lake just across the campground. A playground equipped with swings and slides can also be found nearby. The East Side Day-Use Area is within walking distance from the campground.
Generators are permitted but cannot be used in the campground during the park’s quiet hours when all noise-creating devices are restricted. Various cellular connections are supported. This campground is also pet-friendly. The campground is open year-round, and reservations can be made up to 12 months in advance.
Some of the sites at this campground are available on a first-come, first-served basis. However, during the peak season reservations are highly recommended.
If you are visiting during the summer months when the crowds are thick, you may not be able to find a site at Brantley Lake State Park without a reservation. If you're a last-minute kind of camper and are interested in the area, there are several alternative options nearby. Guadalupe Mountains National Park is located just over an hour to the south of Brantley Lake in Texas. This park offers 24 primitive style RV friendly campsites available on a first-come, first-served basis.
The park’s nearly 2.5-mile hiking trail is a hit among hiking lovers bringing their Airstreams for a few days of camping leisure. The trail is immensely beautiful, featuring the desert in the background and the desert's oasis nearby. This trail is the only hiking trail in the park, so it may get a little crowded during the peak months. If you are looking for peace and some quiet time, an off-season hike is the best idea.
Brantley Lake State Park will steal your heart with its spectacular bird watching and wildlife viewing opportunities. Birds that are frequently sighted include roadrunners, pelicans, shorebirds, buffleheads, gulls, doves, and yellowlegs. In fact, Pecos River, from which Brantley Lake feeds, is a critical waterfowl migratory route, so Brantley Lake is usually bustling with lots and lots of water birds. You will come across many birds while hiking the trail, and maybe even spot some birds from inside your motorhome. You may also bump into a cottontail rabbit if you are lucky enough, but, no matter where you walk, beware of the snakes!
Do you want to ride your horse in a desert landscape with sand dunes in the background? If the answer is yes, then Brantley Lake State Park’s developed horseback trail will certainly be your happy place. The park boasts a two-mile trail for equestrian riders. Fall and spring are especially good times for a ride due to the mild temperatures. Bring your horse for a camping vacation to the park. Even though your horses won’t be staying with you in the RV campground, there are arrangements for horses in the primitive camping areas.
When some people think about the desert, words like desolate, barren, and dry often come to mind. But those who visit Brantley Lake State Park will find that the landscape is everything but. Teeming with wildlife from roadrunners to cottontails, photographers have to chance to photograph the unique fauna in this arid area. You can't have the fauna without the flora, and visitors to this park will see plenty of that as well. Spring is the best time to visit, as you can capture photos of the blooming wildflowers without the heat or crowds to deter you. Various different cacti and colorful shrub also make good subjects. The sunsets over the lake are what bring photographers out of the campervan, but don't let that be the only memory you capture during your stay.
There are several picnic areas at various locations in the park: just outside Seven Rivers Day-Use Area, outside East Side Day-Use Area, and inside Limestone Campground. Two group picnic shelters are provided for you to celebrate an outdoor birthday party, a business outing, or just a lunch with friends or family in a desert landscape. Don’t worry about bringing your own grills, as RV campers are offered complimentary grills and tables for their picnic meals.
If you are keen for some fishing at Brantley Lake State Park, don’t forget to pack your equipment along with you in the Sprinter, as there is a wide range of game species that call Brantley Lake home. Common catches at the lake include largemouth bass, white bass, bluegill, catfish, walleye, crappie, and carp. There is a fishing pier at the lake to ease your angling experience, or you can cast off from the comfort of your boat while on the water. Officials have declared these fish unfit for eating due to high levels of DDT, but if fishing makes you feel sporty, we highly recommend showing off your skills at Brantley Lake.
During your camping trip at Brantley Lake State Park, you will be drawn to the park’s central piece of attention, Brantley Lake, which also happens to make a fabulous destination for kayaking, canoeing, and boating. With the availability of two boating ramps, the experience is no less than perfect. If you want to get into the lake, bring your boat, canoe, or kayak in your trailer as you will find lots of opportunities for paddling here. Or do you own a jet ski by any chance? Make some room for it in the camper because the lake happens to offer jet skiing as well.
The remote location of Brantley Lake State Park makes it the perfect place for stargazing. Far from any large cities, light pollution, or noisy highways, it's easy to look towards the sky and forget your worries. Whether you're picking out constellations, or simply staring in awe at the unknown, the sky here is truly magical. The mild climate in southern New Mexico makes it easy to step out of the pop-up and enjoy the summer nights. The moon is also pleasant to gaze at and is a real sight to see when it's full.