Located in Sandoval County, New Mexico, in the foothills of the Jemez Mountains, Cochiti Lake is a part of the Pueblo de Cochiti Indian Reservation. The lake includes two public recreation areas: Cochiti, which is on the west side of the lake and Tetilla Peak, which can be found on the east side. Beautiful views can be enjoyed on both sides of the lake of the water and the mountains that surround it.
At an elevation of 5,343 feet, the lake is one of the ten largest earth-fill dams in the United States. Surrounding the lake is juniper, pinon trees and mixed grasslands. The lake and its surrounding area deliver many opportunities to observe wildlife; there are four osprey nesting platforms and deer, coyote, river otters, rabbits and beavers can be seen on the east side of the lake. There are plenty of activities for visitors to engage in; from paddling, windsurfing, sailing, fishing, swimming and hiking.
Whether looking for a place to cool off, enjoy some adventure or simply take in the views, Cochiti Lake is a perfect destination for your next RV adventure!
From Albuquerque, take I-25 north for 34.2 miles (55 km) to exit 259. Make a left onto NM-22 N and continue for 12.2 miles (19.6 km), continuing straight onto Cochiti Highway. After 1.3 miles (2 km), turn left onto Plaza S. Proceed for .2 miles (.3 km) and turn right onto Barranca Drive. Continue for .1 mile (.16 km) and turn left onto Tsetyat St E. Continue until your arrive at the entrance to the lake.
Parking is available at Cochiti Lake.
Public transportation is not available to Cochiti Lake.
The campground at Cochiti Lake consists of four loops and 80 campsites. The sites of Juniper Loop, for example, have electric hookups and in some cases, water hookups. Elk Run and Ringtail Loops offer nonelectric sites with community water available. The sites in Buffalo Grove Loop offer both water and electric hookups. Sites have a picnic table and grills and showers are available at the campground. Reservations for sites can be made during the peak season (between April 15 through October 15) with sites being first-come, first served during the off season. The campground at Cochiti Lake is a great place to relax after sampling the fun available in the area.
The Tetilla Peak Campground is located within the Pueblo de Cochiti Indian Reservation and offers a total of 46 individual sites. A restroom and shower building is centrally located to all of the sites and there is a boat ramp that offers easy access for those looking to explore the lake by boat. All sites offer a picnic table and a grill, with some sites offering electric hook-ups and shelters.
Potable water is located throughout the campground. RV’s and trailers that are up to 50 feet long are able to be accommodated at Tetilla Peak Campground, where you can enjoy easy access to Cochiti Lake and its surroundings!
Cochiti Lake offers opportunities for fishing; fish for bass, walleye, pike, catfish, perch, carp and crappie. Fish from land or by boat and take in the gorgeous scenery that surrounds the lake. Make sure to look into fishing regulations for the state and if you are planning to fish from a boat, remember that motorized boating cannot create any wake on the lake. Fishing on the lake will be a great way to relax and while you are at it, you might just catch your next meal!
Boating is a popular way to spend time at Cochiti Lake, with a boat ramp open year-round. This includes kayaking and canoeing, as well as sailing and even motorized boating (as long as there is no wake). Regardless of the vessel that you choose to travel in, you will have the chance to take in your surroundings while also enjoying the peace and quiet of the area. Be sure to familiarize yourself with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Requirements for boating during your time on the water.
Temperatures can get very hot during the summer in New Mexico. Fortunately, Cochiti Lake offers the opportunity to jump in and cool off. Swimming is at your own risk as there are no lifeguards on duty at the lake. Swimming is allowed in a designated swimming area that is near an access turnoff to the left before you head down the boat ramp access. As you enjoy the refreshing water, be sure to take in the beauty of the surrounding scenery.
Just eight miles (12.8 km) from Cochiti Lake is the Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument. The Monument is on the Pajarito Plateau and includes a national recreation trail along which you can view cone-shaped tent rock formations that resulted from volcanic eruptions six to seven million years ago. Rock formations range from a few feet to as high as 90 feet. Experience the formations up close as you enjoy a hike in this unique area.
About 35 miles (56.3 km) from Cochiti Lake is New Mexico’s capital city of Santa Fe. Located in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo mountains, the city is known for its Pueblo-style architecture as well as an artistic community. Santa Fe was founded as a Spanish colony in 1610, the center of which is its traditional Plaza. While in Santa Fe, you can enjoy a number of art galleries, excellent restaurants and outdoor recreation opportunities, including Hyde Memorial State Park.
During your visit to Cochiti Lake, you can take some time to get in a round of golf. The Cochiti Golf Club is an 18-hole Robert Trent Jones Jr. public golf course located near the lake. Considered one of New Mexico’s best, the course has a great layout and is surrounded by the gorgeous scenery of the high desert terrain. A bar and grill at the club provide a great setting for a meal after you play.