Santa Rosa Lake State Park
Guide

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Introduction

Santa Rosa Lake State Park is located on the plains of New Mexico just seven miles north of Santa Rosa. The park has an elevation near 4800 ft. Just a short distance from the famed Route 66, it is a great location to stop in for a night or weekend while on a road trip. The state park is full of activities such as hiking, birdwatching, and fishing. Santa Rosa Lake is 3500 acres and provides endless activities such as boating, swimming, and other water sports. Scenic trails to and around the lake are accessible from within the Rocky Point camping area.

The construction of Santa Rosa Lake and dam were authorized by the flood control act of 1954. The project was completed in 1981. As the first major dam along the Pecos River, Santa Rosa Lake provides irrigation storage, flood control, and sediment retention. The area is managed and maintained by the New Mexico State Parks department. Stop by the Visitor’s Center during your stay to learn more about the history of the area and the construction of the reservoir and dam.

There are two campgrounds within the state park, Rocky Point and Juniper Park. Rocky Point Campground is more popular to RVers Many campsites in Rocky Point have water and electric hookups though others in that camping area and Juniper Park Campground are dry. Some sites are available for reservation, while others are first-come, first served. The peak season to visit is in the late spring and summer months. If visiting in the winter be aware of seasonal closures that may impact some campgrounds or camping loops.

RV Rentals in Santa Rosa Lake State Park

Transportation in Santa Rosa Lake State Park

Driving

Santa Rosa Lake State Park is located just seven miles north of Santa Rosa in eastern New Mexico. From I-40, take Highway 91 to the park. Just 15 minutes from downtown Santa Rosa, supplies are nearby if you forgot to pack something or just want to venture out to explore.

Highway 91 does have a few curves, but it should be a fairly easy drive out to the state park. The gate into the state park is open 24 hours a day, so if arriving late you shouldn’t have any trouble accessing the campsites.

Once in the camping areas, you’ll find that there are both pull-through and back-in campsites. The sites are mostly level, but leveling your rig may still be a possibility. The roads in the park are vehicle friendly, though you may prefer to walk or take the trails for the scenery and wildlife.

Parking

Public Transport

Campgrounds and parking in Santa Rosa Lake State Park

Campsites in Santa Rosa Lake State Park

Reservations camping

Rocky Point Campground

Rocky Point Campground has two loops, Loop A and Loop B. Loop A has both electric and water hookups. Loop B offers dry camping only though there are water spigots located nearby.

There are six 30-amp electric and water sites available for reservation as well as seven water and electric campsites with 50-amp hookups. There are additional sites with water and electric hookups that are available on a first-come, first served basis.

First-come first-served

Juniper Park Campground

Juniper Park Campground has dry camping only. Water spigots are located nearby. This area has 27 campsites available and is closer to the lake than Rocky Point Campground.

Alternate camping

Seasonal activities in Santa Rosa Lake State Park

In-Season

Hiking

There are five and a half miles of hiking trails at Santa Rosa Lake State Park. Take a trail down to the lake from Rocky Point Campground. You’re sure to find beautiful views of the rocky hills to overlooks of the lake. Jump into the lake to cool off before the trek back to your campsite. Along the trails, you may see some of the park’s wildlife, such as bald eagles, during your hike. If climbing around rocks, be careful of disturbing rattlesnakes during the warmer months.

Boating

Motorized and non-motorized boating is allowed on Santa Rosa Lake. A four-lane boat ramp is available for use. During your stay plan to water ski, jet ski, or just putz around the lake to take in the scenery. The 3500-acre lake is great for paddling as well, so bring along your kayak, canoe, or paddle board. Being out on the water is a great way to spend a hot day whether you’re on a boat, paddling, or using other water craft.

Fishing

You can count on great fishing during your stay at the state park. Largemouth Bass, Walleye, and Catfish are known to be caught by anglers at Santa Rosa Lake. The New Mexico Game and Fish Department keeps the lake well stocked. A New Mexico fishing license is required to fish at New Mexico Lakes. A boat ramp and docks are available in the state park.

Off-Season

Visitor Center

During your stay, be sure to take time to stop by the Visitor Center. You’ll find information about the natural history of the area to the construction of the reservoir and dam. The Army Corps of Engineers Visitor Center is certainly worth a stop in.

Horseback Riding

The Los Tanos Trail at Santa Rosa State Park is a popular equestrian trail. The Trailhead is located in the equestrian camping area of the park which has two corrals and water available for your horse. Ride the trail all day to take in the stunning views and cool off after in the lake.

Wildlife

The state park has an abundance of wildlife. Wildlife viewing blinds are available throughout the park. Deer, fox, and coyotes are common to the area. If out on the trails or climbing around the rocky hills you may even spot a snake. Keep an eye out for rattlesnakes especially if disturbing rocks. A number of non-venomous snakes are common in the park as well. Birdwatching is a popular activity at the state park also. It is common to spot bald eagles along with many different types of ducks.

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