Given the size of New Mexico, it makes sense that we gravitate to the parks that are closest to where we live. However, there are 35 state parks scattered throughout the Land of Enchantment. Here are
14 you may have already visited, while these 11 tend to get overlooked:
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. Caballo Lake State Park (Caballo)
Caballo Lake would receive more attention if it weren’t so close to Elephant Butte, the largest lake in New Mexico. At Caballo, you beach camp, take a dip, go kayaking, or try your luck fishing.
Address: Highway 187, Caballo, NM 87931
2. Sugarite Canyon State Park (near Raton)
Once an old coal mining camp, this park continues across the border into Colorado. It offers tranquil scenery – woods and mountains – that you can appreciate from the 15 miles of trails. In the New Mexican portion of the park, you’ll find two charming fishing lakes.
Address: 211 Highway 526, Raton, NM 87740
3. Rockhound State Park (Deming)
Did you know that you’re allowed to remove up to 15 pounds of gems and minerals from Rockhound State Park… assuming your eyes are sharp enough to spot them? If you’re up for a short hike, try the Thunder Egg Trail or the Jasper Trail. More adventurous types will relish the access Rockhound provides to the remote Florida Mountains Wilderness Study Area.
Address: 9880 Stirrup Road SE, Deming, NM 88030
4. Eagle Nest Lake State Park (Eagle Nest)
You might pass through Eagle Nest as you cruise along the Enchanted Circle, a popular scenic drive, in Northern New Mexico. However, some don’t realize that the lake is actually part of a state park and it’s one you can enjoy year round. Popular activities here range from wildlife watching to ice fishing.
Address: 42 Marina Way, Eagle Nest, NM 87718
5. Oasis State Park (Portales)
While Oasis has a more urban feel than some of the other parks listed, it still retains a serene feeling. It’s also a great spot for fishing (especially if you’re less experienced) and for picnics.
Address: 1891 Oasis Road, Portales, NM 88130
6. Morphy Lake State Park (near Mora)
Once you take in the scenery at Morphy Lake, you’ll wonder how this park has remained a hidden gem. The views of the Sangre de Cristos are spectacular and, even if you’re not into fishing or canoeing, just spending time in this gorgeous setting is restorative.
Address: Murphy Lake Road, Mora, NM 87732
7. Manzano Mountains (near Mountainair)
Few people realize that there’s a state park in the Manzano Mountains. While it’s low on amenities, solitude is almost guaranteed. Hike the 3.5 miles of forested trails here or pitch a tent and retreat into nature for a few days.
Address: Mile Marker 3, Highway 131, Mountainair, NM 87036
8. Ute Lake State Park (Logan)
Although Ute Lake is popular with locals, this roughly 13-mile long reservoir on the Canadian River doesn’t receive the same volume of visitors as some of our other lakes. It's big enough that you should be able to claim a secluded spot, where you can splash around.
Address: 1800 540 Loop, Logan, NM 88426
9. Conchas Lake (near Tucumcari)
Nearby Conchas Lake is 11 miles long and has a more remote feel. It’s popular with both boaters and birders.
Address: 501 Bell Ranch Road, Conchas Dam, NM 88416
10. Mesilla Valley Bosque (Mesilla)
Mesilla Valley Bosque State Park could definitely use more love. This scenic park is on the Statewide Birding Trail, offers opportunities for easy day hikes, and allows you to soak in views of the Organ Mountains and Rio Grande.
Address: 5000 Calle del Norte, Mesilla, NM 88046
11. Leasburg Dam State Park (Radium Springs)
Stargazers need to check out Leasburg Dam State Park. It’s an excellent spot for exploring the night skies – there’s an on-site observatory. During daylight hours, you can hike the Mogollon Trail and dip your toes in the Rio Grande.
Address: 12712 State Park Road, Radium Springs, NM 88054