We have major lakes in New Mexico to suggest for you to check into.
What is a major lake? Some feel it means the biggest lakes. But the word major also means significant, consequential or important.
Even though some of the lakes here aren't the biggest of all, these major New Mexico lakes you'll want to get to know because they are fundamental to your lake knowledge.
Or they may be somewhere you'll likely want to know about. The lake we bring to you we've discovered is truly exceptional, for one reason or another. And we feel you should know of it!
We think you'll be glad we pointed it out. Because they are...
Navajo Lake State Park1 - Adjacent to Navajo Dam, NM. A very small zip coded town. Per its name, located near the dam that created 15,600-acre Navajo lake from Los Pinos River.
Average elevation: 6000 ft. The lake is NM's 2nd largest. All kinds of boating craft & water sports.
From US64 forty miles East of Farmington, then NM511 to NM539.
Lake Roberts2 - Named for this small town in Southwest NM (Or is it vice-versa!), less than 100 population. Day usage open 8am-10pm.
Grindstone Lake - Managed by the City of Ruidoso Parks and Recreation,3 this Rec Area has tons of thing to do. Ideal for family fun, couples fun, or relaxation & fun for anyone. What can you do there?
Lake Maloya - In the Northeast section of Sugarite Canyon State Park, it barely also crosses over into Colorado.
The lake waters were created by damming Chicorica Creek. There's a 2nd smaller lake in this park, Lake Alice.
Lake Van - The lakes, including this major one of the area, are so important to this primarily desert area in Dexter.
Lake Van was noted as a natural lake as early as the 1950s.
It's one of the largest natural, major lakes in New Mexico, covering about 60 acres.
Essentially fed from the artesian water supply, as sub-surface ground-water. It's been historically used as a community recreation & swimming lake.4
Yet it's always been stocked for fishing.4 Historically from a local facility, originally called Dexter National Fish Hatchery & Technology Center. But transferred to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service in 1932.5
Fish & Wildlife uses several smaller lakes and ponds, adjacent to Lake Van. These are also fed with artesian waters.
Pecos Baldy Lake - Pristine natural mountain waters in the Pecos Wilderness Northeast of Santa Fe.
This is a major lake in New Mexico because going there will be the reward for the work you put into arriving! It's one of the few untouched, wilderness, natural lakes in the state.
To keep it that way, there's no camping at lakeside. Try areas north or southwest of the lake.6 At least 200 feet out of the basin, into trees where campsites have already been used.6,7
A long trail, not for beginners, with over 3000' elevation gain. Still, its usage is heavy in summer. This rewarding 10+ mile hike to the lake, gives you amazing views for your final reward!
Yes, these are major lakes in New Mexico, to our way of thinking. Yet, they're not quite as well-known or highly visited. But we think they're worth a look or a visit. We sure like them! Why not see if you agree.
Bentley Lake - With about 46 acres on the Las Vegas National Wildlife Refuge for the benefit of birds and other wildlife. The Sangre de Cristo Mountains as your backdrop, you can get some wonderful wildlife photography here.
Ramah Lake - If you like to go "where no [wo]man has gone before," you may find this one interesting. Southeast of Gallup it's named for the town it's in.
Hiking trails encircle the lake. The accessible trail is from the northeast side, as the reservoir is private property. But they allow you to hike on the trails, in cooperation with the county.
Look for the Welcome sign for "Raman Mormon Pioneer Trail" - then you know you're at the right place. Hiking there is at your own risk.
Alpine Lakes - These two wilderness lakes take a trek on miles of trail through the Pecos Wilderness. But the scenery rewards you all the way, 'til the final prize at these glacial lakesides. Have a look:
Lake Katherine - Many backpack to the lake (no camping within 200'),11 because of the distance + the experience.
It's among the highest major lakes in New Mexico, at 11,700' elevation. And the largest of the alpine lakes.
Very deep, it's home to cutthroat & rainbow trout. Licensed fishing allowed & popular10 for those wanting a campfire fry!
If you desire to try, recommend a trail map.
Trail 242 + 254 to the lake & back totals about 13-1/2 miles. That's from Hwy.63 out of Terrero to Cowles, turn left onto narrow road to trailhead parking.
Stewart Lake - Amidst the high peaks of the Pecos Wilderness is this ancient natural lake carved out by glacial action. Left behind by their retreat.
The shortest route is a 10 mile hike.
See References For Major Lakes in New Mexico>
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