In this section
The terrain of San Miguel County varies widely from 11,800 foot peaks in the rugged Sangre de Cristo Mountains in the western portion to broad, flat plains of less than 4,000 feet in the east. Between the mountains and the plains is another distinct region known as the Las Vegas Plateau, while Glorieta Mesa in the southwestern corner represents still another distinct zone. The sources of the Pecos River and its tributaries are located in the Sangre de Cristos and flow in a southeasterly direction. The Canadian River has been dammed to form Conchas Reservoir.
San Miguel County has a treasure chest of things to do and see in the outdoors. Camping, fishing, trail riding, water skiing and windsurfing are just a few of the diversions which await during the warmer months. But there's no reason to stay away when it's cold. Iceskating, sledding, cross country and downhill skiing are just around the corner. San Miguel County has national forests, a national park, a national wildlife refuge and two state parks. A wealth of outdoor adventure awaits, with breathtaking vistas and the quiet serenity of the wilderness.
Fishermen of all levels can find quality fishing throughout San Miguel County. Game species such as rainbow and German Browns are stocked in many local rivers and lakes.
STORRIE LAKE STATE PARK
The man-made reservoir of Storrie Lake is a recreational mecca for boating and windsurfing enthusiasts. Storrie Lake, located six miles north of Las Vegas on Hwy 518, is a popular lake for people from around New Mexico with consistent winds, warm waters and few insects. On-site boat and windsurfing rentals are not available but can be arranged in Santa Fe or Albuquerque.
Storrie Lake State Park
HC 33, Box 109 #2
Las Vegas, NM 87701
THE SANTA FE NATIONAL FOREST AND THE PECOS WILDERNESS
Start 15 miles north of Las Vegas on Hwy 65 and offer numerous opportunities for remote alpine stream fishing.
THE PECOS RIVER
Is well-stocked, sometimes with 14-inch rainbows especially for a 20-mile stretch north along Hwy 63 from the village of Pecos to Cowles.
VILLANUEVA STATE PARK
Also on the banks of the Pecos riveris located 31 miles southwest of Las Vegas via I-25 and Hwy 4. Fishing is best from fall through spring, when the river is stocked with rainbow trout, German brown trout and channel catfish. When the water level is high enough, usually from early May through mid-June, the river is open to canoeing.
MCALLISTER LAKE STATE PARK
Eight miles east of Las Vegas on Hwy 104.
GALLINAS RIVER (CANYON) RECREATION AREA
15 miles north of Las Vegas on Hwy 65.
Is 72 miles southeast of Las Vegas and just 32 miles northwest of Tucumcari, via Hwy 104, in San Miguel County. This lake is a 9,000 acre U.S. Corps of Engineers impoundment of the Conchas and Canadian Rivers. Crappie, bass, walleyed pike and catfish are stocked in the lake. Two modern marinas provide facilities for boating and fishing either from boats or on the rocky shoreline.
Cow Creek Ranch in Pecos, 505-757-2107. Orvis-endorsed fly fishing lodge. Horseback riding, hiking, sporting clays, archery. cowcreek-ranch.com
Three different golf courses are within easy drives from Las Vegas:
Located in Las Vegas, the New Mexico Highlands University course is open to the public year-round. It is designed on a high plains meadow with scattered trees.
New Mexico Highlands University Golf Course
Las Vegas, NM 88416
Located 25 miles north of Las Vegas (and 13 miles south of Mora) in Rociada on Hwy 105 is Pendaries Lodge and Country Club. The 18-hole golf course is open from May 1 to October 31. The privately-owned facility also has horse stables and fishing, and the lodge offers rooms and a restaurant.
Pendaries Lodge and Country Club
P.O. Box 820
Rociada, NM 87742
The nine-hole Conchas Lake State Park course is 76 miles southeast of Las Vegas and open year round.
Cross country skiing opportunities are available on designated trails in the National Forest within minutes of Las Vegas.
Someone looking for a new run every time down the mountain should ski elsewhere, but someone looking for charm and an old-fashioned mountain experience should try Sipapu. Conveniently located from Las Vegas, runs on this mountain intersect so often that skiers can pick a variety of ways to reach the bottom. Operated by the same family since the resort opened in 1952, employees are likely to know skiers by name. The facility is open until March 31.
Sipapu Ski & Summer Resort
A variety of hiking trails ranging from easy to difficult exist in San Miguel County in National Forests, National Parks, the National Wildlife Refuge and State Parks. USGS and Forest Service maps are available at the Las Vegas Forest Service Office (425-3534).
The Shining Star Ranch (425-1072) offers llama treks into the wilderness for overnight and day excursions.
The Surprise Valley Ranch (425-8028) open May 1 through October 15 offers hiking, fishing, and other activities.
Biking the back roads of San Miguel County has become very popular, especially the challenging and beautiful roads between Santa Fe and Las Vegas and in Carson National Forest.
The Pecos Wilderness, accessed by foot or horseback, offers a wide variety of game.