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But while New Mexico might be perceived as dry, it offers up amazing opportunities for those looking to have some fun in the sun and water. In fact, these bodies of water may be the state’s best-kept secret! Take a read below for some exciting ideas on how best to enjoy New Mexico's lakes.
Elephant Butte Lake, located in southern New Mexico, is the state’s largest lake and most popular spot for enjoying the water. It offers up great swimming, waterskiing, boating and more. If you really want a New Mexico True experience, we recommend striper fishing. There are many professional fishing guides in the area that can ensure you get the most out of this experience.
Wakeboarding in New Mexico? Yes! Navajo Lake is located outside of Farmington, New Mexico and is the second largest lake in the state. It’s a great lake that has become a haven for boaters and swimmers, but has also become popular for wakeboarding and windsurfing, particularly in spring.
If adventure is your thing, this is an essential stop for you. Abiquiu Lake is in northern New Mexico just 61 miles north of Santa Fe. The lake sits at the base of Pedernal Peak and was featured in many of Georgia O’Keefe’s paintings. There is a 20-foot cliff, perfect for jumping. During the summer months you will find many other adventure-seekers perched on the cliff.
The second longest river system in the United States, the Rio Grande River is magnificent in and of itself. But to truly soak it in and appreciate it’s beauty, we recommend taking one of the whitewater rafting tours. If you are a thrill seeker opt for the more challenging Taos Box. The river’s other rafting section, the Racecourse, is easier and better suited for families or beginners. Both runs boast beautiful scenery and wildlife so you can’t go wrong.
The Gila River in western New Mexico is one of the few remaining undammed, free-flowing rivers in the United States and the only one in the state. With out of this world scenery, premier birding opportunities and clear water, this river is ideal for canoeing or kayaking.
El Vado Lake is located in New Mexico’s northern mountains. This is a popular spot for fishing, boating, tubing and skiing on the weekends. But, if you want a more quite way to enjoy this beautiful lake, we recommend finding one of the many secluded coves for swimming.
The Blue Hole has earned Santa Rosa, New Mexico the title of scuba diving capitol of the southwest. It’s a natural, bell-shaped pool that is 80 feet deep, has astonishing clarity and a constant water temperature of 61 degrees. It’s perfect for swimming and diving so don’t forget your gear.
Lea Lake is the only lake in the Bottomless Lakes State Park where swimming is permitted and is one of the most beautiful underappreciated lakes in New Mexico. With sandy “beaches,” turquoise water and quartz crystals, also-known-as Pecos Diamonds, Lea Lake is totally unique. But beware; waters can be chilly and deep. We recommend hitting this spot up in the summertime.
Hidden away, about an hour-and-a-half outside of Carlsbad, lies the majestic Sitting Bull Falls waterfall. Take one of the trails for a nice hike, run or bike and then cool off in the water with the beautiful falls in the background.