Brantley Lake State Park (Click Here for Park Page)

Description: 3,000-acre lake on the Pecos River 6,500 acres at flood pool. Brantley Dam is on the Pecos River at mile 478.5, about 13 miles upstream from the city of Carlsbad, New Mexico. It is about 10 miles upstream from the Avalon Dam in the Carlsbad Project and 25 miles downstream from Artesia.

The Brantley Project area extends about 16.5 miles above the damsite. The Pecos River watershed is in a semi-arid region. Average annual precipitation in the Pecos River Basin varies from about 10 inches near Pecos, Texas, to greater than 33 inches in the higher mountain elevations of northern New Mexico.

The project´s main purpose is to replace McMillan Dam, which was declared unsafe. Additional benefits include irrigation, flood control, fish and wildlife enhancement, and recreation.

    • Shoreline Miles: 31 miles due to numerous bays and inlets
    • Maximum Depth: 79.5 feet (full to dead storage)
    • Length (Total Arms): 6.5 miles at conservation pool 3,254.9'
    • Width: 1 mile
    • Recreation Pool Elevation:  3247.0
    • Normal Elevation:  3250.

Directions: About 14 miles north of Carlsbad.About 250 miles from Albuquerque 

From Albuquerque go East about 55 miles on I-40 to Exit 218.  Take US 285 southbound about 180 miles to Artesia, New Mexico. Go 21 miles south of Artesia via US 285 and then 4.5 miles northeast on Capitan Reef Road (new Eddy County Road 30 sign will be coming soon) to the main park entrance.

Maps: Printable park map         

GPS Coordinates at Park Office:    N 32 degrees  34.1929" W   104 degrees 21.2786"

Water Sports: Boating, swimming, waterskiing, jetskiing, sailing and fishing.

Conditions: Ramp and lake conditions

Excellent Boating   3,256 feet in elevation down to 3,250 feet in elevation

      42,127 acre-feet down to 25,722 acre-feet storage

      3,370+ surface acres down to 2,189 surface acres

Good Boating       3,249 feet in elevation down to 3,235 feet in elevation

      25,722 acre-feet down to 5,761 acre-feet storage

      2,189 surface acres down to 678 surface acres


Fair to Limited

Boating                3,234 feet in elevation down to 3,227 feet in elevation

      5,761 acre-feet down to 2,000 acre-feet storage

      678 surface acres down to 325 surface acres

Special Notice:

In November and December the Irrigation District typically lowers the lake to make water payments to Texas.  Check in those months with the rangers for any special boating considerations.


Boat Ramps: 2 – One on East side of lake, one on the West side of the lake.

East Side   

two (2) launching lanes

  • Below day Use Area (2 lanes concrete)
  • GPS  N32 33’39.5”  W104 23’15.4”
  • Top Elevation 3284.0         
  • Bottom Elevation 3220.0                        

West Side    

two (2) launching lanes

  • Off 285   (2 lanes concrete )
  • GPS  N32 32’26.9”    W104 23’32.0”   
  • Top Elevation 3270.0   
  • Bottom Elevation 3220.0  

Docks:   Two.  One courtesy dock on the east side and one courtesy dock and one fishing dock for the on the west side. Docks are adjacent to boat ramps.

  • One (1) 8’ x 60’ Meeco Dock on the east side with Trex flooring.
  • One (1) 8’ x 60’ Meeco Dock on the west side with Trex flooring.
  • One (1) 24’ x 32’ Meeco Fishing Dock with concrete decking.

Marinas/Rentals: None  

Wind Warning Lights: At the Seven Rivers Day Use Area

Prevailing Winds: SW    A reminder to boaters that Brantley Lake has a weather station where you can get the current temperature, wind speed, and wind direction. For wind and temperature conditions at Brantley Lake call 1-505-457- BOAT (2628) for the up to the minute report.

Fish Species: Warmwater Fishery.  Year-around fishing for Catfish, Largemouth bass, Crappie, White Bass, Walleye, Bluegill, Carp.


Special Boating Restrictions: None at present.  If lake levels drop below 3227.5' only 341 surface acres are available to boat and motor boating "no boating" could be issued due to numerous hazards on the lake.

Service for Vessels: Closest boat fuel is in Carlsbad. 30 mile round trip.

Recreation Areas Managed By: New Mexico State Parks

Lake Information (Land Status, Dam Operator): The State Park is located on leased land owned by BOR.  The Carlsbad Irrigation District is the water regulator managing the lake depth.

Formerly McMillan Dam and Reservoir  Rehabilitated in 1908, this zoned earthfill dam was 57 feet high and had a volume of 234,000 cubic yards. The reservoir capacity as built was 82,600 acre-feet but siltation had reduced the active capacity to about 33,600 acre-feet (based on survey of September 1964). The dam was located about 14 miles northwest of Carlsbad. When Reclamation completed Brantley Dam in 1991, Reclamation drained McMillan Reservoir and breached McMillan Dam.


Information: (505) 457-2384



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