Santa Rosa Lake State Park (Click Here for Park Page)

Jet Skiing is popular (photo courtesy USCG)

Description: Uncrowded 3,500-acre lake on the Pecos River. Excellent water conditions enables one to travel up into the canyon of the Pecos River.  Water typically is comfortable for water sports throughout the season.  Several interesting islands.  When good boating conditions exist, the average depth of the lake is about 30-40 feet.  Length of the lake is 4 miles long and the width is at the greatest about 3 miles.

The three northern arms including the western Pecos River Canyon are excellent birding habitat and well suited for kayak paddlers.

Directions: North of Santa Rosa and I-40.  The project is 117 miles east of Albuquerque via Interstate 40, 66 miles southeast of Las Vegas, NM, 58 miles west of Tucumcari and 171 miles west of Amarillo, TX.]

From Albuquerque travel 110 miles on I-40 East to Exit 273. Take the exit and continue into town till the signs for State Route 91. Turn left and go through a few neighborhoods and continue seven miles north of the town  to the Dam and Park Entrance.

Map: Printable park map          

GPS Coordinates for Park Office:    Latitude = 35.0310, Longitude = -104.6960 Lat    = 35 degrees,   1.9 minutes   North Long = 104 degrees,   41.8 minutes   West

Water Sports: Boating, swimming, waterskiing, jetskiing, windsurfing, scuba diving and fishing.

Paddlecraft will find interesting fishing and birding up the Pecos River Canyon and up the north arm of the lake.

This is about an 8 mile plus round trip.

Start your trip from the drive up launch area on the south shore of the lake east of the main boat ramp.  Latitude = 35.0328, Longitude = -104.6803 Lat    = 35 degrees,   2.0 minutes   North Long = 104 degrees,   40.8 minutes   West  

Go across to the "Narrows" and move along the western side of the channel for cliff swallow and maybe an owl views.  Turn to the east to round the penninsula formed by the Lake and the Pecos River Latitude = 35.0570, Longitude = -104.6736 Lat    = 35 degrees,   3.4 minutes   North Long = 104 degrees,   40.4 minutes   West

Heading up the Pecos river canyon is exciting and can be depending on the season relatively insect free.  Bring your sunscreen and your insect repellant.  Latitude = 35.0667, Longitude = -104.6852 Lat    = 35 degrees,   4.0 minutes   North Long = 104 degrees,   41.1 minutes   West

Conditions: Ramp and lake conditions


Excellent Motor Boating          

    4,743.78 feet in elevation down to 4,731 feet in elevation

    92.679 acre-feet down to 54,611 acre-feet storage

    3,544 surface acres down to 2,427 surface acres


Good Motor Boating       


    4,731 feet in elevation down to 4,712 feet in elevation

    54,611 acre-feet down to 20,749 acre-feet storage

    2,427 surface acres down to 1,178 surface acres


Fair Motor Boating                  

    4,712 feet in elevation down to 4,699 feet in elevation

    20,749 acre-feet down to 9,061 acre-feet storage

    1,178 surface acres down to 618 surface acres

Ramps: 1

  • One (1) concrete ramp located adjacent to Juniper Park Camping Area with four (4) launching lanes.                                                   Top elevation 4,761 Ft. Bottom elevation 4,691 Ft.
  • The construction of the ramp itself is reinforced concrete and is textured for traction. There are 4 launching lanes each 14 feet wide and striped to facilitate orientation. There is 2.5 feet of run for every foot of drop on the ramp, which makes it one of the steepest in the State. There is currently one courtesy dock located to the side of the boat ramp, which serves exclusively for loading and unloading. A maximum of 5 boats can use this dock at any given time. The boat ramp is in good condition as well as the courtesy dock. Future upgrades include installing a handicap fishing dock, replacing the existing courtesy dock with a larger capacity dock and creating a
    22' parking lane adjacent to the boat ramp for the Boat Enforcement Officer to facilitate emergency response.


  • One (1) 8’ x 30’ Meeco Courtesy Dock located in a cove adjacent to the Juniper Park Camping Area.
  • One (1) 8' x 60' Meeco Courtesy Dock located adjacent to the Boat Ramp. No Fishing is allowed off this dock.

Ten minute tie up limits on these docks.  No Fishing from these docks.


Marinas/Rentals: None

Prevailing Winds: From the west. 

Wind Warning Lights: One off of Rocky Point.

Fish Species: Warmwater Fishery.  Large and Smallmouth Bass, Catfish, Bluegill, Crappie and Walleye. Optimum Fishing at 4,712 Ft. water elevation. When water levels are up and early in the season in late May and early June, the Pecos River Canyon accessed from the northern end of the lake will be full of birds and early insect hatches. A day trip of Kayak Fishing drifting with the current and placing flies by the reeds normally will produce a good catch.

Special Boating Restrictions: None.  Boat ramp becomes unusable at 4,699 Ft.

Special Boating Considerations: Many old ghost trees and brush line the sides of the lake making watersports activities with hazards at certain water levels. Particularly hazardous areas for and at north end of the lake by the entrance to the Pecos River Canyon.

The open eastern side of the lake south of the islands is generally more suited for watersports.

Watch for paddlecraft sharing the west side Narrows.  Remember you are responsible for maintaining a "No Wake" speed within 150' of any kayak or canoe or other non-motorized craft. Due to space limitations for emergency turns in the west side Narrows it is not recommended for water skiing and wakeboarding or tubing.

PWC and other boat operators should be aware that the narrow, shallow waters of the Pecos Canyon and the far northern arm and northeast arms are wildlife areas and that riding at above a "No Wake" speed is considered "Reckless Operation" due to wildlife disturbance.  Idle speed only in this area.

Shoreline areas below the main campgrounds and dock areas are all posted for "No Wake" speeds. 


Servicing Boats:  No gasoline facililties on site.  14 mile round trip to Santa Rosa for fueling.

Recreation Areas Managed By: New Mexico State Parks.  Very Limited Primitive Camping off shorelines but there is a great campground.

Land and Operation Information:  Water operations controlled by US Army Corps of Engineers.

Information: (505) 472-3110

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