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Camping at El Vado Lake

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Location and Access

El Vado Lake is located in Rio Arriba County in northern New Mexico, United States. It's situated at over 6,500 feet in elevation and can be accessed from NM State Road 112. The lake is part of the El Vado Lake State Park, which encompasses a significant area around the lake itself, providing various recreational opportunities.

Camping Facilities

El Vado Lake State Park offers numerous camping opportunities including:

  • Developed campsites with amenities such as restrooms, showers, and picnic tables.
  • Primitive and dispersed camping areas for those seeking a more rustic experience.
  • RV sites with utility hookups in designated areas.

It is advisable to check the latest information regarding facility availability and any reservation requirements before planning a camping trip.


Outdoor Activities at El Vado Lake include:

  • Boating: There's a boat ramp available for launching watercraft. The lake is known for motor boating, sailing, canoeing, kayaking, and even windsurfing.
  • Fishing: El Vado Lake is a popular spot for fishing, known for trout and warm-water fish such as bass and pike.
  • Hiking: There are trails around the lake, as well as connections to larger trail networks in the region.
  • Wildlife Viewing: The park is a great place to observe a variety of wildlife in their natural habitat.
  • Winter Sports: In the colder months, activities shift to include ice fishing and cross-country skiing.

Park Regulations

Rules and Regulations should always be followed to ensure the preservation of the wildlife and natural beauty of the area:

  • A valid New Mexico fishing license is required for anyone engaging in fishing at the lake.
  • Campfires may be restricted or prohibited based on current fire danger levels.
  • All park visitors must adhere to the Leave No Trace principles to minimize their impact on the natural environment.
  • Pets must be kept on a leash.
  • Quiet hours are typically enforced to ensure a peaceful camping experience for everyone.

Reservations and Fees

Camping Reservations and Fees may be applicable for camping at El Vado Lake. Facilities can be reserved online or by phone through the New Mexico State Parks reservation system. There are fees for day use, camping, and other activities, which may vary depending on the type of campsite and amenities provided.

Safety and Preparedness

For a safe camping experience at El Vado Lake State Park, consider the following:

  • Weather can change rapidly, so prepare for a range of conditions especially given the lake's higher elevation.
  • Bring adequate supplies, including water, food, and a first-aid kit.
  • Know your own limits when engaging in outdoor activities to avoid injuries.
  • Watch for local wildlife and maintain a respectful distance.

Before you embark on your camping trip, it's a good idea to contact the park directly for the most current information on conditions, closures, and other guidance specific to El Vado Lake State Park.

Map of Campgrounds in El Vado Lake
Campgrounds in El Vado Lake
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