El Vado Lake State Park


A winter shot of El Vado Lake State Park
A winter shot of El Vado Lake State Park
Fishing at El Vado Lake State Park

El Vado Lake offers about 3,200 surface acres of water. El Vado Lake State Park contains about 1,730 acres of land. The name comes from the town of El Vado, a bustling lumber and railroad center that was the largest town in Rio Arriba County... but is now at the bottom of the lake. El Vado Lake was created by a dam on the Rio Chama. There's a 5.5-mile hiking trail along the river that connects El Vado Lake State Park with Heron Lake State Park upstream. El Vado Lake is justly famous for its trout and kokanee salmon fishing. The area is also a major wintering spot for migratory raptors like bald eagles, osprey, water ouzels and red-tail hawks.

El Vado Lake State Park offers a visitor center, playground and 80 developed campsites, 19 of which have electric hookups. In the camping area there are also restrooms and showers. The park offers a centrally located RV dump station and a nice boat launch facility. For activities you'll find picnicking, fishing, sailing, boating, water skiing, hiking, wildlife watching and winter sports like snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.

The entry gate at El Vado Lake State Park is open 24 hours a day, every day of the year. To get there: just north of Tierra Amarilla on US Highway 84 go southwest on New Mexico Highway 112 to the park entrance.

El Vado Lake State Park
El Vado Lake State Park
Photos courtesy of New Mexico State Parks