Fenton Lake State Park


Fenton Lake State Park in the Jemez Mountains
Fenton Lake State Park in the Jemez Mountains
Black bear at Fenton Lake State Park

Located at about 7,900 feet in elevation in the Jemez Mountains, Fenton Lake State Park contains 700 acres, of which 37 acres is lake surface. The property was originally bought by the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish but shortly thereafter became a popular state park. Fenton Lake State Park is open year round and even offers wheelchair-accessible fishing platforms for the folks who need them. For folks who don't there's a cross-country ski and biathlon trail available. The fishing is excellent but the place really comes alive when the migratory waterfowl fly in. You'll also probably see mule deer, muskrat, wild turkey and elk in the area. The bobcats and mountain lions are around but not so often seen.

Fenton Lake State Park offers visitors a Group Picnic Shelter, vault toilets, playground and 37 developed campsites (five of which have electric hookups) but there are no showers, flush toilets or RV dump stations. Boating is restricted to electric and paddle-craft only.

To get there: Fenton Lake State Park is about 33 miles into Santa Fe National Forest via New Mexico Road 4 from San Ysidro to La Cueva, then go west on NM 126 to Fenton Lake. NM 4 also comes from the east (Los Alamos and White Rock) to La Cueva, then follow NM 126. If you're coming from Cuba via NM 126, be prepared for some nasty volcanic ash deposits along the way: if it's wet out, you'll be in serious trouble. Most of these roads are part of the Jemez Mountain Trail Scenic Byway.

Photos courtesy of New Mexico State Parks