The largest and most popular lake in New Mexico, Elephant Butte Lake State Park provides a setting for every imaginable water sport. The visitor center offers regional interpretive exhibits. The mild climate of the area makes this park a popular year-round destination.
The Park has four campgrounds including Desert Cove (17 campsites), Lion's Beach (48 campsites), Quail Run (27 campsites) and South Monticello (50 campsites).
Available at Elephant Butte State Park are camping facilities for the self-contained camper, and the camper needing electricity. There are picnic spots with grills and water located in several areas overlooking the lake. Four-wheel drives have access to the sandy beaches lining the shore. You will also find small portable restrooms in the beach areas. Drinking fountains, modern restrooms and showers are strategically placed throughout the main camping areas. Several parking loops for trailers and campers are located in the park with electricity available.
Elephant Butte Lake State Park Best Campsites: South Monticello 18, 19, 25, 26, and Lion's Beach 68 and 69
Elephant Butte Lake
P.O. BOX 13
Elephant Butte NM 87935
From I-25 South or North take exit 83, turn onto NM State Rd 195 South. North bound traffic goes 4.2 miles and turns left off 195 to the Visitor Center. South bound traffic goes 4.6 miles and turns left off of 195 to the Visitor Center. After the Visitor Center go right to the end of the boat parking lot.
Elephant Butte Reservoir, created by a dam constructed in 1916 across the Rio Grande, is 40 miles long with more than 200 miles of shoreline. Although constructed to provide for irrigation and flood control, the lake is New Mexico's premier water recreation facility. A wide variety of water sports are available at the lake, with fishing being one of the most popular. Sailing, water skiing, and boating are also available. The mild climate of the area makes this park a popular year-round destination. The Dam Site Recreation area is the site of a 1930s Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camp, and the buildings and rock work dating from that period are still in use.
The name "Elephant Butte" was derived from the eroded core of an ancient volcano, now an island in the reservoir, in the shape of an elephant. Elephant Butte Reservoir, created by a dam constructed in 1916 across the Rio Grande, is 40 miles long with more than 200 miles of shoreline. Although constructed to provide for irrigation and flood control, the lake is New Mexico's premier water recreation facility.
Over 100 million years ago, the area was part of a vast shallow ocean. Once the sea receded, the area was the favorite hunting ground of the tyrannosaurus rex dinosaur. Evidence of the Rex, the largest land-dwelling predator of all time, and other species of dinosaur have been discovered in area rock formations.