Of the nearly 5,500 State Parks spread throughout the United States, Sugarite Lake State Park was chosen as one of an elite list of “Top 10 State Parks” in the country by the National Association of State Park Directors (NASPD), which is profiled in Camping Life magazine. Located on the Colorado border, Sugarite Canyon State Park features heavily wooded mountains and meadows painted with wildflowers and butterflies. Visitors can fish and boat (electric motors only), observe the plentiful wildlife, hike scenic trails, cross-country ski, camp and picnic.
Sugarite Canyon State Park has two campgrounds – Lake Alice with 16 sites and Soda Pocket with 25. There are both primitive and developed camp sites. Primitive sites are $8 per night. Developed campsites are $10 with fees added on for electric and sewage hook ups.
Visitors can fish and boat (electric motors only), observe the plentiful wildlife, hike scenic trails, cross-country ski, camp, and picnic.
Sugarite Canyon State Park Best Campsites: Soda Pocket #16.
HCR 63 BOX 386
Raton NM 87740
To get to Sugarite Canyon State Park, take I-25 exit 452 at Raton, follow N.M. 72 east for 3.5 miles and go north on N.M. 526 for about two miles to the visitor center.
Located on the Colorado border, Sugarite Canyon State Park features heavily wooded mountains and meadows painted with wildflowers.
The Coal Camp Interpretive Trail winds through the ruins of the Sugarite coal camp. Coal mining in the area provided an important economic boost to the region and state. The visitor center provides information about the coal camp and the area's history.
An extended cliff of basaltic rock columns, often referred to as "caprock," is the dominant geologic feature at the park. About 12 million years ago, broad sheets of molten lava erupted from a nearby volcano, forming layers of basalt rock 10-100 feet thick. Rock climbing is allowed on the caprock.
For water related sports, Sugarite Canyon's two lakes–Alice Lake and Lake Moyola– are the places to be. Kayakers and canoe enthusiasts are Lake Moyola fans, while Alice Lake is a fly fisherman's dream.
Along with the lakes, the park's terrain provides majestic visuals and opportunities for exercise. Caprock–columns of basaltic rock along the mountain cliffs provide a surface for climbers to climb and the various trails throughout the thick wooded forests give bikers and hikers hours of options for seeing what's past the horizon.
Whether one bikes, hikes, fishes or spends time on a boat, Sugarite Canyon is a place to keep one's eyes open. Cottontails, short-tailed weasels, bald eagles and porcupines are a few of the critters that make this home.
Closest town: Raton, New Mexico is about six miles away. Although it's not a large town, there are a few lodging options, most in the budget range. I drove through Raton on our way back to Albuquerque from Durango, Colorado last summer and wished we had more time to spend there.