New Mexico State Park: Santa Rosa Lake State Park
This post is part of the New Mexico State Park Series
In This Blog: Santa Rosa State Park (Santa Rosa, NM)
As a native Albuquerquean my mom and dad took my sibs and I to Santa Rosa Lake State Park at least once a summer. As an adult I’ve been to Santa Rosa, NM quite frequently. As people may or may not know I am a true dog lover and work with several rescue groups. Santa Rosa is a convenient stop for transporting dogs cross country. I have made the 1.75 hour trip to help transport dogs (and occasionally a cat) quite frequently. One of those trips sparked my memories of going to Santa Rosa Lake and Blue Hole as a child and made me add Santa Rosa State Park to our up next list.
Santa Rosa, NM has the famous, very cold, very deep, Blue Hole Lake. People from all over the southwest go there to get their scuba diving certification. When you visit you will be sure to see scuba divers. There are cliffs you can jump or dive from which is quite fun. If you aren’t wearing a wet suit, be prepared for the shock of the cold. The first time I dove in as an adult the unexpected cold took my breath away and it was a bit scary.
Santa Rosa also has another lake in the city that is adjacent to Blue Hole called City Lake. There is a diving board, a water slide, swim beaches and swimming and you can rent stand up paddle boards, pedal boats and kayaks. There is also the WIBIT Water Playground which is great fun (dogs are not supposed to go in the water). As an adult I have taken several of my younger family members there for fun day trips. The teen, R and I have gone on a couple of overnight trips to Santa Rosa to spend the day at the WIBIT playground and then spend the night at a motel. Most times we go to Santa Rosa we stop at Santa Rosa State Park on the way home for a picnic and some fun in the lake.
Santa Rosa Lake State Park has two different camping loops. Juniper loop is closer to the lake and was quite lovely, but it didn’t have electricity or water. We camped at Rocky Point loop which had electricity. Some of the sites had water but we chose one that did not have water. The sites were all nice, flat and even and well-marked so we could find our spot. R got one for us that was a pull through but the back in sites were large and easy to back in to. There was a lovely little play-ground area with a rope maze and climbing structures, and there were flush toilets, sinks, and showers. The bathrooms were clean and well maintained. The showers were not as private as I like, having just a stall and a curtain and R said that there was no hot water. There was no cell phone reception for any of our three providers. There was a wi-fi hot spot that you could use for 30 minutes for free each and then pay for. We weren’t sure how much it costs. Since R works from the road quite frequently one of the first, and most helpful, purchases that R made was a WIFI booster and we were able to use it. The state park was at the end of the road and there was no traffic sound at all, it was amazingly quiet and peaceful. There were, however, cows near us and we could hear them mooing occasionally. It was cloudy both nights while I was awake so I can only imagine the star gazing was lovely.
The lake was very, very low this year. There are boat ramps but there were numerous signs stating that no motorized vehicles could be in the lake this year. The water, however, was warm and lovely and there were people aplenty out swimming, fishing, and enjoying the beaches. One of my favorite parts of this trip were all the different kinds of birds and animal life I saw. There were raptors galore, soaring above the lake. I couldn’t quite make out what kind they were but they were beautiful and plentiful.
On this venture out the weather was so lovely, I couldn’t resist taking Evil Ellie and Lulu for some hikes. I found one trail, while geocaching, that was wheelchair accessible, completely paved and not steep at all. I didn’t think it was going to be anything to write home about, but the scenery was beautiful and I was very impressed. The sign said it was a ¾ mile long loop. I also went on the Scenic Shore trail that started and ended right at Rocky Point Loop Campground B. I was only going to walk down to the lake and back, not do the whole loop (as you know from previous posts, I do like to hike but nothing too vigorous). However, Evil Ellie, Lulu and I encountered a very large rattle snake with a lot of rattles on its tail. Luckily, we didn’t hear the rattles till we were past, Ellie tried to sniff it a bit but she ran off before it bit any of us. Anyway, I didn’t want to pass that rattler again so we went on the whole 2.5 mile loop. I was glad we did; it was quite beautiful and scenic. Unfortunately, I forgot my phone so I couldn’t take any photos (or call for help if we needed it… no service anyway) and I didn’t take water.
All in all, Santa Rosa Lake State Park was lovely, had lovely campground and facilities, the camp hosts were very nice, and we plan on returning.
Evanskins’ on the Road BBQ sandwiches:
… that are super easy to use in the RV
- 4 chicken breasts
- Salt (optional)
- Barbecue sauce (store bought or homemade)
- Hamburger Buns
- Dill pickle slices
- Other toppings you might like
Before you leave for your trip boil the chicken breasts in a pot of heavily salted water. I use a digital thermometer and boil them till they are 165°. Put in a zip top bag and pack in your RV fridge or an ice chest.
1. Heat the boiled chicken breasts up on a charcoal grill till they are warm and have flavor.
2. Put them in a bowl or on a plate and use forks to shred the meat, it should be nice and tender. Season with salt if you desire.
3. Add Barbecue sauce and stir the chicken. Add how ever much sauce you feel is enough.
Optional: Toast the buns (I use these toasters, they work for tent camping as well)
4. Put the chicken on the buns, top with pickles or whatever other toppings you want and enjoy.
Camping at NM state parks costs $10/night, $14/night with electricity. But with the annual camping pass, you camp for free or for $4 with electricity hookup. R’s family got us one for her birthday this year and we are using it to death!
Bring water on hikes (duh). No – seriously.
Don’t go for even short hikes without water, a cell phone (GPS can still find you if you get lost), telling someone where you are going and your expected return time. I did none of these things, ran into the snake, so I couldn’t go back the way I came. R was annoyed with me, and I did get quite scared. I had visions of Survivor Man and Dual Survival running through my mind.
I keep a “hiking backpack” that has a small first aid kit, emergency snacks, flashlight, emergency blanket, bug spray, sun screen, lighter and water proof matches, water bottles and dog bowls in my vehicle and the RV. That way when I go for an outing I can easily grab it and go without forgetting anything.
So don’t be a dumbass – bring water & stuff when going for a “short walk.”