Monday, April 29, 2013

Campground Review: Elephant Butte Lake State Park

Elephant Butte Lake State Park is New Mexico's largest state park and reservoir. There are several campgrounds with water and electric hookups, marinas and all the dispersed (no hookups, no specific site; also known as boondocking) camping you could possibly want. All types of water sports are allowed on this reservoir.

The water level is very low due to a prolonged, severe drought in the region, so campgrounds that used to be  pretty close to the water are now a bit of a hike to the waters edge...but if you boondock you can camp right next to the water. Dispersed camping seems to be allowed anywhere in the state park. BUT...there is the danger of getting stuck in the sand when getting your RV down to the water! Extreme caution is advised!

We chose to camp with hookups and were glad we did because temps were in the 80's during our stay and it was nice to be able to use the AC in the afternoons.

All of the campgrounds have many very large sites that would fit any rig. We did notice that some of the super long pull through sites in the Quail Run campground were on a pretty good slant. The South Monticello campground is the most remote, being at the North end of the lake, but had huge sites and a nice view of the lake at the point where the Rio Grande river enters the lake. Each campground provides a shower/restroom facility.

We stayed in the Desert Cove campground in site #6. It is a perimeter site with a fire pit and picnic table ramada. Roads and sites are paved. Spacing of sites is excellent, especially the perimeter sites. We paid $14 per night. This campground was close to the towns of Elephant Butte and Truth or Consequences so we had fuel and restaurants within 2 miles and groceries within 5 miles.

Very quiet at night. Decent 3G Verizon signal. The campground has free wifi but we did not try it.

We hung our bird feeders and had excellent bird watching right at our site. At least a dozen different types of birds plus rabbits and squirrels visited the food and water.

This state park is supposed to get very, very busy on holidays (water in the desert draws everyone from near and far), 100,000 people can pack the place on a busy weekend. We did notice the campgrounds were almost full over the weekend and there were many more dispersed campers on the lake as well.

Our site #6 at Desert Cove.

We had a picnic table with ramada and fire pit.

View from our door, nothing but desert!
Ramada to the right, finch sock hanging from the tree on the left..

Our bird site: finch sock, seed feeder and a bowl of water.
Site #7 is in the background, it was occupied during the weekend only.

Boondocking at the lake.
Photo taken on got a lot more crowded on the weekend.

1 comment:

  1. It's surprising to me that people will drive over that much sand. The thought of sinking in to it would be ever present in my mind. Having that ramada is nice now that it's warming up.