String of trout caught at El Vado reservoir on the Chama River, New Mexico 1950

Like so many other New Mexicans, I love going to the El Vado Lake State Park, or any other state park in New Mexico with water to keep cool especially in the hotter months. Playing around with family and friends is a past time longer than we have been around.

Located in New Mexico’s northern mountains, El Vado Lake State Park offers fishing, boating, camping, hiking, winter cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.

A 5.5-mile scenic trail along the Rio Chama connects El Vado with nearby Heron Lake. Quiet coves around the lake are great places to catch trout and kokanee salmon.

The lake and surrounding area are a major wintering ground for bald eagles and other birds.
Park Elevation 7,209 ft.

El Vado Lake 1945

Know Before You Go! The State Park has closed access to the remaining boat ramp and is prohibiting the use of motorized boats due to dropping water levels and safety concerns.

The lake is still open for non-motorized vessel use such as canoeing, paddle boards or kayaking. The boat ramp will be reopened to motorboats when lake level conditions improve. Please check the Park status before you go on New Mexico State Parks.com

A reservoir located in Rio Arriba County, tucked away in the northern mountains near Tierra Amarilla. The Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District completed the construction of the dam in 1935 to store irrigation water in order to honor Native American water rights of the six Middle Rio Grande Pueblos.

The dam was updated in 1953-1954 by the United States Bureau of Reclamation and the outlets were modified in 1965-1966 to accommodate increased flows associated with San Juan-Chama Project.

El Vado Lake 1925 – `1945??

In the early 1900s, El Vado was once a thriving and bustling logging town, but now lies at the bottom of the lake. It was northern Rio Arriba’s largest sawmill town.

El Vado and Heron Lake State Parks are connected by a 5.5-mile scenic trail along the Rнo Chama.

Enjoy camping, allows horseback riding, showers, group shelters, electrical hookups, restrooms, dump stations, boating/boat ramps, fishing, playground, trails, and R.V. pull through sites.

Make a reservation on the New Mexico State Parks reservation website.