Thirty miles north of Santa Fe, NM , the snow-fed waters of the Rio del Medio and the Rio Frijoles begin a 2,000-mile journey and a 7,000-foot descent to the Gulf of Mexico. For a time they gather at Santa Cruz Lake at the base of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains near Chimayo, behind the 125-foot Santa Cruz Dam.
Built in 1929 by the Santa Cruz Irrigation District, the dam is 535 feet across and 90 feet deep at the overflowing spillway. The lake covers 121 surface acres with water in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, providing recreational opportunities for anglers, picnickers, campers, and boat lovers alike. The scenic lake at base of Sangre de Cristo mountains offers boating, fishing, hiking and camping.
A fee station (self-service when unattended) is located at the entrance of the North Shore area, and a self-service pay station is located at the Overlook Campground.
- Day Use
North Shore & Overlook Areas: $5 per vehicle
- Annual Day Use Pass
$20 per vehicle; good for all Taos Field Office recreation areas (Santa Cruz Lake, Orilla Verde, Wild Rivers). This pass is good for 1 year from the date of purchase. Inquire at North Shore pay station or call Area Manager.
Overlook Campground: $7.00/night for one vehicle, $5.00/night for additional vehicles
2 vehicles max per site; 15 persons max per site
Annual day use passes are not applicable to overnight camping fees.
No reservations for day use sites (North Shore or Overlook)
No reservations for camp sites (Overlook)
- Open year-round (subject to change); NO ice fishing allowed.
- Fishing hours– 6a to 10pm. The North Shore is open for day use only.
- Boating during daylight hours ONLY.
- Beware, there are no lights on the shoreline; fishing after dark can be dangerous.
- Quiet Hours — 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. Noise levels on radios should be kept to a minimum to not disturb others.