Home » 2002 Cross Country Road Trip

Santa Rosa Lake State Park, NM

Sunday, August 11, 2002 - 11:00am by Lolo
200 miles and 4 hours from our last stop - 1 night stay


As we drove along I-40 across New Mexico, I began my daily search for a campground facility that would provide the most overall happiness for the family--not always a simple task since we often have different criteria. Herb always wants a natural setting with great views for his well-deserved cocktail after a hard day of driving, the kids want amusement of some sort, whether it be natural or man-made, and I want a place that will keep everyone from complaining.

Our first inclination was to find a commercial campground with a pool so that the kids could burn off some pent-up energy and have fun. With that intention in mind, we pulled in the one that was rated pretty good in the campground guide. It was flat, open, and so windy that you could barely see through the swirls of dust. We just couldn't do it. There had to be something better than this. Tommy was mad because he really wanted to swim and thought that the pool--that you could barely see through the dust clouds--looked like fun. He was overruled and we continued on to Santa Rosa Lake State Park, which had a lake to swim in according to the campground guide. This way everyone would be happy. Herb would have his view and the kids could swim.

It's very difficult to get a true sense of a place from the campground guides. Although Santa Rosa Lake State Park had a campground and a 3,800-acre lake, the campground was situated way up on a hill overlooking the lake, which was about a mile away. It was close to dinner time, we were tired from driving, and there was just no easy access from the campground to the lake. Tom pouted over our decision to leave the campground with the pool, but that's the way it goes.

It was extremely windy, so Andrew tried to make the best of it by creating a new sport--wind skateboarding. He took a large beach towel, placed one end of it under his foot on the board, held the other end high over his head, and tried to sail. Even though he didn't go too fast, it got Tommy out of his bad mood and family harmony was resumed.


Santa Rosa Lake State Park is located in eastern New Mexico, about 7 miles north of I-40. The focal point of the park is the very pretty 3,800-acre reservoir, which is surrounded by rocky hills covered in juniper and pinion trees. The reservoir was created from the Pecos River for the purpose of flood control and irrigation.

Today the reservoir is very popular for fishing (bass, walleye, channel catfish, and crappies), boating, water skiing, windsurfing, canoeing, and bird watching (bald eagles, falcons, and osprey). Swimming is also popular although there are no designated swimming areas or sandy beaches along its rocky shoreline.

Facilities include a 76-site campground with some electrical hookups, picnic areas, boat ramps, and hiking trails.

Santa Rosa Lake State Park location map in "high definition"

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