Camping at Santa Rosa Lake State Park


As we headed towards New Mexico, we had no idea how many miles we would make in a day. We like being free to stop and see things that catch our eye, so we rarely make campground reservations ahead of time. We crossed Texas and into New Mexico with no plan other than “We’ll stop at a state park somewhere for the night.” Our first thought was Ute Lake State Park, but once we looked at how far it was off our route we decided to head further west to Santa Rosa Lake State Park.  First our GPS had tried to take us down a narrow, dirt, county road. We stopped and looked at the map, and saw that the road  did go toward the lake itself, but not necessarily toward  the state park on the lakeshore. We pulled up the satellite view of the region, and couldn’t see any obvious  roads to get over to the park from the county road, so we decided to turn around and go back to the paved road. The Google maps directions to the park were much better than the GPS tried to send us down! then, the first set of gates we passed through said Santa Rosa Lake, but read Corps of Engineers, not State Park. We realized that a Corps of Engineers campground would do just as well, so long as they were actually open, so we kept going.  We drove down winding roads past administration buildings, and the visitor center and an observation point. Finally we started seeing signs for the campground, and when we got there it turns out it was the state park!


We arrived well after dark, which is not at all unusual for us for an overnight stop on a travel day. The campground was not full, but neither was it empty, probably because we happen to be there on a Friday night. It was, however, quiet, both during the night and the next morning. we awoke early because of the time change, but didn’t get on the road very early. We took the morning to take care of some housekeeping, take showers, and do some lessons. Then we hit the road right after lunch. We would definitely stop here again when traveling along I-40!

If You Go to Santa Rosa Lake State Park

Rates for a campsite with an electric hook-up were $14 per night. A self pay station is available at the entrance to the campground. There’s a bathhouse with flush toilets and showers, although in the words of my children, the showers were “temperamental,” fluctuating between hotter and colder. The men’s and women’s bath houses were clean and each had  2 shower stalls, and 2-4 toilets. 

Each campsite features a barbecue grill and a picnic table, some with shade ramadas.  There were both pull-through and back-in sites. My children especially enjoyed the small play area adjacent to the bathhouse. The ones who were waiting to take a shower were able to blow off some steam in the meantime.