Activities at Elephant Butte

If you like wake boarding, camping, fishing, boating, or just being outdoors, Elephant Butte is for you. There is plenty of water and plenty of beach room: 36,500 acres of land and 24,500 acres of water, making it New Mexico's largest State Park.

Late May through early October is the prime season for playing in the water with water temperatures usually in the 70's to low 80's. Although most visitors wouldn't want to play in the water during winter months because of lower temperatures, the lake is still a great place to visit for scenery / wildlife viewing and popular events.


Elephant Butte Lake can accommodate watercraft of many styles and sizes: kayaks, jet skis, pontoons, sailboats, ski boats, cruisers, and houseboats.


In the cool, crisp, morning air before the sun has risen, fishing enthusiasts are launching powerful fishing boats and unveiling sophisticated tackle in preparation to seek that trophy catch. Fishing at Elephant Butte Lake isn't only for the extreme sportsman, however. Many individuals enjoy the day relaxing under the sun and taking in the beautiful scenery. Some fish that can be found in the lake (game fish and otherwise) are:

  • Black bass (largemouth & smallmouth)
  • White bass
  • Striper
  • Crappie
  • Perch
  • Walleye
  • Catfish
  • Sunfish
  • Bluegill
  • Carp

Elephant Butte claims several State records:

Striped Bass: 54 lb. 8 oz. -45"
Flathead Catfish 78. 0 oz. -47 1/2"
Blue Catfish 52 lb. 1/4 oz. -43 1/2"
Green Sunfish 1 lb. 6 oz. -13"
Longear Sunfish 1 lb. 12 oz. -10 1/2"

Hiking & Camping

Besides sandy beaches, the State Park offers restrooms, picnic areas, playgrounds, and developed sites with electric and water hook-ups for RV's. Details about the park facilities can be found at the official State Park's website: Elephant Butte Lake State Park (opens new window).

There are some developed desert trails, however, much of the hiking available comes in the form of exploring the rugged terrain.