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boats on the lake at Elephant Butte Lake State Park

New Mexico’s largest state park, Elephant Butte Lake State Park, surrounds its largest body of water only 92 miles east of Silver City. This popular area, located within Sierra County, also features sandy beaches, 15 miles of multi-use trails, and 3 Marinas.

Guests enjoy swimming, scuba diving, paddling, sailing, fishing, camping, picnicking, bird watching, hiking, mountain biking, and more inside this serene New Mexico state park.


Elephant Butte Lake State Park is worth a visit any time of the year, but especially during some of the warmer months. During those times the lake’s water will feel refreshing after a hike through the park.

You’ll discover plenty to do and see here, whether you visit for the day or stay for a few nights in one of the serene camping areas. Take a hike (or bike ride) through the park, check out the historic area, and have a relaxing lunch in one of the scenic picnic areas. The park’s amenities also include a playground, volleyball court, a meeting room, and restrooms.

RV parked in a camp site by the water at Elephant Butte Lake State Park

The Historic District, located near the dam in the Damsite Recreation Area, showcases original structures created by members of the Civilian Conservation Corps during the 1930s. The park also offers educational programs that include area history as well as its flora and fauna.

Here are some of the activities that you can do during your visit to Elephant Butte State Park:

Boating at Elephant Butte Lake State Park

Spend an exhilarating day out on Elephant Butte Lake. This expansive lake is open to guests with a variety of motorized and non-motorized boats, such as canoes, kayaks, paddle boards, jet skis, pontoons, sailboats, and cruisers.

Docks, ramps, and boat slips are available at each of the nearby Marinas. Marina del Sur also carries pontoon boat rentals and slide boat rentals. It’s very important that guests remember to wear their life jackets and observe safe boating practices.

the marina at Elephant Butte Lake State Park

Swimming at Elephant Butte Lake State Park

Swim, float, scuba dive and more in the largest lake in New Mexico! Elephant Butte Lake offers guests a perfect escape from the heat and a large sandy beach area to relax on.

Remember to pack your swimsuit, towel, and a picnic lunch and head over to Elephant Butte Lake State Park for a refreshing dip!

Hiking at Elephant Butte Lake State Park

Elephant Butte Lake State Park features an easy to moderate 15 mile multi-use trail for hikers, joggers, and mountain bike riders. This trail, the West Lakeshore Trail, winds throughout the park from the desert hills above the lake and along past the various camping areas. Its pathway is mostly gravel with a few uneven areas and sections of deep sand.

Fishing at Elephant Butte Lake State Park

Fish for bass, catfish, crappie, and walleye in New Mexico’s largest body of water! An accessible fishing pier on Elephant Butte Lake provides an ideal spot to do just that.

If you’re interested in fishing during your visit to Elephant Butte Lake State Park, be sure to pick up a New Mexico fishing license ahead of time.

picture of the butte at Elephant Butte Lake State Park

Hunting at Elephant Butte Lake State Park

In season guests with the appropriate gear and a New Mexico hunting license may hunt for mule deer, and waterbirds such as ducks and geese. For more information contact the park.

Birding at Elephant Butte Lake State Park

While exploring the nature trails inside Elephant Butte Lake State Park take the time to stop and observe the local flora and fauna through the various wildlife viewing blinds. These blinds are also located in other areas of the park.

Large Elephant Butte Lake attracts many species of waterbirds and shorebirds, especially between September and May. Here you may see ducks, terns, loons, gulls, pelicans, and grebes.

Nature and Wildlife at Elephant Butte Lake State Park

Elephant Butte Lake State Park’s extensive landscape of grass, shrubs, seasonal wildflowers and its large lake provide a refuge for many species of wildlife.

While visiting this serene area keep an eye open for many species of birds, butterflies, snakes, lizards, chipmunks, deer, and rabbits. You may also get a chance to observe a bobcat, mountain lion, coyote, elk, or even a moose.


Well behaved pets are allowed at Elephant Butte Lake State Park as long as they are leashed and supervised.


Elephant Butte Lake State Park features a series of developed campsites, primitive campsites, and group campsites scattered throughout the park, many not far from the lake.

The developed campground features 144 campsites with water and electric hook-ups and another 8 campsites with water, electric, and sewer connections.

These campsites accommodate tents, trailers, or RVs. All campsites have a picnic table, grill, and a fire ring, and are located near restrooms and showers. A dump station is also located within the campground.

The primitive camping area is located along the beach.

Park Location

Elephant Butte Lake State Park
101 NM-195
Elephant Butte, NM 87935
Phone: 575.744.5923

Park Website



Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at Elephant Lake Butte State Park: