After the winter season has melted away in lieu of warmer weather, the Sangre de Cristo mountains shed their blankets of snow for spring and summer greenery. That snow drizzles down the mountainsides and pools behind the Santa Cruz dam before joining the Gulf of Mexico. This abundance of melted snow has created the Santa Cruz Lake Recreation Area, a hidden oasis overflowing with outdoor activities. If you will be visiting Santa Fe soon, we highly recommend spending a fun-filled day at the lake!
Things to do at Santa Cruz Lake
For only $5 a day, you will have access to all of Santa Cruz Lake’s recreations. Whether you are looking to spend some time on the water or trek the mountains that surround it, the options you will discover here are sure to meet your desires.
Enjoy a leisurely ride with a scenic view! Boaters are requested to remain at a trolling speed while on the lake, which is perfect for a relaxing boat ride. It’s a grand opportunity to indulge in undisturbed alone time together or enjoy a family excursion.
Want to try roughing it for a night? The Overlook Campground at Santa Cruz Lake is located just above the top escarpment on the south end of the lake, so you can bet you’ll be surrounded by lovely lakefront views. Each campground provides picnic shelters, campfire rings, and grills. A night in Overlook is only $7 for one vehicle per night, making it an inexpensive way to experience New Mexican nature at its finest.
Wade in the Water
Although swimming is not allowed due to strong undercurrents, you can still enjoy Santa Cruz Lake close to shore! The cool water is invigoratingly refreshing during the warmer months and a great place to bring the kids or dogs for an afternoon of fun-in-the-sun.
4 hiking paths can be explored around the lake, including the La Caja Trail and Laguna Vista Trail. Be sure to bring your cameras along, as you’re sure to meet sweeping views along your hiking journey. Dogs are also allowed on the trails as long as they are kept on a leash.
Santa Cruz Lake is a favorite spot for many fishermen due to its relaxing atmosphere and calm waters. The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish also stocks the lake with a variety of trout throughout the year. That way you’ll always know your next big catch is lurking beneath the glittering surface. A New Mexico Fishing License and a Wildlife Habitat Improvement Validation or Stamp is required for fishing in Santa Cruz Lake. Each licensed fishermen is permitted to keep five fish for his/her own possession.
Fun Day at the Lake? Come Back and Relax at Casa Escondida
Located in a secluded, country setting, you’ll find our picturesque bed and breakfast inn. Adorned in traditional charm and luxurious amenities, Casa Escondida is the perfect option for those who want to experience the excitement of Santa Fe and Chimayo while “being away from it all.” Our charming rooms are both pet-friendly and Earth friendly, providing you with all the comforts you enjoy at home. Take a look at more New Mexico activities we recommend during your stay with us!
Photo Credit: Scott Slattery/Thinkstock