What to do in Elephant Butte Lake State Park

Elephant Butte Reservoir, created by a dam constructed in 1916 across the Rio Grande, is 40 miles long with more than 200 miles of shoreline. The park's elevation is 4,500 feet, it covers 24,500 cares of land in addition to the lake. Although constructed to provide for irrigation and flood control, the lake is New Mexico's premier water recreation facility.

Park amenities include a visitor center, group shelter, marina, playground, restrooms, showers, 111 camping sites, some sites with electric hookup, restrooms and showers.

Although fossils of the stegomastodon (a primitive relative of today's elephant) have been discovered just west of the reservoir, the area was not named for its former and formidable inhabitants, the name "Elephant Butte" was derived from the eroded core of an ancient volcano, now an island in the reservoir, in the shape of an elephant.

Over 100 million years ago, the area was part of a vast shallow ocean. Once the sea receded, the area was the favorite hunting ground of the tyrannosaurus rex dinosaur. Evidence of the Rex, the largest land-dwelling predator of all time, and other species of dinosaur have been discovered in area rock formations.

A wide variety of water sports are available at the lake including waterskiing and sailing, with fishing being one of the most popular. Other activities include camping, picnicking, and hiking on trails.

Elephant Butte Lake is located in the south western region of the state. It lies off of I-25 just north of Truth or Consequences, NM.

The mild climate of the area make this park a popular year-round destination.

Annual precipitation is 9.12 inches. Summer temperatures range from lows around 66 to highs around 92. Winter temps range from lows of 30 to highs around 56.

P.O. Box 13
Elephant Butte, NM 87935

Phone: 505-744-5421

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  • Elephant Butte Lake State Park Travel Q&A