13 Best Pontoon Boating Lakes in New Mexico

Here are some of the best boating lakes in New Mexico


1. Elephant Butte

By all standards, Elephant Butte is the most exciting place to be for boat lovers in this region. This is the largest lake in the state and is located in the extreme Southern region of New Mexico. It attracts both locals and visitors for a host of activities such as swimming, waterskiing, and boating among many other activities. Striper fishing is the real and most awesome experience here. We recommend this activity as the truest New Mexican experience at a lake. To help you get the best experience, there are many professional fishing guides for hire.

Fishing fanatics flock this place all year round. Apart from the professionals to guide you, there are vacation rentals in the nearby towns of Elephant Butte and Truth. These towns have the rustic, country-style atmosphere that complements with the background of the lake. If you want time out from your busy high life and congested city streets, this place takes you back in time. Not to worry; you will be entertained with hot springs and spas in the minimalistic town too.


2. Fenton Lake

The Fenton Lake has a unique location. With a background of the Jemez Mountain peaks, this lake has the best sightseeing opportunities for its visitors in the state. Beware that the waters are very cold. In fact, there are no swimmers here because the temperatures do not favor the activity. It is the perfect spot for quiet and peaceful fishing. The peaceful mountain environment offers a refreshing background to enjoy your free time fishing.

Only non-motorized boats and small crafts equipped with electric trolling motors can take to the waters. This helps to minimize noise and destructions to your fishing expedition. Since it is only a short drive from the noisy town of Jemez Springs, you can always find supplies here. The town offers a wide variety of opportunities from bohemian bars to family-friendly cafes. You can also camp in quiet cabins tucked away in the mountains outside town for a perfect rustic vacation rental.


3. Santa Rose Lake

This is not the only lake in Santa Rosa, but it sure is the most popular because it has the widest variety of activities. You will be meeting people with all sorts of activities from paddle-boarding to waterskiing and swimming, but it is fishing that carries the day here. The surrounding environment is perfect for hiking, and bird watching. The nearest town has the vintage charm with epic designs of old-fashioned designs on buildings. It is like a large historical museum. The environment is welcoming and is a great place to spend time with your family or friends. Plenty of conservative restaurants here make it the perfect place for summer vacation. Your kids will enjoy playing on the floating playground in Park Lake.


4. Quemado Lake

This lake is strategic in the Gila National Forest. It has the widest variety of outdoor activities for its visitors who come in groups. You will be in the home of a huge heard of elk too. Quemado Lake attracts many animals apart from the elk. Trout is available all seasons all year round. Apart from the trout, you may also catch some catfish, and small-mouth bass. Boaters have the most preferences because there are many facilities and equipment for hire here. Rental equipment and a public fish preparation point reveal that a place is a favorite place for boaters.

Quemado is the closest town to this lake. It is named after the Lake and has limited amenities. This means you will be deep into the rural countryside with only the basic needs. There is, however, a grocery store for some supplies. You can make your own food of roast or fried fish for your vacation meal.


5. Cochiti Lake

Cochiti Lake is close to the city for those who want quick access to big city amenities and resources. Plan your trip if you want to retain the commodities of urban life while having your time out in the expansive exterior. It is only 45 minutes-drive from Albuquerque, and 30 minutes from Santa Fe making it the most accessible. If you prefer a laid-back atmosphere, you can choose the conservative neighboring towns of Pena Blanca.

This lake has a beautiful swim beach, no-wake boating, windsurfing, and fishing, and hiking in the surrounding park.


Abiquiu Lake

Brantley Lake

Cochiti Lake

Ute Lake

Caballo Lake

Conchas Lake

El Vado Lake

Navajo Lake


There are not may be many naturally occurring bodies of water in New Mexico as you would expect in a high desert. There are, however, amazing opportunities to enjoy here as well. If you want to have fun in the sun and water, New Mexico is the place to be. Although they are manmade, they are well maintained and are the state’s best-kept secret. Since they are not known, they are not overused or crowded.

The scorching desert sun and tumbleweeds blowing in the dry winds is not all there is to experience here. Admittedly, you will experience this tough and boring conditions, but this southwestern state also has fun activities to offer its visitors.

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