your paddlesports destination

Clayton Lake in New Mexico

Trip Overview

Clayton Lake is a beautiful high plains 176-acre lake. It has two miles of shoreline with a depth of about 45' along the old riverbed. The longest arm of the lake is about 1/2 mile. Motorized boating allowed at Trolling speed only, but is closed for motorized boating from November to the beginning of March.

Windsurfing, fishing (allowed March 1October 31) flat water kayaking and canoeing are other popular water activities on Clayton. The lake is very shallow by the lake inlet, and Summer months have lots of moss.

Excellent Boating:
5,177 feet in elevation down to 5,144 feet in elevation
(4,007 acre-feet down to 701 acre-feet storage)
175 surface acres down to 50 surface acres

Good Boating:
5,144 Ft. Elevation down to 5,126 Ft. in elevation
(701 acre-feet down to 74 acre-feet in storage)
50 surface acres down to 15 surface acres

  • 1 Ramp: concrete ramp with 2 launching lanes 309x30.
  • 3 Docks: One by the boat ramp. One off the point used for fishing and tying up boats at night. One located below the comfort station in the camping loop.
  • No marinas or rentals in the area.
  • Prevailing Winds: Blows to the NE
Fish Species: Warmwater Fishery. Largemouth Bass, Catfish, Walleye, Big Bluegill and Rainbow Trout. Every state record walleye since 1980, including current record of 16# 9 oz. caught March 19, 1989. Great rainbow (up to 6 1/2 #) and golden trout, large mouth bass (up to 14#) and channel catfish (up to 29 ). Purchase licenses in Clayton at the KOA or Knotts Sportsman Supply.

Waterfowl and Small Game Species: Best season for viewing from a kayak or canoe is from November to March. Golden and Bald Eagles are at the lake and Canada and Snow Geese, Gadwall, Northern Pintail, Lesser Scaup, Bufflehead, Canvasback, and Redhead Ducks.

Special Boating Restrictions: Trolling speeds only. Swimming not encouraged (drop offs). At 5,122 Ft. elevation the lake is closed to boating.

Surrounding Land Status: All land around the lake is NM State Parks Administered.


Facilities, Visitor Center, Camping, Group Shelter, Developed Sites (37), Electric Sites (7), Playground, Restrooms, Trails, Showers


New Mexico State Park Fee


GPS for Main Park Entrance: 3634.54N, 10317.98W

From Albuquerque, NM go north on I-25 for 225 miles to Exit 451. This exit is for US-64 E and US-87 E for Raton and Clayton. Follow US 84 and 67 to Clayton for about 81 miles. The Park entrance is 12 miles north of Clayton via NM 370.


NM State Parks website
Information: (505) 374-8808


Map in PDF file:
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Water Type: Flat/Sheltered Water
  • Group Rates: No

Locations on this Trip