We just moved from Illinois to New Mexico and wondered if it was even worth bringing our kayaks to the southern New Mexicican desert after 3 years of drought. Lake Roberts was the first place we decided to try. It is located in the lovely Gila National Forest at an elevation of about 3,000 - 4,000 feet. There were several places to put in, including the boat ramp. The lake is quite popular for fishing, but only electric motors are allowed. We were the only kayakers out on the Lake and we did get quite a few stares and questions back on shore. The 73 acre man-made lake is surrounded by trees and small cliffs. One end of the lake has a marsh-like area, quite shallow and quiet. This small portion of the lake was the only area that wasn't wide open water. The lake was home to several species of waterfowl. After about an hour the wind kicked up and the water became a bit rough. As we paddled to shore we were cutting through small waves and getting sprayed. Given the limited flatwater opportunities in NM, Lake Roberts is worth checking out.
There are several Bed & Breakfasts, cabins for rent, and public campgrounds nearby. There are few resturants in the area, so you will want to bring along some snacks. We stayed at the Spirit Canyon Lodge http://www.spiritcanyon.com/ and would definately stay there again.
On Hwy. 35 near Hwy. 15. 150 miles from El Paso. 250 miles from Albuquerque, 112 miles from Las Cruces.