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Santa Rosa Lake State Park in New Mexico

A self-supported trip created by guest-paddler

Trip Overview

Took off on a Sail/Yak to explore the northwest side of the lake especially the west entry into the Pecos River Canyon. Total distance RT was 10.5 miles.

Launch from the boat ramp and proceed easterly out to the main channel of the lake until you see a gap between the north shore and an island to the east. Turn to the north and follow the channel across following the Red and white striped buoys northerly till the channel begins to turn to the east. As it turns to the east you will see a small cove to the north that is known as Catfish Cove that bears a bit of a look or drop of a hook.

Still going eastward you will enter what is known as the Ghost Forest. Watch for a reach of water that will be off your left (north). Turn up this reach and continue north/northwest till you see a black and white buoy marking the entrance to the west of the Pecos River Canyon.

Warmwater Fishery. Large and Smallmouth Bass, Catfish, Bluegill, Crappie and Walleye. Optimum Fishing at 4,712 Ft. water elevation. When water levels are up and early in the season in late May and early June, the Pecos River Canyon accessed from the northern end of the lake will be full of birds and early insect hatches. A day trip of Kayak Fishing drifting with the current and placing flies by the reeds normally will produce a good catch.

Enjoy the birdlife, Bass fishing and then return back the way you came.


Most motels and great swim lakes in Santa Rose including the famous Blue Hole Scuba Lake.


Day use permit.


Directions: North of Santa Rosa and I-40. The project is 117 miles east of Albuquerque via Interstate 40, 66 miles southeast of Las Vegas, NM, 58 miles west of Tucumcari and 171 miles west of Amarillo, TX.

From Albuquerque travel 110 miles on I-40 East to Exit 273. Take the exit and continue into town till the signs for State Route 91. Turn left and go through a few neighborhoods and continue seven miles north of the town to the Dam and Park Entrance.


Visit website:

Click on Boating, the Boating Waters.

Select: "Santa Rosa" under Southeast heading from the right side "Lakes" column.

OR click here

Trip Details

  • Trip Duration: Day Trip
  • Sport/Activity: Kayaking, Canoeing
  • Skill Level: Intermediate
  • Water Type: Flat/Sheltered Water

Trip Location