A lovely and relaxing State Park by beautiful Elephant Butte Lake in middle NM. We stayed at the northern-most campground (Monticello).
- Site Quality = 5/5
We stayed at the Monticello campground and there is an excellent selection of sites here. They are all very large, flat gravel sites with water/electric, shelters, picnic table and fire-pits and great separation. Pull-through sites have 50Amp. Nicest lake views are in the front reservation loops (#16-30), but many other sites have slices of lake view or beautiful mountain views.
- Facilities = 3.5/5
Good facilities. Flush toilets and showers, all spacious and kept nicely clean. Only ding is that (like all the state parks here) they have that timer button on the shower. All campgrounds have access to the lake with boat ramp and fishing opportunities. On-site dump station.
- Location = 5/5
We just loved the location here. You’re right by a lake with lots of water activities and hiking trails. Also very close to Truth and Consequences for spa/hot-springs and basic shopping needs (Walmart). Plenty of short day-trips to do in the area including visiting local ghost towns (Kingston and Hillsboro).
- Pet Friendliness = 5/5
Excellent doggie park. Plenty of space to hang out and play, plus daily walks down to splash around in the lake
Overall Rating = 4.6
BONUS ALERT = Enjoy wide open space and gorgeous views of Elephant Butte Lake
Summary: Elephant Butte is New Mexico’s largest body of water and the State Park is one of their most popular. The first thing to understand is there are two “major” campgrounds separated by ~10 miles. The Southern-most one (clearly marked on exits 79 & 83 on Hwy I-25, includes Lions Loop, Quail Run, Desert Cove) is their main one and has more developed facilities (e.g. swim-beach, marina), whereas their northern one (not marked on exit 89 on Hwy I-25, called South Monticello campground) is more relaxed and quiet. We of course, chose Monticello and were very, very happy with it. The sites here are very large, flat, gravel with water/electric, picnic table, shelters, fire-pit, great separation and lovely, open views. Most open lake views are in the 2 front reservation loops (sites (#16-30), but all sites are nice, in our opinion. We ended up extending our stay twice so we switched sites a few times. Despite being a popular park, the more remote Monticello campground was only ~1/2 full on the week-end and stayed very quiet/relaxed. Overall we had a blast visiting Truth and Consequences, hiking around the area, soaking in the sunsets and splashing in the lake. We would definitely come back.
Extra Info: Full Verizon coverage via phone and aircard. Sites cost $14/night for water/30 or 50Amp electric. Camping fees can be covered with New Mexico Annual Camping Permit. Approx. half of sites are reservable, half are first-come-first-serve. On-site dump station.