Conchas Lake Recreation

Boating, sailing, and water skiing are permitted at Conchas Lake. New Mexico State boating laws and the Corps regulations apply. Lake access is provided at the nearby boat ramp. Boaters can still access the lake at the South Boat Ramp. See below for information on specific recreation activities. 

Conchas Lake Recreation Opportunities

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The Southside Recreation Area Campground contains 20 primitive camp sites with water only, picnic shelter, grills, and fire pits. These sites are first come, first served only, and cannot be reserved.

Sites are $10 per night; fee can be paid with cash or check at the Iron Ranger or credit/debit card using our NEW electronic fee machine located outside of our Ranger Station building on the Southside.

The campground is open year-round. Water in the campsites is on from April – November only.  

When unoccupied, the CampHost site is available to the public for use at a cost of $18/night and includes water, electric, and sewage. This site cannot be reserved, and priority is given to a volunteer CampHost.

A GROUP camp site is also available for reservation at our Southside Pavilion Group Shelter. This is a primitive site with no water, electric, or sewer and no grills or tables. The site simply consists of a large group shelter with area for parking and dispersed camping. An application for Special Use Permit must be submitted for the use of this site. Please call Conchas Dam Administrative Office at 575-868-2221 or the Southside Ranger Station at 575-868-2435 for more information.

Conchas Lake provides excellent fishing. The lake is stocked by the New Mexico Department of Game & Fish with bluegill, channel catfish, crappie, largemouth bass, and walleye.

The lake is open all year to fishing.

New Mexico fishing licenses and copies of fishing regulations are available from vendors throughout the state or click on the appropriate link below:

Click here for N.M. fishing regulations

Click here for N.M. fishing license information

Click here for the NM Game and Fish weekly fishing report

Hiking is permitted on established paths and trails.

The Dam Overlook Trail is a short, half-mile trail through rugged terrain that leads to an overlook of the main dam stilling basin. The trail head is located behind the comfort station in the Captain Kramer Day Use Area.  

For a map and more detailed information please visit the Conchas Dam Visitor Center located inside the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Administrative Building.

The Captain Kramer Day Use area, located across from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Administrative Building, contains a small ADA accessible picnic shelter and a larger Group Shelter with electrical outlets. Both have picnic tables and grills.

The Captain Kramer Park contains two horseshoe pits, ADA compliant playground, 6-hole disc golf course, volleyball court, Indian artifact display, nature trail (Dam Overlook Trail), and picnic tables dispersed throughout the park.

To reserve the large Group Shelter call the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Administrative Office at 575-868-2221.

Scuba diving, snorkeling, and swimming are permitted at your own risk, except where prohibited by signs or buoys.

Swimming is at your own risk. There are no lifeguards on duty.

Rafts, inflatables, and swimming devices are NOT designed to save your life, please use US Coast Guard approved lifejackets – loaner jackets are available at the Southside Boat Ramp Lifejacket Loaner Board and at the Southside Ranger Station.

Swim and wade only where you are familiar with the water depths and lake bottom. Please do not swim alone and watch children closely.

Diving is not permitted from dam facilities nor cliffs anywhere along the entire lake shoreline.

Please follow posted signs and guidelines, also refer to the New Mexico Boating Laws and State Park Regulations Handbook: https://assets.kalkomey.com/boater/pdfs/handbook/newmexico-handbook-entire.pdf

Click here for more water safety information.

Tours of Conchas Dam are available to the public.

Please call ahead to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Administrative Office at 575-868-2221 or Southside Ranger Station at 575-868-2435 to make reservations.

Boating, sailing, and water skiing are all permitted at Conchas Lake.

Boat launch ramps are available at the Corps-managed Southside Recreation Area. Fees are $5 per vehicle. This fee is covered by America the Beautiful Passes so please display pass on the dashboard of your vehicle. Fee can be paid with cash or check at the Iron Ranger or credit/debit card using our NEW electronic fee machine located outside of our Ranger Station building on the Southside. 

New Mexico State boating laws and Corps regulations apply to all boaters at Conchas Lake. Copies of all regulations are available at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Administrative Building Visitor Center and Southside Ranger Station; copies can also be obtained at the NM State Park Office.

Federal and State laws require a properly fitting, U.S. Coast Guard-approved lifejacket be available for each person on board a boat. Children 12 years old and younger MUST wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved lifejacket while underway. Each person on board a Personal Watercraft (PWC), kayak, canoe, or rubber raft, must wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved lifejacket. 

When on the lake, stay at least 300 feet from the dam. When winds of 15-20 mph are forecasted or blowing, boaters are cautioned to stay out of open water. Boaters and skiers should be watchful for submerged stumps, logs, rocks, and other obstructions, especially in shallow water and along the shoreline. Always remember that operation of a watercraft under the influence of alcohol can be fatal. Please use good judgment.