Heron Lake State Park

If you’re new to New Mexico or just haven’t really had the opportunity to explore the National Parks in the state, then you may be left thinking that the whole state really has nothing more to offer than brilliant orange mesas and, well, a whole lot of sand. The truth is, though, that the state offers a lot of lush, green landscapes and lake scenery. Heron Lake State Park is just one example of such a park.

When you drive in from the more desert like terrain surrounding, you’ll notice the shift in color right away. The last thing you expect to see in New Mexico is a crystal blue lake full of sailboats and kayaks. The lake is great for fishing with clean water and a marina for watercraft. If you have a boat that you haven’t been able to take out of the garage since you moved to the state, this is the perfect place to break it out from under the tarp. Of course, there’s also a sailboat storage facility here, so you can very well leave your boat safely here for the entirety of your stay.

The lake itself is only one small piece of what the park has to offer, though. In addition to great fishing and boating, there are facilities for pretty much each and every possible type of overnight visitor. If you want to go camping, there are group shelters and a visitor center where you can gather all of the information you need as well as showers, providing at least one creature comfort for those wanting to rough it out in the wilderness.

Additionally there are facilities for RV campers, with an RV dumping station, more than fifty electric sites and more than two hundred developed sites.

The wildlife viewing is surprising if you’ve been disappointed in the past by parks where the wild animals were scarce. Heron Lake State Park is spacious and large enough that you’re not going to be treading many well-worn paths or areas, meaning that this park is still essentially the domain of the animal kingdom.

The trails go on for miles, so we’re not kidding when we say that this is the park to actually put all of that wilderness knowledge to use. Don’t try to take a hike around the lake without bringing enough water, food and other provisions.

Heron Lake State Park also provides winter sports in the colder months. Being near the continental divide, New Mexico gets more than its fair share of snow. Combined with the hilly nature of much of the terrain, there are some pretty good sledding spots in the area and some of the trails are just asking to be traversed by a convoy of snowmobiles. Ice fishing is probably the most popular sport around December, though, as the lake is home to some record sized trout.

Essentially, Heron Lake State Park really does offer something for everyone, even people who aren’t that big on the outdoors and prefer to stay in their RV between fishing excursions. If you think you know New Mexico, you really can’t say that you’re fully familiar with what the state really has to offer until you check out Heron Lake.