Standard (tent/RV)
Dispersed
Group
RV Sites
Tent Sites
Fires Allowed
Pets Allowed
Drinking Water
About Heron Lake State Park
Operator
State
Access
Drive In
Walk In
Boat In
Features
ADA Accessible
Alcohol Allowed
Drinking Water
Electric Hookups
Fires Allowed
Firewood Available
Pets Allowed
Phone Service
Picnic Table
Reservable
Sanitary Dump
Sewer Hookups
Showers
Toilets
Trash Available
Water Hookups
Location
Heron Lake State Park is located in New Mexico
Latitude
36.694 N
Longitude
-106.657 W
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9 Reviews of Heron Lake State Park
Unusually Quiet

I did a fair amount of research online regarding walk-in tent camping at Heron Lake, during the week. See the great maps and detail at https://newmexicostateparks.reserveamerica.com/camping/heron-lake/r/campgroundDetails.do?contractCode=NM&parkId=430012 . I called the visitor center to confirm that being a walk-in would not be a problem during the week. Once one arrives as a walk-in, look for the campsites with a green tag on them.

The Heron Lake camp sites shown at the above reserveamerica website all have a fair amount of trees for shade. What the reserveamerica site does not show is a few more Heron Lake campgrounds southwest along Highway 95 (beyond the dam). The southwesterly sites are way more exposed to the sun than the first four campgrounds. Otherwise, the southwesterly campgrounds have fine views of the lake.

I was at Island View campground, in a loop that was convoluted enough that I do not think a trailer (with its inevitable noisy generator) could get in. I guess that this is the point. As a result, all I heard from time to time were muffled voices and no generators. It's the first tent spring-summer-fall camping I have enjoyed in years that was generator-free. I had at least one empty campsite on either side of me as an additional buffer to noise.

I walked along the lakeshore. It did not seem that low. I saw large fish jumping in one cove. I hiked the Salmon Run Trail to the dam. The Salmon Run Trail is a beautiful hike, not all level but not too steep for this older person's knees and walking poles. On the lake side of the dam, walking along the highway to get a good look at the dam, I saw several schools of large fish.

The vault bathrooms and the flush-toilet bathrooms were fine. Not super clean and not super dirty. I did not try the shower but it looked like people were using it.

This time of year, bring some bug repellent or wear jeans and a light long sleeve shirt at night. New Mexico has had a lot of moisture this season, so I think the bug-giness is higher than usual. Still, I sat outside and read for an hour or so pretty comfortably.

The camp host was lovely.

Typical desert lake

Heron Lake has several campgrounds with most sites being first come first serve. Most sites have a lake view. There is a good walking distance to the water and very little shade. Lots of wildlife here! We saw deer, coyotes and bear droppings. Sites are kinda spaced out, have benches, fire rings and cost $10 a night per car. We came with intentions of paddle boarding but it was way too windy! It can get crowded on the weekends, but you'd have the place all to yourself during the week.

Peaceful getaway

We stayed here over the Easter Holiday. We were on Lot 2 in the Willow creek section. For $14, we had f/u hook-ups. I think Lot 1 & 2 are the only lots with full hook ups. I didn't use the facilities, so I can comment on those. Our campsite was big enough for our rig and a tent. We had picnic table (made of concrete, so you can move it) Firepit (don't know if they sell wood, because we couldn't find anyone working or a camp host) We basically had the park to ourselves. We did take a couple of hikes. One was to the lake, which was sadly almost empty. There was very spotty Verizon cell phone and dish satellite. There is not much of a town, so make sure you're fueled up and have all your camping provisions. I would like to try and stay here again, maybe in the summer. Elevations are up there 7000 ft, so I think it would be nice and cool.

Reservoir Camping

The site is like a number of other campgrounds we have seen that were created alongside county or state reservoirs. The campground is in a good location in Northwest New Mexico. We ended up staying an extra night here due to the amazing sunsets as well as the peace and quite. They have self checkin and well maintained pit toilets. The camp was about half full on the weekend in August. Each site had some shade and privacy depending on location. The exterior sites on our loop had a great western view to see the sunsets. The water level of the reservoir was very low and some campers were trying their luck at fishing. The have a couple of stores a few miles outside the camp with limited supplies. The roads are well maintained gravel and the sites all a bit uneven if you have a trailer or van. We took the dirt road southwest to exit the park. This was a mistake the road is very rough and requires a high clearance vehicle and 4x4 after rain. We were pulled over by local reservation police who were looking for poachers. The seemed to be overzealous tribal police pulling people over for no reason on a public road. It made for an interesting morning. I would give this a try if you need a short stay site on you way somewhere

Great night sky

Easy access. Great rates. Not far from town. Quiet. Gorgeous night view.

Great night sky view

Easy access. Great rates. Not far from town. Quiet. Gorgeous night view.

northern new mexico

I enjoyed it. Wasn't too busy. It had a decent lake for kayaking and sailboating. Make sure you bring some shade

Nice little getaway

This campground fluctuates between nice and incredible right along with the water levels. We camped at Heron lake in 2008 when the water levels were higher and enjoyed the lakeside, and swimming in the lake so very much. As the water levels recede, it leaves behind deep, mucky clay. Walking through it, our feet would sink in at least a foot; it was hard to wash away. The clay/shale like material has left behind hundreds of fossils waited to found in the dried mud-like rock. Regardless of the water level, our family enjoys fossil hunting (remember, leave only footprints--which is easy to do in the muck).

The campground itself has showers in one or two of the loops, and a small playground. There is some great fishing nearby. The campground makes for a nice weekend getaway.

First to Review
Great place to camp

We had a great time camping at Heron Lake. The sites were large enough for multiple tents, had vault toilets nearby, and was easy to drive to trailheads and the lake. Only con was how low the lake was so we weren't able to just walk to the water