Stumbling Upon Paradise: 8 Beautiful Lakes Near El Paso

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Daniel is a copywriter who has well and truly been bitten alive by the 'travel bug'. After ticking off several North American National Parks and exploring Europe by train, his sights are now set on South East Asia. Usually with at least one camera locked and loaded, you'll find Daniel wherever there are mountains, lakes or beaches.

Welcome to our scenic tour of the beloved lakes peppering the region around El Paso. In this guide, we traverse the rugged beauty of West Texas to the serene highlands of New Mexico, highlighting eight stunning lakes that offer a refreshing escape from the desert landscape.

Caballo Lake

Man fishing at sunset on a lake
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Nestled in southern New Mexico and named after the majestic wild horses of the Caballo Mountains, Caballo Lake offers an escape under two hours from El Paso. An angler’s dream, the lake is flush with a variety of fish, from walleye and bass to crappie and bluegill. But the appeal doesn’t end there – the lake is a hub for water-based activities like boating and waterskiing, and a pit-stop for migratory birds, making it a must-visit for birdwatchers.

Elephant Butte Lake

Elephant Butte Lake, New Mexico
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Less than 150 miles from El Paso, you’ll find Elephant Butte Lake, the result of the damming of the Rio Grande River and the largest lake in New Mexico. Known as ‘The Butte’, it’s a sanctuary for recreation enthusiasts offering everything from boating, water skiing, and scuba diving to windsurfing and canoeing. For land lovers, the lake’s surroundings offer trails for hiking, bird-watching spots, and over 350 camping and RV hook-up sites nestled within Elephant Butte Lake State Park.

Ascarate Lake

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Just a few minutes from downtown El Paso you’ll discover Ascarate Lake, part of the expansive Ascarate Park, offering an enticing mix of relaxation and adventure. Known for some of the Southwest’s best fishing, it’s home to an array of species, promising an exciting challenge for anglers. Spend a day picnicking, kayaking, playing sports, or simply enjoying the landscape of this 60-year-old park.

Bonito Lake

Bonito Lake, New Mexico - Lakes near El Paso
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Situated high in the Sierra Blanca mountains, Bonito Lake, a scenic alpine reservoir, sits just 150 miles north of El Paso. The ever-cold lake is a haven for rainbow trout, making it a delightful spot for anglers. Surrounding campgrounds provide numerous hiking trails and streams, inviting you to delve into the heart of Lincoln National Forest.

Alumni Pond

Picnic with friends
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Alumni Pond, a compact reservoir situated within the NMSU campus in Las Cruces, is merely a 45-minute journey from El Paso. Well known for its ample stock of varied fish species, the pond ensures a rewarding fishing adventure. Complement your visit with one of their children’s fishing days or a fishing clinic, or relax amongst the campus’s picturesque picnic spots and footpaths.

Leasburg Dam State Park

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Only a stone’s throw from El Paso, Leasburg Dam State Park offers a refreshing escape on the Rio Grande banks. From swimming, fishing, and paddling to hiking and camping, it’s a versatile destination. Adventurous visitors may even raft their way to Las Cruces. Bear in mind that the river’s flow can fluctuate, so a pre-visit check on the water situation is always best before making the journey.

Young Park

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For a family day trip from El Paso, Young Park in Las Cruces is a great choice. Fishing enthusiasts will enjoy the pond, regularly stocked with various species to provide year-round excitement. Alongside this, the park’s picnic shelters and playgrounds make for a relaxed outing.

Hideaway Lakes

Camping by a lake
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Amid the rugged landscape of West Texas, Hideaway Lakes offers a serene oasis, marked by its unique oxbow water bodies – a result of the Rio Grande River. This tranquil retreat is perfect for a night or two back in nature with plenty of camping spots available.

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