Santa Cruz Lake Overlook Campground

Total Miles


2,044.82 ft



Technical Rating



Best Time

Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Trail Overview

This road leads to the overlook campground then dead ends at the trailhead located above Santa Cruz Lake on a high escarpment, overlooking the lake from the southern end. Owned and operated by the BLM it has 12 first come, first served campsites. Each site is spacious and level with a shaded picnic table, grill, fire ring and trash can. A vault toilet is located centrally to all the sites, no water furnished. Trailers and RV's are limited to 30-feet in length due to site size and turns on the road. Built in October 1976 the campground is very well maintained with retro styling of its picnic table covers. The views are tremendous here from all the sites with dark skies and gentle breezes at night. At the end of the road there is a trailhead for a trail that will take you down to the lake. It passes around the escarpment on the way down, then branches off at the lake with shade from the cottonwoods. The recreation area offers fishing, hiking, picnicking, camping, no-wake boating and wildlife watching opportunities. The lake is stocked with rainbow trout, but other species such as German trout have also been caught. Cellular service is available depending upon carrier and location on the escarpment or around the lake.

Photos of Santa Cruz Lake Overlook Campground

Santa Cruz Lake Overlook Campground
Santa Cruz Lake Overlook Campground
Santa Cruz Lake Overlook Campground


The road is a well maintained gravel road suitable for any vehicle. ATV's, SxS 60" and Dirt Bikes are not allowed.


The lake's 125-foot dam was built near Chimayo, NM by the Santa Cruz Irrigation District in 1929. Nestled at the base of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, it gathers water from the Rio del Medio and Rio Frijoles

Technical Rating


Status Reports

Lani Brown
Feb 18, 2024
Temporarily Closed
Closed Gate

Access Description

From Santa Fe, NM take 285/84 about 30 miles north to NM 503 in Pojoaque, NM and turn right. Continue past county road 98 to Chimayo until you reach the left turn to the campground which is well marked.

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