Santa Cruz Lake Recreation Area

Bureau of Land Management, New Mexico.

Thirty miles north of Santa Fe, New Mexico, the snow-fed waters of the Rio del Medio and the Rio Frijoles begin a 2,000-mile journey and a 7,000-foot descent to the Gulf of Mexico. For a time they gather at Santa Cruz Lake at the base of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains near Chimayo, behind the 125-foot Santa Cruz Dam.

Built in 1929 by the Santa Cruz Irrigation District, the dam is 535 feet across and 90 feet deep at the overflowing spillway. The lake covers 121 surface acres with water in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, providing recreational opportunities for anglers, picnickers, campers, and boat lovers alike. The scenic lake at base of Sangre de Cristo mountains offers boating, fishing, hiking and camping.

Nearby Activities


About 30 miles northeast of Santa Fe. From Santa Fe: take US 84/285 N to NM 503 in Pojoaque. Turn right onto NM 503 and continue on the scenic 'High Road' towards Chimayo. Pass CR 98 which turns left to Chimayo and continue on NM 503; first you will see the Overlook Campground turnoff on the left, then continue 5.5 miles towards and past Cundiyo to Santa Cruz Lake Rd (CR 98A).

There is no Recreation Area entrance sign at Santa Cruz Lake Rd off NM 503 from the South. From the North: Take NM 76 east from Espanola for 9.7 miles, turn right onto NM 503 and follow 1.4 miles to Santa Cruz Lake Rd (CR 98A); turn right.

Please NO RVs or vehicles with trailers longer than 30' on Santa Cruz Lake Rd; tight turns on entrance road and in parking areas.

Santa Cruz Lake Rd (98A) dead ends at the boat ramp & fishing pier areas; No through road.