Caballo Lake, New Mexico, USA

Also known as:  Caballo Reservoir

One of the little-known treasures in New Mexico’s Southwest region is Caballo Lake. This 11,000-acre reservoir along the Rio Grande River escapes the notice paid to its popular nearby neighbor Elephant Butte Lake, but offers all of the natural beauty, fishing and boating fun of its busier companion reservoir upstream. Constructed in 1938, Caballo Lake was designed to provide flood control and irrigation water to 160,000 acres of cropland. Crops – READ THE FULL ARTICLE

Welcome to the ultimate guide to Caballo Lake! Article topics include:

Looking for Caballo Lake cabins or other accommodations? Save time and use this interactive map to find, compare and book at the best rates. Or explore more of our favorite travel partners.

Welcome to the ultimate guide to Caballo Lake! Article topics include:

Looking for Caballo Lake cabins or other accommodations? Save time and use this interactive map to find, compare and book at the best rates. Or explore more of our favorite travel partners.

All About Caballo Lake

Lake Locations: USA - Southwest - New Mexico - Southwest -

One of the little-known treasures in New Mexico’s Southwest region is Caballo Lake. This 11,000-acre reservoir along the Rio Grande River escapes the notice paid to its popular nearby neighbor Elephant Butte Lake, but offers all of the natural beauty, fishing and boating fun of its busier companion reservoir upstream. Constructed in 1938, Caballo Lake was designed to provide flood control and irrigation water to 160,000 acres of cropland. Crops irrigated are not only in New Mexico but also partially in Texas; the water provided is in fulfillment of a 1902 treaty with the former Republic of Texas. The name Caballo was derived from the Sierra del los Caballos, Spanish for ‘horse mountain”. These nearby mountains were named for the herds of wild horses, descendants of the horses brought here by the Spanish around 1540. Located about 60 miles north of Las Cruces and 20 miles south of Truth or Consequences, Caballo Lake is conveniently located a short distance east of highway I-25.

Caballo Lake remains somewhat isolated. There are no homes along the shoreline, which is owned by the US Bureau of Reclamation. Caballo Lake State Park, third largest state park in New Mexico, encompasses much of the lake’s 24-mile shoreline within its 5,300 acres. The remaining shore is controlled by the US Bureau of Land Management and offers limited access only by rugged-duty vehicles. The lake is popular among recreational boaters, who often arrive on weekends to offload their personal boats from one of the three public boat launch sites. Boaters enjoy power boating, sailing, water skiing, wind surfing, jet skiing, canoeing and kayaking. The long and narrow reservoir can receive dangerous winds on occasion, so a wind warning light is provided on the southeast shore. In summer, when the lake level drops due to irrigation, four shallow islands may appear near the south end of the lake. These are marked by warning buoys when lake levels are low enough that they can become a danger.

Although some commercial boat rentals state that there is a marina and boat rental at Caballo Lake, official publications show no fuel or concession on the lake. These publications then may reference the several marinas at Elephant Butte Lake 10 miles upstream which rent boats and may transport their rentals down to Caballo Lake. This lack of commercial development is what keeps Caballo Lake relatively quiet and somewhat deserted most week-days. Weekends see the highest numbers of visitors by a wide margin.

Fishing is one of the big draws at Caballo Lake; catfish, largemouth bass, walleye, white bass, crappie, bluegill, northern pike, sunfish, smallmouth bass and striped bass are all caught, with occasional rainbow trout and walleye surprising the lucky angler. Although there are no bait and supply facilities in the park, several fishing supply stores are located nearby. Annual events at the lake feature several fishing tournaments, including a youth fishing derby in late September. Kayaking and canoeing on the Rio Grande is a favorite pastime when timed to the water releases from Elephant Butte Dam. The 10 to 12-mile river run usually begins at Elephant Butte State Park and ends at Caballo Lake State Park.

Several campground facilities are operated at Caballo Lake, one of which can meet nearly every need. Some primitive boat camping is available on the east side of the lake for small, fishing-size boats. A beach camping area offering few amenities is located on the western shore north of the main campground. The majority of developed campsites sit on a bluff overlooking the lake near the dam. An additional camping area below the dam on the Rio Grande offers the only RV Rally site in the New Mexico state park system, with a large group shelter, huge barbecue grills, and a gated campground that can accommodate over 200 recreational vehicles. There is no marked swimming beach, but most swimmers utilize an area west of the dam, or another favored spot along the north edge of the main campground.

The small visitor center has displays of area archeology and historic photos from the construction of Caballo Dam. There are color photos of the birds, fish, and plants of the park to help with identification, and even a sandbox area in which to stamp various wildlife footprints for educational and identification purposes. Youth groups and schools are often hosted here for hands-on learning experiences. Several cactus and succulent gardens are maintained in the park where visitors may enjoy their colorful blooms in late March and early April. Yucca, agave, ocotillo, prickly pear, mesquite and other desert flora can be enjoyed from the many walking paths in the park. All of the park’s 5.5 miles of trails are considered ‘easy’ and are perfect for exploring the native plants and animals.

Mammals include rock squirrels and cottontail rabbits, coyotes, wolves, foxes, raccoons, mule deer, and an occasional black bear. There are also rattlesnakes, lizards, frogs and turtles. Bird watching is a favorite activity at Caballo Lake, with the reservoir noted for visiting bald eagles and golden eagles. In recent years a breeding pair of bald eagles calls Caballo Lake their winter home. In addition, double-crested cormorants, sandhill cranes, common loons, scaled quail, American white pelicans, northern goshawks, snowy egrets and roadrunners are often sighted. There are dozens of songbirds, several species of hummingbirds, and numerous geese and ducks seen daily. Some hunting for small game is permitted in the park during hunting season; park staff should be contacted for complete information.

Although real estate is not available directly along the shoreline, some real estate is occasionally available nearby, often in the mountains overlooking the lake. A few private owners offer their properties for rental by the week or month nearby. Conventional lodgings can be found in both Truth or Consequences or Las Cruces in the form of motels, hotels and condos. These cities offer every amenity desired for an extended vacation, including golf courses, theaters, restaurants and nightlife. A number of state parks and national forests nearby offer every type of terrain and outdoor recreation a visitor could want. A day or a week on the water at Caballo Lake is both accessible and secluded. Bring the binoculars, the fishing rods and the canoe and come to Caballo Lake. With only one visit, Caballo Lake will become your favorite New Mexico get-away spot.

Things to Do at Caballo Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Fishing Tournaments
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Jet Skiing
  • Water Skiing
  • Wind Surfing
  • Golf
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Hiking
  • Horseback Riding
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • State Park
  • National Forest

Fish Species Found at Caballo Lake

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Bluegill
  • Catfish
  • Crappie
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Northern Pike
  • Perch
  • Pike
  • Rainbow Trout
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Striped Bass
  • Sunfish
  • Trout
  • Walleye
  • White Bass

All About Caballo Lake

Best hotels and vacation rentals at Caballo Lake

The Caballo Lake map shown above is a simple and stress-free way to search for trip accommodations. But if you want to take a deeper dive to find the ideal waterfront home, cabin, condo, hotel or resort, visit our favorite lodging partners by clicking the buttons below.

Note: These are affiliate links so we may earn a small commission if you book through them. While there is no extra cost to you, it helps provide resources to keep our site running (thank you)! You can read our full disclosure policy here.


More Ways to Book a Caballo Lake Vacation

While our interactive map above is perfect for comparing LAKENAME rental homes (with VRBO) and nearby hotels (with Booking.com), there might be times when you need to expand your search with a different type of accommodation. Here are some other LAKNAME lodging partners you might want to explore:

Check TripAdvisor
Explore RV Rentals
Find a Campspot
View All Resources

Note: These are affiliate links and we may earn a small commission. Read our full disclosure policy here.


More Sites to Book a Caballo Lake Vacation

Our interactive lodging map shown above is perfect for comparing LAKENAME VRBO rental homes and nearby Booking.com hotels, there are times when you need to expand your search for different types of accommodation. Here are some other LAKNAME lodging partners you can explore:

Check TripAdvisor
Explore RV Rentals
Find a Campspot
View All Resources

Note: These are affiliate links and we may earn a small commission. Read our disclosure policy here.


More Sites to Book a Caballo Lake Vacation

Our interactive lodging map shown above is perfect for comparing LAKENAME VRBO rental homes and nearby Booking.com hotels, there are times when you need to expand your search for different types of accommodation. Here are some other LAKNAME lodging partners you can explore:

Check TripAdvisor
Explore RV Rentals
Find a Campspot
View All Resources

Note: These are affiliate links and we may earn a small commission. Read our disclosure policy here.


Recommended Sites to Book a Caballo Lake Vacation

If you want to take a deeper dive to find waterfront lake cabins, cottages, condos, hotels or resorts, check out our favorite Caballo Lake lodging partners.

  • VRBO – Use VRBO to find the perfect lake rental home, condo, cabin, cottage or other vacation property.
  • Booking.com – One of the world’s leading digital travel companies, Booking.com connects travelers to everything from cozy B&Bs to luxury resorts.
  • Expedia – Expedia is a popular online travel agency with more than 140,000 lodging properties worldwide.
  • Hotels.com – With more than 325,000 hotels in 19,000-plus locations, Hotels.com is an industry leader in online accommodations.
  • TripAdvisor – Read traveler reviews and compare prices on hotels, vacation rentals and more at TripAdvisor.
  • Trivago – Trivago helps travelers compare deals for hotels and other accommodations from a variety of booking sites.
  • KAYAK – KAYAK scours hundreds of other travel websites at once to find the best deals on hotels and other travel-related services.
  • RVshare –RVshare connects travelers interested in renting a motorhome with owners who have RVs to rent.
  • CampSpot – Campspot offers premier RV resorts, family campgrounds, cabins and glamping options across North America.
ALL TRAVEL RESOURCES

Note: These are affiliate links so we may earn a small commission if you book through them. While there is no extra cost to you, it helps provide resources to keep our site running (thank you)! You can read our full disclosure policy here.

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Lake Type: Not Known

Water Level Control: U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

Surface Area: 11,500 acres

Shoreline Length: 24 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 4,204 feet

Average Depth: 23 feet

Water Volume: 346,985 acre-feet

Completion Year: 1938

Drainage Area: 1,300 sq. miles

We strive to keep the information on LakeLubbers as accurate as possible. However, if you’ve found something in this article that needs updating, we’d certainly love to hear from you! Please fill out our Content Correction form.

More Caballo Lake news from LakeLubbers.com

  • Advertise your vacation rental property or local business: DETAILS HERE
  • The Caballo Lake forum has been discontinued: HERE’S WHY
  • New Caballo Lake photos coming soon!
  • You’re invited to join our lake-lovin’ community on Facebook and Instagram!
  • Share this Caballo Lake article with your fellow LakeLubbers:

Do you have a vacation rental property at Caballo Lake? Coming in 2022, LakeLubbers will have an opportunity for you to showcase your listing and put it in front of thousands of lake lovers searching our site for homes, condos or townhomes to rent for their upcoming lake trip this season.

Please get in touch with our advertising team HERE and we’ll provide you more details on this upcoming advertising opportunity.

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Looking for the Caballo Lake forum?

LakeLubbers previously offered visitors the ability to create accounts and participate in lake forums. When we overhauled the site’s content management system in 2021 we had to disable those features. We’re evaluating options and welcome your comments and feedback here.

We also encourage you to join our lake-lovin’ community on Facebook and Instagram!

Click here to advertise your Caballo Lake vacation rental or local business.

The former Caballo Lake forum is closed. Find out why here.

New Caballo Lake photo gallery is coming soon.

Please share this article with your fellow lake lovers!

Spread the word! Share our Caballo Lake article with your fellow Lake Lubbers!

Explore local Caballo Lake vacation rentals and hotel accommodations using our interactive map. Clicking on listings below will allow you to compare nearby properties, best rates and availability for your dates.

Looking for the old Caballo Lake forum group? Click Here

New Caballo Lake photos coming soon!

Vacation Home Name

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  • 2 bedrooms
  • 2 bathrooms
  • hot tub
  • wifi