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    Elephant Butte Day Trip

    Family Kayaking at Elephant Butte Lake State Park, PC: New Mexico State Parks

    Elephant Butte is a relatively young city in New Mexico. The city became an incorporated community in 1998. Unfortunately, a few local attractions are still temporarily closed due to COVID-19. Elephant Butte is home to the largest lake in New Mexico and a highly regarded golf course that are still open. Spending the day in Elephant Butte is recommended for sightseers that enjoy the great outdoors and nautical individuals.

    How to get to Elephant Butte

    Elephant Butte Lake State Park, 101 NM-195, Elephant Butte, NM 87935, Ph. 575-744-5923

    From El Paso

    Take Interstate 10 West toward New Mexico for 35 miles. Follow signs for Interstate 25 North toward Las Cruces/Albuquerque for 80 miles. Take exit 79 toward Truth or Consequences. Merge onto N Date Street. Turn Left onto New Mexico 181 North. Follow signs for City of Elephant Butte. Elephant Butte is about124 miles from El Paso, Texas. Estimated trip is two hours. Before departure, be sure to plug in the physical address of your destination.

    Things to do at Elephant Butte Lake State Park

    Elephant Butte Lake State Park is a part of the Rio Grande. It was formed by a dam created in 1916. The lake has hundreds of miles of shoreline within 40,000 surface acres, and a depth of 165 feet. Recreation areas are managed by New Mexico State Parks. Visitors may camp, boat, hike, bird watch, fish, swim and more activities. However, the beaches are not patrolled by lifeguards. Novice swimmers should exercise caution with water related activities.

    Current daily hours of operations are 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Daily use rates vary based on mode of transportation, venue use and camping. For a detailed breakdown, please check out fees and permit section of the state parks website for a detailed breakdown. Elephant Butte Lake State Park offers Wi-Fi plans by Viasat. Patrons may purchase single-user plans or multiuser/family plans. Given the surface area of the lake and proximity to the town, Wi-Fi plans are a good way to stay in contact with family and friends. Sightseers may explore the trails, while others enjoy the marinas.

    Elephant Butte Lake Marinas

    The lake is the best managed fishery in the Southwest. It has Black bass (largemouth & smallmouth), White Bass, Striper, Crappie, Perch, Walleye, Catfish, Sunfish, Bluegill and Carp. There are several points along the lake to fish. The park has five courtesy docks. A map of the state park is available on New Mexico State Park’s website. Prefer fishing on a boat? There are three operational marinas within the lake.

    Rocky Canyon Marina is one of three marinas located in Elephant Butte Lake State Park. It is located at the north end of Elephant Butte Lake. However, the marina is geared toward visitors that brought their own boat and has a store. For merchandise questions, please call 575-518-4091. Love boats but do not want to haul it to New Mexico? You are in luck; Marina Del Sur offers boat rentals.

    Marina Del Sur is the ideal place for water base fun as well as boating. The second marina at the state park offers pontoon boat, pontoon ski boat and slide boat rentals. The minimum rental time for each boat is three hours. The requester must be at least 21 years old with valid driver’s license. For additional requirements and current rates, please call Marina Del Sur staff at 575-744-5567.

    The third marina in Elephant Butte Lake State Park is Dam Site Marina. It is located near the dam, which is managed by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. The final marina is a part of the historic district as well. The Dam Site Marina Welcome Center offers information and displays about the construction of the dam; to include a small gift shop. The highlight of Dam Site Marina is night fishing. Visitors interested in turning the day trip into a weekend getaway may state at the lodge, casitas (lakeside cabins), two-bedroom houses or the RV Park.

    Special Events

    There are many reasons to turn the day trip to an overnight trip. The state park is known for hosting the following events: July 4 Fireworks, Balloon Regatta, Floating Lights Parade, Elephant Man Triathlon, Dam it Man Triathlon, Jet Boat Races, Race To The Butte and Fly Freedom’s Flag. Park staff highly recommend checking park alerts before travel. Weather may impact available services. For more information about Elephant Butte Lake State Park contact, Saul Baquera, the park superintendent, at Not interested in visiting the state park, How about a round of golf?  

    Sierra Del Rio Golf Course, 101 Clubhouse Dr, Elephant Butte, NM 87935, Ph. 575-744-4653

    Sierra Del Rio Golf Course is one of the top 10 courses in New Mexico. According to SGM Southwest management, “Sierra del Rio offers plenty of challenges, from elevated tees, rolling fairways and blind doglegs to arroyos, water hazards, sand traps and tiered greens.” Current operating hours for the golf course is 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. 7-days a week. Customers may book their tee online. Weekday rates are $42 for 18 holes and $27 for 9 holes. Weekend rates are $49 for 18 holes and $31 for 9 holes. The no-limit twilight rate is $28. Listed rates are day rates and do not include tax.  After a round of gold, patrons can have lunch, dinner or drinks with a view of Mims Lake and Turtleback Mountain at Turtleback Taphouse & Grill. However, the grill is only open Wednesday thru Sunday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. It is not the only unique place to eat in Elephant Butte.

    Come for fun, Stay for Food

    After an active day at the state park, it is easy to work up an appetite. If you feel like going off the beaten path, give these eateries a try.

    Casa Taco, 704 Highway 195 Elephant Butte, NM 87935, Ph. 575-744-4859

    The upscale taco dive has a colorful history. Professional chef, James Pecherski passion for southwestern cuisine created Casa Taco. In 2001, a visit to Elephant Butte led to him establishing Casa Taco. To this day, his Elephant Butte location is a local favorite. Do not want tacos? Casa Taco sells burritos, burgers and quesadillas too. The star of the dessert menu are apple flautas (tortilla flat) and churros (fried dough) with ice cream. In a hurry? You may want to order ahead. Everything is made fresh to order. Customers can order online. Be advised, Casa Taco is closed Wednesday. Except Sunday, regular business hours are Monday-Tuesday and Thursday thru Saturday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday operating hours are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

    Bigfoot Restaurant, 212 Warm Springs Blvd, Elephant Butte Lake, NM, 87935, Ph. 575-744-4896

    Bigfoot Restaurant has a little something for everyone. The menu offers Asian cuisine, surf and turf, burgers, sandwiches, soups and salads. The kid menu is limited to chicken tenders, mini burgers and grilled cheese. Want to unwind after a long active day? The restaurant has a wide selection of regional wine and craft ale. If talking feels exhausting, customers can text their full name to 575-635-0998. Customers can receive 5% off their first text order. The restaurant is open Thursday thru Monday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. It is closed Tuesday and Wednesday. By the way, service members with valid ID qualify for Military Monday, a 10% discount. Offer excludes lunch specials and alcoholic drinks.

    While you prepare for you day trip to Elephant Butte, remember your favorite real estate team, PCS El Paso,

    Lifestyle post written by Patricia Streeter, lifestyle blogger.

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