view fron east end of Heron Lake, New Mexico

near dam on Heron Lake, New Mexico

Heron Lake, New Mexico, July 2007

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Heron Lake, New Mexico is a great lake to sail in the summer. The entire 5,000 acre lake is a no wake zone, so motorboats are not annoying or plentiful. The only marina on the lake is operated by the New Mexico Sailing Club and has almost all sailboats. Heron Lake State Park has several campgrounds (showers at Willow Creek campground) and two boat ramps.

Heron Lake construction was begun in the late 1960's with the dam and spillway, and a tunnel was drilled through the mountains to the west side of the continental divide to provide water for the lake. Completed in 1972, Heron Lake provides water to Albequerque and Santa Fe so the water level does vary. We were there in late July 2007 to teach a class and fell in love with this lake. We plan to return this August and in future years go give sailing classes. Open water provides good wind, 7,300 feet elevation means cool temperatures, and the marina in a sheltered cove has slips available for $10/night. From the marina and the boat ramp near Willow Creek campground, access to the lake is through "the narrows" which was wide enough to easily tack out of when we were there.

We stayed at Willow Creek campground, which is right next to Blanco campground. Blanco has showers, both have flush toilets, and it was a nice place to stay. Campsites have water and electric. Another campsite near the dam has the other boatramp.

To reserve a campsite in a New Mexico State Park call 877-664-7787. To ask about lake levels and conditions you can call the park at 505-588-7470.

Satellite view

Map view

This video was taken with the Panasonic PV-GS35

Sailing Video Index

Sailing Heron Lake video
Dialup version, 5 MB
Click to see video
Broadband version, 24 MB
Click to see video

Video at the dam and a glimpse of Willow Creek campground
Dialup version, 1.3 MB, Broadband version, 7 MB
Click to see dialup video of dam area

More pictures of Heron Lake
Launching near the marina

Rock formation in the Narrows

Columbia 24 we saw on the lake