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Best Places to Paddleboard in the United States – New Mexico 2021

Best Places to Paddleboard in the United States – New Mexico 2021

New Mexico SUP

1: Rio Grande

Rio Grande River Paddleboard

The Rio Grande deserves its name because, at 1,900 miles, this is one of the longest rivers in the United States. The Rio Grande stretches through the entirety of the state, though if you’re in New Mexico, we suggest hopping on it from the shores of Albuquerque. From Albuquerque, you’ll find plenty of paddleboarding vendors who will rent you equipment, provide SUPing lessons, or guide you on 2 to 3 day touring adventures.

The beaches are kept nice and clean in Albuquerque, and if you embark from the right spot, you won’t have to go far to try out your stability on class II and III rapids. If you prefer river running to lakes, start in Albuquerque or forge your path as you paddle on the Rio Grande.

Average Clear Weather Days per Year: 280
Distance to Major Cities: Direct Access to Albuquerque
Motor Vehicles Allowed: Yes
Paddleboard Rentals Available: Yes

2: Heron Lake/El Vado Lake

Heron Lake SUP
The 5,900 square acre lake is located on the northern border of New Mexico and one of the calmest waterfronts due to the ‘no wake’ policy that extends to motorboats on the lake. The morning has calm waters, and is when new and beginner paddlers prefer to visit the lake.The wind picks up as the day progresses so those who want an easy lake to learn wind foiling will want to visit it as well.

There are over 200 camping and rest sites around the shore, but while you can launch from much of it, visit the vendors around the State Park center to rent equipment if you don’t have your own. The visitor’s center is also a great place to visit, as you can walk along the road to reach the adjacent 3,200 acres El Vado Lake for even more paddleboarding fun. For tranquil paddling or some light sailing, plan out a visit to Heron Lake in northern New Mexico.

Average Clear Weather Days per Year: 283
Distance to Major Cities: 1 Hour to Dulce
Motor Vehicles Allowed: Limited
Paddleboard Rentals Available: Yes

3: Elephant Butte Lake

Elephant Butte Lake SUP
The largest human-made lake in New Mexico with 36,500 square acres of water to explore, Elephant Butte Lake is another popular paddleboarding location for several different reasons. This is the only lake in New Mexico where Pelicans will perch year-round, making it a fun destination for photographers and bird watchers. The Pelicans, and anglers alike, are attracted by the significant number of fish that inhabit the lake, with Bass, Crappie, Walleye, and Catfish among the most common catches.

The lake takes its name from the Elephant Butte volcanic core that sits in the middle of the water, which is accessible to explore on a touring adventure. If you feel like hunting for treasure or old dinosaur bones, bring a shovel and some scuba gear as you might end up making a discovery, after all a Stegomastodon was uncovered along the shore just a few years ago.

Explore, fish, or enjoy the water the next time you visit Elephant Butte Lake in southern New Mexico.

Average Clear Weather Days per Year: 280
Distance to Major Cities: 1 Hour to Socorro
Motor Vehicles Allowed: Yes
Paddleboard Rentals Available: Yes

4: Caballo Lake

Caballo Lake SUP
Caballo Lake is a bit more remote and harder to access, but it’s worth the journey. The lake varies significantly in size by the season, with over 11,500 acres of water at full capacity and 5,384 at its lowest, greatly altering the shoreline depending on when you visit.

Caballo Lake is one of the best fishing spots in the entire state, with some of the largest Bass, Walleye, and Crappie reeled in from the calm and tranquil waters. Bald Eagles and Golden Eagles nest here year-round, living at the base of the beautiful Caballo Mountains surrounding the lake.

Lastly, you can paddle right up to the 96’ tall earthen dam that holds back the Rio Grande, where you’ll find hikers and the occasional animal visitor traveling along its paths. One of the most southern lakes in New Mexico is a great place to stop by once you tire of paddling on Elephant Butte Lake.

Average Clear Weather Days per Year: 280
Distance to Major Cities: 1 Hour and 15 Minutes to Socorro
Motor Vehicles Allowed: Yes
Paddleboard Rentals Available: Yes

5: Lake Sumner

Lake Sumner SUP

Lake Sumner is a go-to paddleboarding destination for those traveling around the eastern side of the state or for wildlife or flora enthusiasts who want to capture the beauty of nature. Lake Sumner is a popular resting spot for migratory birds in the winter, such as Cranes, Hummingbirds, Orioles, Warblers, Eagles, and others. Barbary Sheep, Bison, Oryx, Bears, and several other mammals, large and small, will wander and drink from the clean blue waters.

The State Park keeps the lake stocked with Bass, Crappie, and Catfish, though you’ll be doing the state a favor if you take a few of the overabundant Walleye home with you. With animals to look for in the air, land, and water, you’ll want to bring a camera to capture the beautiful wildlife and scenery of Lake Sumner.

Average Clear Weather Days per Year: 278
Distance to Major Cities: 2 Hours and 30 Minutes to Albuquerque
Motor Vehicles Allowed: Yes
Paddleboard Rentals Available: Yes

Conclusion: Plan Your Paddle Board Trip and Have Fun!

Thank you for visiting our top recommended paddleboarding destinations for the state of New Mexico! We hope you’ve enjoyed reading our recommendations, but we rely on reader help to grow and expand our lists as well! If you’ve been paddleboarding in New Mexico, feel free to leave a comment below or send us an email with your thoughts on what the best places to paddle in New Mexico are.

We’re working on our lists for states like New York, but while we write those up, why not check out our top fifteen paddleboarding destinations in the US? While you’re here, you’ll also find our latest paddleboard reviews, instructional tips and guides, and in-depth videos discussing paddleboards here at SUPBoardGuide.com!

We hope you enjoy paddleboarding in New Mexico! Stay safe, have fun, and remember to enjoy the sun on your next SUP trip!

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Heyo! At SupBoardGuide.com we are a team who love the water, the outdoors, and are more than grateful that our full-time job allows us to review stand up paddle boards. We paddle year round (it helps that we are just about 2 hours outside of Las Vegas), and we bring in a wide range of paddlers with the goal of providing our readers with the best, most in-depth, and accurate stand up paddle board reviews.

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