In the heights of the Sierra Blanca Mountains, you will find Bonito Lake which is an alpine reservoir. Bonito Lake lies within New Mexico, specifically in Ruidoso. Surrounded by lush Lincoln National Forest, it is a picturesque setting for camping and fishing as well as providing water to Alamogordo.
Rainbow trout reside in the cold water of the Lake, and the water is chilly throughout the year due to the high altitude. Camping spots and hiking trails surround the lake. The lake measures 1500 acre-feet when it is full to capacity.
Unfortunately, the Little Bear Fire during 2012 forced the lake to shut down recreational activities. The site will reopen once it has been drained and dredging is complete. The potential opening date will be between Summer 2018 and late 2020.
The camping grounds at Lake Bonito have been closed for restoration while the reservoir is being repaired. Nonetheless, there are still many other campgrounds in the surrounding area, which are perfect for camping and will give you access to many other activities.
Choose from one of the many camping grounds near Bonito Lake. most offer activity access, such as fishing in run-off streams or small dams, bicycling, hiking trails and nature appreciation.
Some of the camping grounds in the area include:
Bonito Hollow Campground
Seeping Springs Trout Lake
Three Rivers Trading Post
Another option is to stay at one of the RV parks near Bonito Lake in Ruidoso. There are many options to choose from including:
Moonflower Meadow RV Resort
Pinon Hills RV Park
Riverside RV Park – strictly for adults over the age of 21
Sands Motel & RV Park
Silver Leaf RV Park
The lake was forced to close to the public when the Little Bear Fire left destruction in its path. About half a million ton of ash and silt ended up at the bottom of the lake. The water may look healthy but it still contains waste products, although tests have shown that the debris does not contain any hazardous substances.
The land surrounding the lake underwent some erosion making the campgrounds partly inaccessible. Bonito Lake had to be drained and dredged to check for damage and to fix potential issues. The project is ongoing but no date has yet been set to reopen Bonito Lake.
The state has not been stocking any fish in Lake Bonito as the water suffers from oxygen deprivation. It is unclear how long fish will actually be able to live in the water currently. Any fish that can be found in the Lake has entered the water from the Rio Bonito will likely die.
The city has posted notices saying that people cannot fish in the lake and may not be in the area. The restriction on access, combined with the unknown fish stock levels, makes it impossible to fish in Bonito Lake. It is best to wait till the Lake reopens or fish in the streams surrounding the area and in the Rio Bonito.
Cabins, campgrounds and RV parks are found near Bonito Lake. Cabins provide a comfortable accommodation experience to Lake visitors. There are several options available for visitors to choose from near Bonito Lake.
Little Moon Ruidoso is only a 40 minute drive away from Bonito Lake! It has the perfect rooms to book because its close to Ruidoso’s downtown area as well as Inn of the Mountain Gods Resort & Casino. Each room is equipped with Wi-Fi, TV, and uniquely decorated to give you a “home-like” feeling.
The Bottlehouse Cabins are found at the foot of the Sacramento Mountains and lie within lush scenery. Tastefully decorated cabins provide full kitchens and flat-screen TVs in living areas. Each cabin has internet access, surround sound and large porches with unique seating.
The cabins have scenic views and you can drink in nature from the comfort of the cabin’s porch. Activities such as birdwatching, hiking, and cycling are closeby. Fishing is available along the banks of several dams and creeks, even though Bonito Lake is not currently accessible.
The Rainbow Lake RV & Cabins offer clean accommodation to anyone visiting Lake Bonito. The staff is friendly and there are many activities close to the cabins.
The homely cabins at Whispering Pines feature fireplaces, unique decor, and comfortable seating areas. The cabins offer quality linen, hairdryers, movie rental, warm refreshments, and gas grills. Wireless internet and phones are available in the cabins, which are also pet-friendly.
Cabins have interesting names such as Salmon Run, Bears Way, Blue Spruce, and Juniper. Studio rooms can sleep two people and have a kitchenette, or sleep up to four people and have a full kitchen. Some cabins, such as Cherry Tree and Pinecone, have a private whirlpool to enjoy.
Cabin Fever, Road Runner and Redwood are one-bedroom cabins sleeping four, with a whirlpool and full kitchen. Bear Country sleeps four people in two rooms, and Ponderosa sleeps six in two bedrooms.
Larger cabins are available if you want to accommodate more people. These include Coyote (sleeps 10), Mountain View (sleeps 8), Castle (sleeps 12), and Trailhead Hideaway (sleeps 10). Choose between several bedrooms and find the perfect option for your stay.
Bonito Lake is found 14 miles from the northwest of Ruidoso. The Bonito Creeks flow into and out of Bonito Lake. It is located in Lincoln County at 2249 meters elevation. Blue Canyon and Kraut Canyon are close to the reservoir. Bonito Lake is found east of Blue Hole Pond and very close to Bonito Dam. Little Creek Spring, Fox Spring, and various mines are located close to the Lake.
Bonito Lake is situated in a scenic area of Lincoln County. The area is rich with nature, wildlife, and offers visitors a variety of activities. Although Bonito Lake will not be accessible for some time, there are lots of other places to visit surrounding the Lake.
Explore the area through hiking trails, on a bike or by car. Spend your time enjoying the beauty of nature, visit the local shops or go fishing at one of the water bodies. Lake Bonito is a great place to visit in Ruidoso, New Mexico.
Every guest deserves a comfortable room to relax while on vacation. With trees outside your cabin and wifi in your room, you’ll feel right at home alongside nature.