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Bonito Lake (Currently Closed due to Construction)


  1. Camping
  2. Fishing
  3. Hiking
  4. Restrooms

Department Description

This division is responsible for the management and daily operation of the Bonito Lake Watershed, the Recreational Area, and part of the Bonito pipeline.

 Mission Statement

To manage and preserve Alamogordo's most valuable source of water supply. Additionally, to provide the public a clean, safe recreational site in which they can picnic, camp or fish, and to maintain the Bonito Lake campgrounds, the dam, and the Bonito pipeline from the lake to Three Rivers. In addition, to plan and implement Resource Conservation and Development projects.


The Westlake Campground, Blue Hole / Apple Orchard and the Lower Pasture will be closed for camping until further notice. Bonito Lake is also closed for fishing until further notice.


Bonito Lake is approximately 10 miles north of the Village of Ruidoso and is located off of Highway 37.

 Services Provided

The City of Alamogordo is the owner of the Bonito Lake which serves as a potable water supply and a premier recreational area in southern New Mexico. The area is generally open to the public from April 1 through November 30, depending on the weather.

  • Activities allowed at the lake include fishing, camping and hiking.
  • All noise and music be off at 10 p.m.
  • A camp site holds 2 vehicles. A vehicle pulling a trailer is considered one vehicle.
  • Dogs are allowed, but must be kept on a leash 6 feet or shorter, kept out of the water, and must have their poop picked up. Excessive barkers will be asked to leave.
  • Fires are permitted in fire pits only (unless restricted by the Forest Service) and must be attended at all times.
  • The Gate Shack is manned on Friday and Saturday until 11 p.m. or midnight and about 4 p.m. on the remaining days. If you arrive after the staff have left the gate shack, go ahead and find a place to camp, and they will collect your fees the next day. We do not have the means to accept credit cards. The gate is locked only if Westlake is full. In that case you may look for other spots to camp in the primitive camping areas near by. Check out time is 2 p.m.
  • A New Mexico fishing license with a Trout Validation Stamp is required, and may be obtained at any sporting goods store (Western Auto, K-Mart, or Wal-Mart). Fishing is from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m.
  • No firearms or chain saws are permitted.
  • No off-road vehicles of any kind allowed in campgrounds (only on Forest Service Roads).
  • Picnicking, camping, or fires are not permitted on the shores around the lake.
  • Swimming, wading, and boating are not allowed. Fishing is allowed only from the shore.
  • There are no electrical or water hookups for RV's at any of the campgrounds. There is drinking water available at a central location at the Westlake campground, and restrooms, but no showers. Port-a-potties are available through out the camp grounds.
  • A two week notice is required for Reservations for 10 vehicles or more. No reservations are made on holidays or for less than 10 vehicles in a party. It is first come - first served.
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