Limestone Campground at Brantley Lake State Park

Brantley Dam and Lake
Brantley Lake State Park surrounds the southernmost lake in New Mexico. Full of desert plants and animals, it is an oasis. You can enjoy all of the normal water activities here, as well as many special events such as kite flying and fishing clinics.

The Limestone campground is the developed campground in the park.

Campground data:

Controlling agency: New Mexico State Parks; Brantley Lake
Region: Southeast; Carlsbad area.
CG elevation: 3300ft; 1006m
Campsite count: 51.
Visual density: 13.00.
Fee: $10.00. Electrical hookups are $4.00 and sewer hookups are $4.00.
Season: All year. Summers can be hot.
Dogs: Yes. on leash
Horses: Unknown.
Handicapped accessible: Yes.
RV parking surface: gravel
RV pull-through spaces? Unknown.
General notes: Trails from from this campground to the day use area and lake, and also to the visitor center.

They might sell ice at the visitor center.

Campground facilities: water, trash can(s), flush toilet(s), cooking grill, showers, tent pads (Not at all campsites.), electrical hookups, water hookups, sewer hookups (At some campsites.), RV dump station, reservation sites (reserve at ReserveAmerica.com).
Campground attractions: hiking, wildlife, wildflowers, fishing, boating, swimming, scenery, lake, geology (see the geologic tour of Brantley Lake State Park for details.), year-round access.

When we visited it:

Date: 2001-05-13 2010-04-22
Cleanliness: 10. 10.
General notes: Nothing stops the wind, so spring winds can be fierce.

Waypoints:

Waypoint Type Description
BTLYCGCampgroundBrantley Lake Limestone CG
Limestone CGCampgroundBrantley Lake Limestone Campground

Maps:

Paper maps:
Map name Cartographer Year Scale Topo map? Online access Notes
Carlsbad Caverns National Park National Geographic Trails Illustrated 2001 1:34500 Y from Amazon (purchase) Includes a map of Carlsbad Cavern on the back.
Lincoln National Forest, Guadalupe Ranger District US Forest Service 2003 1:126720 N from Amazon (purchase)
Wildernesses of New Mexico US Forest Service 1981 1:1000000 N No online copies. Base map with national forests, wilderness areas and highways.

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Getting to the campground:

From Carlsbad, head north on US 285. At the signs for the southern entrance to Brantley Lake State Park, turn and drive about four miles and you will see this sign.

No short text

About the campground:

Site 32
The campsites all have shades, which during the summer are essential to avoid baking in the sun. Many of these campsites have areas for tents.
A playground (this is the old one) and soda machine are located near the bathroom complex (which includes showers).
The playground
No short text
Being in the desert means desert plants, such as these beautiful claret cup cactus. In general, assuming there has been sufficient rain at the right time, you will see plenty of wildflowers.

Plants we saw around the campground:

Reader comments about this campground:

From the webmaster:

This campground has been the subject of way too many comments of a political nature. I'm calling a halt to them and I have removed the political parts from the comments below. This is a site about camping and hiking, not water politics. If you add a political comment, I will remove it.

Happy camping!
Kenneth Ingham
ExploreNM.com webmaster

On Tue Aug 19 21:27:47 2003 Anonymous from Roswell NM said:
Great Lake. Clean. The only problem is that it can get low because the water is used for purposes other than recreation.

On Sat Oct 16 07:17:57 2004 Anonymous from texas said:
I love driving up to the lake for fishing. I have yet to go there and not catch something. Great lake!

On Tue Mar 13 08:14:28 2007 Steve from Klecknersville, PA said:
We stayed in the primitive campground after a visit to Carlsbad. The only negative was that we could hear a motor running in the distance through the night---probably some kind of pump for the dam. Other than that it was great---and the showers on site were a plus.

On Sun May 20 17:26:43 2007 Micki from Clovis, NM said:
I would like to say to all those who are lookin for a campsite in New Mexico, this is a great place to camp. We once lived in Carlsbad and would go here for a quick weekend get away...the camp ground over looks the lake and wow what sunsets...the bathrooms are very clean along with the showers...we camped here at least 6 times...we have moved from Carlsbad but would go here again to camp..and if your into boating, go in the summer months and have a blast...

On Sat Jun 9 20:24:18 2007 Bowfisher from Hobbs from Hobbs, NM said:
I think most of you need to complain about the high levels of DDT (pesticides) in the water at Brantley. The NM State Game and Fish Commission just released an ordinance banning individuals to consume or take home any fish species from Brantley and the Pecos River south of the lake.

So much for our kids in this area to enjoy fishing. Now we have to worry about getting a mouth full of lake water while out smimming/skiing etc. A biologist at the commission meeting stated "it will take years or even centuries for DDT levels to susbside".

On Sat Jun 16 20:53:53 2007 Justin from Lovington, NM, said:
While I am normally one of the boondockers that camp on the north shore of the lake I have visited the park and must say that it is well kept. I wish we had a marina and developed swimming area, but I know that would cost a lot.

I grew up camping and skiing on the Tennessee River and was worried I wouldn't get to share that experience when I moved out here to haul oil. Happily I was wrong. This lake is close enough to home to come down every weekend and park my trailer right next to the shore! Thanks a lot!!!

On Thu Jul 5 13:17:50 2007 CONNIE from ODESSA TX said:
My family and I visit the lake at least 3 times a year and we love it.

On Thu Aug 30 13:12:18 2007 Cookie from Texas said:
My family and I have camped here several times, and we love it. It is peaceful and a nice getaway from the city lights, I love the cool breeze in the evenings from the lake, and yes the campsites are very nice as well as the showers. So sad to here all the conplaining going on. We plan on visiting again very soon. God Bless Yall.

On Mon Oct 1 19:42:30 2007 Anonymous from el paso tx said:
great lake with very clean facilities. my family went there just expecting to enjoy the lake but were jazzed to find out that we were able to jump in the river about 3 miles from the entrance of the lake. great way to relax and cool off. like someone already stated the sunsets are priceless. as far as all the water rights issues mentioned before just get to the lake, kick back by the water and enjoy the sunset.

On Mon Oct 8 15:56:11 2007 easterner from Hobbs, NM said:
I am new to this area & often explore the country when I am off from work. I came upon this park when traveling from Carlsbad to Roswell. Some of the developed campsites are well situated, with nice views & a (false) sense of privacy. The park is very nice for this area of NM (more shade, less dust, etc.)

I find the water area to be pretty disgusting. Trash, murky water, many noisy motors on the lake, & a very rough shore. Wear shoes if you're wading.

On Wed Mar 19 09:59:11 2008 japheaux from Canyon, TX said:
I have camped in NM several times and have had great times. I miss not having fire rings at the campsites, but have seen some of the cleanest restrooms I have ever seen at any campground at NM sites.

On Sat Apr 19 14:38:36 2008 Rick and Kim from Alamogordo, N.M. said:
Recently my husband and I had the pleasure of finding this hidden jewel - Brantley Lake State Park - and stayed 3 nights and 2 days there in our motorhome. We saw huge jack rabbits, cute cottontail rabbits, road runners, doves, and more. It was nothing but peaceful! The camp rangers were so nice and helpful! Our only regret was that we didn't have another week to stay there and we had to get home. So, we are going to go back to Brantley Lake as soon as possible and stay as long as we possibly can! There are things to do around Carlsbad if you get antsy, but if you just want to sit and read a book, well, it's perfect for that. Anyone who wants peace and quiet and to feel like you're a million miles away from everything - it's the place to come. Great weather too! No hurricanes, no tornados, no floods, no blizzards or ice storms to worry about.

On Wed Apr 23 15:05:46 2008 Monica from Houston, TX said:
I am proud to say that I was the project secretary for the company (Monterey Construction) that built Brantley Dam. I check the website just to see the photos of Brantley Lake. Unfortunately, I moved away from Carlsbad in 1986 before there was any water in the lake but it sure looks beautiful now!! It was one of the neatest jobs I've ever had - there were 800 people on our jobsite for a little over 4 years. I'm glad to have been a contributing member to such a monumental structure and park. Have fun camping!! I miss New Mexico weather....

Monica

Houston, TX

On Wed May 14 15:16:54 2008 Amanda from Albuquerque, NM said:
Brantley Lake was absolutly beautiful and quiet. The site are kept very clean and you have great views of the lake. We camped with our 7 and 2 year old and the showers (which were very clean) helped to keep them from getting to dirty. In the morning you awake to all the birds song. Only had a couple downfalls which was the wind, tried to keep is from pitching our tent, but that is expected for this time of year and the other being these thorn ridden bushes that attacked us while we fought the wind to pitch our tent. All was wonderful and we can't wait to go back and camp there again. I give Brantley Lake two thumbs up for sure.

On Thu May 29 10:16:45 2008 NOT A HAPPY CAMPER from Artesia, N.M. said:
Memorial weekend 2008 my family and 4 other familys were camping together at one of the primitive pay sites. The Rangers did not treat us as paying guests they treated us as tresspasser on their property, They were not friendly at all. On this lake you can pay to camp on the primitive side or you can camp on the west side for free. the pay side offers one bathroom in a central location, boat ramp and militant Rangers. The free side offers no bathroom and you can launch your boat from the shore in most places and avoid the not so friendly Rangers, after this weekend we choose the free side.

On Thu Jul 2 13:40:59 2009 elsa from Seminole said:
It has been about 10 or 11 years since I had been up to the lake but this past May we made a quick stop on our way back from EL Paso just to check it out, The ranger at the check in was very nice and friendly and we also talked to a couple of rangers out by the lake and they also were very friendly and answered some questions we had, we were thinking of going out there for the 4th of July but the only thing that I was unhappy about was that I think the park looks just as it did 10 years ago the trees and shurbs out there need watering and it looked as if not enough care is given to the campsite. We also went in the restrooms and the ladies was very dirty and stinky. I know there is a watering system out there for the trees and shurbs. It really does not a lot of tending out there.

Later, the webmaster replied:
I asked someone who had recently stayed, and they said that the restrooms during their visit were not very dirty or smelly. We were there most recently on May 23, 2009 and the restrooms were clean and not smelly. My best guess is that Elsa hit a time when either the park was short-handed or the campers were creating more of a mess than normal.

On Fri Jul 3 23:15:29 2009 Justin from Hobbs, NM said:
Brantley is a great place to just get away! I was very impressed with the order that is given for the boats to enter the loading dock, and the easy accessible docks. The water was fairly clean, no stinch. To be honest, when I got home to take a shower, I could smell nothing gross. Also, the water has no extra hidious smell. Service is great, people are friendly, great place to be on a saturday afternoon!

On Tue Jul 7 11:38:32 2009 Juan Carlos from Hobbs N.M said:
On July 4 thur July 6 we went camping for the 4 of july weeking at the camping site. There was a lot of rain, but we had some fun even with the storms the only thing is that when i was smaller there was more water. Look more bigger is there something we can do about the water leavol it is too low and in a couple of more verys there won't be a lake.

On Mon Jul 26 15:53:22 2010 Anonymous from Somewhere said:
The good: Area is great, lots of wildlife, nice view.

The bad: After all the add ins, camping here is very expensive. It costs 10 to reserve a spot, it cost us another 10 for an extra car. For some reason, New Mexico considers a trailer and the tow vehicle two different vehicles. I guess I could have pulled the trailer with a couple of ox, but they probably would have charged for them, too. So it went from $15 a night to $25 dollars a night pretty quickly. Didn't really expect that.

Also, the rangers are completely rude. We camped there the two days. They came by and charged me the $10 for the extra car on the first day (and they were nice about it), but the next day, they came by to make sure I paid the $10. While they were there and I was gone getting the receipt, they used the time to go through my stuff in the car. I guess to make sure that I wasn't stealing any of the thorn bushes or cactus. I didn't really appreciate that, especially when they didn't even ask me,just started doing it.

I couldn't find a good way down to the lake from the campground, though admittedly, i didn't spend a lot of time looking. There was a lake loop trail, but it didn't go to the lake, just down close to the lake.

Almost forgot, there were only three showers in the guys restroom, and only two of them worked. There were also only two working showers in the ladies rest room. On the second day, somebody had a huge accident (read went to the bathroom) in one of the showers, so they only had one. When this was reported to the nosy rangers, they said, oh well, today is the cleaning day, so it will be cleaned up sometime.

I know when I spent the previous two nights at the BLM campgrounds by Taos, I had a much better experience in a much nicer campground for a lot less ($12 per night as opposed to the $25 for the state).

All in all, of the 6 nights I spent camping on this trip, I disliked these two nights the most. I think the ranger incidents just left a sour taste in my mouth.

On Fri Aug 27 16:08:40 2010 Tom from El Paso TX said:
We camped at this lake in July 2010. Its a beautiful lake and all the facilities were very clean. Friendly staff and very helpful. Going camping there again in September. Great place. Love New Mexico. So ya'al be grateful that this place is available. Enjoy the wildlife.

On Thu Dec 2 23:00:59 2010 Anonymous from el paso said:
If you stay on the primitive side can you still use all the facilities on the developed side? Also it said there werent any grill on the primitive side and you use a fire pit to cook?

On Tue Oct 11 10:50:48 2011 Yvonne from Lubbock, TX said:
Four families stayed at the Brantley Lake campground this past weekend in October. The campground was amazing. The sites were far away from one another so as to allow us to experience privacy while still being near. The photos of the camp sties in this website don't do them justice!! The playgorund also was awesome AND covered! The photo on the website is old; the playground has new equipment, is bigger, and surrounded by trees and covered. The bathrooms were clean and spacious, we even got all 6 kids to take a shower there! We hiked down to the lake, and although it was very low because of the drought, it was still fun for the kids to wade in. They all got themselves covered with mud/sand and just had a ball being kids. Thank you NM State Parks for maintaining such a great campground! We'll defineely return.

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