Bluewater Lake Canyonside campground

Site 35 and the lake view
An open campground near a lake with all of the normal activities one associates with a lake. This campground has electricity and water, but does not have good lake views. For good views without hookups, see the Piñon Cliffs and Lakeside campgrounds, or choose primitive camping on the north and east or soth and west sides of the lake.

Campground data:

Controlling agency: New Mexico State Parks; Bluewater Lake
Official URL:State parks website
Region: West-central; Zuni Mountains.
CG elevation: 7319ft; 2231m
Campsite count: 61.
Visual density: 16.00. The campground is open, which means you can see more of your neighbors, both close and distant. The lowest visual density of 5 was in site 18.
Fee: $10.00. Add $4.00 for electricity.
Season: All year. It is cold in the winter and might have snow. The lake freezes over most winters and people ice fish and ice skate on it.

Reservations are taken for some sites May 15--September 15.

Dogs: Yes. On a leash no longer than 10 ft and not noisy or bothering others.
Horses: Unknown. There are no corrals, but there is a "horse hotel" right outside the park.
Handicapped accessible: Yes. Two campsites (8 and 9) are noted as for handicapped. One requires a handicapped placard.
General tent notes: Some sites have tent pads.
RV parking surface: gravel
RV pull-through spaces? Yes.
RV parking notes: Some sites are pull-through, others are back-in.
General RV notes: Some sites have electrical and a few have water hookups.
General notes: This campground is composed of three loops, not all of which are open all year. The upper electric two loops (sites 1–15 and 23--27) and non-electric (sites 16--22)

This campground is immediately next to the Piñon Cliffs (sites 28--40) and Lakeside (sites 41--62) campgrounds.

When we visited, the flush toilets and showers were is severe need of maintenance. It was scheduled for the winter of 2009--2010, so it has hopefully been completed.

Campground facilities: water (a few campsites have water at the campsite), trash can(s), vault toilet(s) (in the non-electric loop), flush toilet(s) (near the electric loops), fire pit, showers (near the electric loops), tent pads (in some campsites only), electrical hookups (in the electric loop only), water hookups (very few campsites have water hookups), RV dump station, reservation sites (reservations are accepted May 15 through September 15 only).
Campground attractions: hiking, wildlife, wildflowers (There were many more than what is listed in the plants section; we did not have time to identify them all.), fishing, boating, swimming (You must stay 150 ft from boat ramps and the dam.), scenery, lake, geology, year-round access (Some campground loops are closed in winter.).

When we visited it:

Date: 2009-09-26
Cleanliness: 7. In one site, I picked up 36 small pieces of litter, including pieces of broken glass.
General notes: Restroom had vandalized mirrors, toilet, urinal. According to the park, it was scheduled for maintenance in winter 2009-2010.

Waypoints:

Waypoint Type Description
CanyonsideCGCampgroundCanyonside campground at Bluewater Lake State Park

Maps:

Paper maps:
Map name Cartographer Year Scale Topo map? Online access Notes
Guide to Indian Country of Arizona Colorado New Mexico Utah Automobile Club of Southern California 1998 1:0 N from Amazon (purchase) Good overview road map for northwest NM. No scale is given on the map. The corner coordinates are approximate.
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:

Exit Interstate 40 (I-40) at exit 63 for Prewitt. Head south on NM 412. You should see a sign indicating that the park is 7 miles.

Note that the road is very curvy after the cell tower, and you should heed the speed limit signs.

NM 412 ends in the park. The entrance is 5.9 miles from I-40, and the campground itself is 6.6 miles from I-40.

No short text

About the campground:

Diana Northup and our truck in campsite 5
This campground does have nice views off toward Mount Taylor. Here, Diana reads in site 5 with the mountain in the background. We used the electricity to power the laptop to work on the website code.
This is site 15, with the showers and flush toilets in the background. Beware: Several people cut through this campsite on their way to the toilets. We initially picked this site but moved for this reason.
Campsite 15 and the toilet/shower building in the background
Site 21 and tent area
The non-electric loop portion was closed for the season when we visited. This loop has more trees and nice tent sites, such as here at site 21.

If you use the tent pad areas, you are setting up on gravel, but it is fairly level.

For this portion of the campground, you can walk to the flush toilets mentioned above, or you can use the vault toilets in this loop.

The non-electric loop also have dramatic views into the canyon below (hence the name for the campground of "Canyonside"). You can hike into this canyon on the (aptly-named) Canyon Trail.
View from campground into the canyon
campsite 18
This is site 18, the campsite with the lowest visual density.

Plants we saw around the campground:

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