El Vado Lake

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El Vado Lake
El Vado lake.jpg
El Vado Lake, August 2009
LocationRio Arriba County, New Mexico
Coordinates36°36′18″N 106°44′53″W / 36.605°N 106.748°W / 36.605; -106.748Coordinates: 36°36′18″N 106°44′53″W / 36.605°N 106.748°W / 36.605; -106.748
Catchment area492 sq mi (1,270 km2)
Basin countriesUnited States
Max. length5 mi (8 km)
Max. width1 mi (2 km)
Surface area3,200 acres (1,300 ha)
Max. depth167.1 ft (50.9 m)
Water volume196,500 acre⋅ft (242,400,000 m3)
Surface elevation6,900 ft (2,100 m)
Location of El Vado Lake within New Mexico

El Vado Lake is a reservoir located in Rio Arriba County, in northern New Mexico in the southwestern United States. Water is impounded by the earth-filled El Vado Dam, on the Rio Chama, 642 feet (196 m) long and 175 feet (53 m) high, completed in 1935. The 3,200-acre (13 km2) lake is 5 miles (8.0 km) long and over 1 mile (1.6 km) wide, and lies at an elevation of 6,900 feet (2,100 m).

The eastern shore of the lake is the El Vado Lake State Park, featuring over 100 camping and picnic sites, and two improved boat ramps. The lake is a destination for salmon and trout fishing, as well as for boating. Unlike nearby Heron Lake, boat speeds are not restricted. A 5.5-mile (8.9 km) hiking trail runs to the north, crosses the Rio Chama Gorge via a pedestrian suspension bridge, and then connects to the Heron Lake State Park.

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