There is so little information out there about destinations in northern New Mexico, so I am going to try to do my part and write up our experiences in these ‘destination’ posts.
Cabresto lake is a beautiful mountain lake at the end of a 2 mile switchback road that sometimes resembles a riverbed. If you head into Questa on the way to Red River, there is a clearly marked sign for the turn off to Cabresto. This road takes you through a residential neighborhood and onto a mountain dirt road for a few miles until the again clearly marked turn off to the climb to the lake. Incidentally, if you ignore the turn to Cabresto and keep going there are some nice campsites along the river on the left.
Back to the lake. Our awd minivan handled the road to Cabresto fine but I was relieved when we were done because the engine did not love it and it was slow going. There was an old Honda sedan at the top amongst the jeeps and huge trucks, so patience and careful driving should get most vehicles up the road just fine with good road conditions. We were however, the only minivan drivers. I am missing the xterra pro4x right now.
Once at the top, there are two or three tent sites near the road and parking lot- not secluded enough for our tastes, so we went back down to find a spot after visiting the lake. But the views are glorious. The parking lot features a single porta potty and a couple of picnic tables. You have to walk down to the lake shore and the sides are pretty sloped. This is great unless you have a busily crawling 10 month old with limited balance! We had fun anyway because the lake is clear and beautiful.
There were a lot of people fishing, mostly near the dam and there was plenty of tree lined shore for us to find our own spot. The boy and I paddled to the far side of the lake enjoying the lake as the only watercraft. There is a trail that goes up to another lake I believe, but I’ll have to wait until the boys are older to experiment with that. We might try to do an overnight sometime mid-week to avoid the surprising crowds, but all in all it was a lovely adventure and definitely worth the trip. The scenery along the enchanted circle, is unsurprisingly beautiful and getting that high up into the mountain air is always rewarding.