View of lake loop trail from campground

A simple, but relaxing stop in SE New Mexico to visit Carlsbad  Caverns.

Link to campground here: Brantley Lake State Park, NM
Link to map location here: Brantley Lake State Park, NM

  1. Site Quality = 3.5/5
    A bit of a mix on site quality here. On the positive side all the sites are paved with water/electric (50 or 30Amp) and have decent separation, large (and very nice) shelters, grills and tent sites. Also, almost every site has some kind of lake view (a huge positive!). There are also 3 full hook-up sites which are on smaller side. The biggest ding is levelness and there’s a big mix here. Reservation sites (esp. on the outside of the circle) seem to be more short and sloped than non-reservation sites. Overall I recommend going non-reservation and taking your time to find a good site (we were extremely happy with our pull-though #39 and thought it one of the loveliest, most private sites in the loop). For those looking for more privacy the primitive camping area has lovely dirt sites right by the lake (with enough space for big rigs).
  2.  Facilities = 3/5
    The facilities are OK. On plus side they are spacious and kept nicely clean. The negative is they’re rather minimal. So, toilets are all-metal (bit of a cold shock for the backside in the AM), and showers have shared changing area and are on a rather short timer-button.
  3. Location = 4/5
    Overall we liked the location of this park. It’s nicely situated by a lake and within a decent drive (~1 hour) of Carlsbad Caverns and ~12 miles from Carlsbad. Only ding is there’s a bit of a long, curvy drive (~6 miles) from the main highway to the campground. The remote feel does make it relaxing and quiet.
  4. Pet Friendliness = 5/5
    Nice park for doggie. There are a few decent hiking trails (a few miles), plus spurs to the lake. If you take the walk down to the primitive camping area you can play and splash in the water too.

Overall Rating = 3.9
BONUS ALERT =
 Camp in the high desert with full lake views!

Summary: We chose this campground primarily to visit nearby Carlsbad Caverns (~1 hour away) and really ended up enjoying the remote and relaxing feel of the place. The campground is nicely located on a hill-top overlooking Brantley Lake so almost all the sites have some kind of lake view. There are a couple of cute, little hiking trails and direct access to the lake from the primitive area (great for doggie in the afternoon). On the negative side sites are a bit of a mix. All have very electric/water, lovely sitting areas, large shelters, grills, tent sites and nice views, but vary quite a bit in how level they area. Non-reservation sites seem the best bet. For those looking for more privacy the primitive camping area has lovely dirt sites right by the lake (with several areas large enough for big-rigs -> if the weather were cooler that’s where we’d go). Another thing to be aware of is every now and then (especially on a still day) you will get some sulphur smell from the nearby gas fields. Overall however we loved our view, found the campground very relaxing, and would certainly come again.

Extra Info:  Verizon full signal both for smartphone and aircard. Sites cost $8/night for primitive, $14/night for water/electric (either 50 or 30 Amp) and $18/night for full hook-up (3 sites available). Camping fees can be covered with New Mexico Annual Camping Permit. Approx. half of campground is reservation, other half is first-come-first-serve. On-site dump station.

Typical back-in site view (#22 shown)

View of pull-through site (#44 shown)

View of our lovely (and private) pull-through (#39)

View of grill and tent pad in front of our site (#39)

View down front end of non-reservation loop (#31, 32 shown on left front back)

View down reservation loop (#24, 26 shown on right front to back)

4 Responses to SP Campground Review – Brantley Lake State Park, Carlsbad, NM

  1. wendy says:

    A lot has changed since your visit. I am a frequent visitor to New Mexico State Parks. I have traveled to many of the state parks with my four children and have enjoyed many wonderful nights and days exploring New Mexico. Unfortunately, I had a horrible stay this past weekend at Brantley State Park. It started the first night with the camp host’s dog barking all night, when I went to speak to him the next morning I couldn’t come close to his camp sight because of the dog trying to attack me. It’s the most unwelcoming sign when walking up to the camp HOST spot. The second day I observed the dog chasing off other campers that approached the camp host and than that night the same barking dog until about midnight. The next morning I spoke to the camp Ranger and explained what had occurred and he brushed me off. The third night the camp host hosted a party at his camp sight. The music was extremely loud and the drunken laughter echoed the camp ground and the dog barked continuously the whole night. At 2 am I approached the site to ask them to turn the music down because it woke my children up several times. The whole party was intoxicated and I felt unsafe to continue into a conversation where I might get hurt( Im barely 5’2). I’m not sure what is going on at Brantley Lake State Park but it is not safe for families to stay there. As I was leaving I spot into the Ranger station and spoke with the Ranger again and he was horribly rude and told me that he told him to keep the dog quiet but it didn’t work. I plan on posting my experience on as many web sights I can to inform other visitors to stay clear of Brantley Lake.

    The second thing is that the camp host camp sight is horrific sight to be seen. It is littered with trash , beer cans and looks like someone has lived there for years. Not at all what I have come to expect from a camp hosts site.

    • libertatemamo says:

      Goodness what a terrible experience! That certainly didn’t mirror our time at Brantley. Very sorry to hear about it! Camp hosts make a huge difference to camping experience. Generally they are conscientious and supportive (and that reflects in how camp is run), but this is clearly the case of hiring a bad host. Hopefully they will swap them out soon.
      Nina

  2. Ron Johnson says:

    Your review of this campground is accurate. We are currently camped on site 20. Very quiet at this time. The two camp host sites appear neat and orderly. I usually use the rvparkreviews site. However, I like the completeness of your reviews. Keep up the great work.

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