Sugarite Canyon State Park

Sugarite Canyon State Park, Raton: Address, Phone Number, Sugarite Canyon State Park Reviews: 4.5/5

Sugarite Canyon State Park
The area
Popular mentions

136 reviews
Very good

Albuquerque, NM4 contributions
Coal Camp Trail Was Perfect!
Oct 2020 • Family
We did the Coal Camp Trail because my son is a big fan of ghost towns. It was really cool to see the remains of the old houses, doctor’s office, general store etc. The scenery was stunningly beautiful and we experienced a magical ten minutes when a hawk hovered majestically overhead about 10 feet above (so close we could see the details of its feathers/talons).
Written October 10, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Canada927 contributions
Neat that rangers keep bee hives near visitor center
Jun 2020
In terms of State Parks, this is a very small one. One day, possibly two, is all you need to see it all. We managed to do all the trails in one day (some walking, some biking) and we are both in our 60’s.

Although the visitor center was closed due to Covid-19, they left free brochures (one for the whole park, another just for the ruins) outside. With these, it was easy to find our way around. The ranger was taking care of the bee hives near the visitor center and when she saw us, she asked if we had any questions or needed any help even when the visitor center was closed. Although the restrooms were closed too (again due to Covid-19), there was a porter-potty by Lake Alice.

Note on the water spigot states that the water needs to be boiled for 5 minutes (better bring your own, don’t count on the park’s water if you don’t have to).

We biked one of the trails (about 5 miles) that went around Lake Maloya, with a detour to Lake Dorothey. The trail started on the left side of the Lake Maloya dam and was clearly marked as allowing bicycles. By the time we got to the north end of Lake Maloya, we were now in Colorado, and the gate there was clearly marked as NO-BIKING allowed. We didn’t want to be biking where we were not supposed to, so we quickly returned to the New Mexico side. It seems like the two states should better align their rules/regulations, so bikers like us are not caught in the middle (upon our return, we found that the park’s map stated that bicycles are prohibited in Colorado. We hadn’t noticed that footnote at first).

The bike ride was great except in a couple of places where the trail is grooved so deep from so much traffic that our pedals would touch the sides, making it a tad tedious. Overall, however this is a nice place now that it has recuperated from the fire of nearly a decade ago.

We saw many deer, lots of fresh canine (not sure if fox or coyote) and bear scats, a dead badger, wild turkeys, and several birds from heron to hummingbirds. The place is repopulating with wildlife post-fire.

We met one of the hosts who was fishing, and he had already caught several 14” trout, and it was still early in the day.

You can rent kayaks/canoes but beware of the wind, going north may be easy but returning may be a challenge. We saw two ladies really fighting the wind on their return after an easy glide the other way. Swimming in the lake is not allowed but paddle-boarding is.

The best part was biking back from the Lake Maloya dam all the way to the visitor center – four miles of great downhill speed… Thankfully, there was no traffic at the time.

I wouldn’t go out of my way hundreds of miles to come visit this park but if you are in the Raton area, it’s worth just a day’s detour. Enjoy
Written June 29, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

7 contributions
Peaceful stop
Dec 2019 • Solo
I love stopping here when traveling between Wyoming and southern New Mexico! There are two campgrounds and the upper campground has a gorgeous view. Bring your own water as the water from the pumps is questionable. In the summer (when there's foliage), the camp sites are private. Sweet little trails and lakes. I like that it's a first come first serve campground rather than one in which people make online reservations. Winter camping offers solitude. Well maintained. Shower facility down the road toward town.
Written February 2, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Peter A Morrell
Unionville, Canada2,075 contributions
An afternoon well spent!!
Jun 2019
It has been many years since I've been to the Raton area and typically whenever I was in the area it was just a quick to use the bathroom or get gas. On this visit, it was on a Friday afternoon and I had a few hours to kill and wanted to actually see some of the area. I remembered from years past that there were some lakes up in the mountains that I had always wanted to see and now was my chance. The Park is only about 20 miles from Raton and the roads were not that busy. The drive up is really nice as you see mountains, hills ranches, and some great scenery. On the way to Lake Maloya I stopped at one of the smaller lakes, Lake Alice and spent about half an hour checking it out. There really isn't access to that lake but you can tell its frequented by anglers. It is a nice small scenic lake.

I then made my way up to Lake Maloya which is a reservoir for the area and right on the Colorado border. The lake is magnificent!! On a nice warm summer day, there was a nice breeze and no bugs. There were boaters on the lake, some people canoeing and some campers but it was not that busy at all. I spent a good two hours stopping and driving farther up the lake until I came to the gate that takes you to Dorothy Lake ( for another time). The views are just amazing, I suggest bringing a canoe or kayak and spending a good day there. I'm not sure if there is swimming since I didn't see anyone swimming in the water.

Next up was Sugarite canyon, and when you stop at the main entrance they use the honour system where you pay, so please pay!!! I made my way to the visitors center and got a map of the trails. The canyon is a great place to hike and I saw no one else on the trail and felt like I had the place to myself. I can't describe how nice it was walking through the canyon, and all there is to see. I highly recommend hiking with a buddy since it is in a remote area and I saw a few different animal tracks as I made my way through the trails. In short, this area is worth a visit, you can spend a few hours there or a few days, its truly part of the magnificence that is New Mexico.
Written January 4, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Noah Culotta
Catonsville, MD5 contributions
Beautiful wilderness
Jun 2019
I was in Raton for three days for a family reunion, so I decided to take advantage of Sugarite Canyon's close proximity to Raton and go for an outing there. I drove through the Raton countryside until I reached the visitor center, where I got some brochures and bought a baseball cap. There was a nice lady who explained where the best parts of parts were and I went to those places. I went hiking on a trail right by the visitor center, and the view was amazing. After I finished hiking, I drove for about 10 minutes to Lake Maloya. The water was very cold and you are't allowed to swim there, but you are allowed to fish there, and it was extremely beautiful. After spending about 90 minutes at Lake Maloya, I drove out of the state park to Capulin Volcano. Sugarite Canyon State Park is absolutely amazing and deserves more recognition. I'll definitely come here next time I am in Raton.
Written December 20, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Beavercreek, OH28 contributions
Great hiking, very scenic.
Aug 2019
Had a nice hike here. Several different ability levels for the trails, all scenic and beautiful. I went on a morning, and it was quiet and peaceful as expected.
Written October 13, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Canberra, Australia159 contributions
Exceeded our expectations!
Aug 2019 • Family
Hiking, tours, wildlife and the great outdoors!
We were seriously considering canceling our camping reservations but, are so glad we didn’t!
This place is a gem!
We camped at Lake Alice and did a couple of hikes in the park. The campground host, Ben, was friendly and helpful. The campground, although full, was quiet and each site was private.
We took the coal mine tour (free) and our ranger guide was Michelle. The tour was just outstanding!
We did take a drive at dusk, hoping to catch the meteorite shower, and encountered a skunk running along the main road and several deer.
Written August 14, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Sunrise Beach, MO10 contributions
Raton Pass -- North Eastern New Mexico
Jun 2019 • Solo
I stayed 2 days in Raton, New Mexico which is 5- or 6-miles West of Sugarite Canyon and explored this area. There is a nice clear water lake and a number of hiking trails in the state park as well as secluded camp grounds with many trees, (a rarity in other areas of New Mexico). The park headquarters is very helpful and knowledgeable concerning best hikes for an older person like myself. I hiked to the top of a mesa with spectacular views of the surrounding high plains.

There was a forest fire in parts of the park in 2011, but it is mostly recovered now. Many wildflowers, grasses, and trees when I was there in mid-June, 2019.

This is a historically interesting area with Raton pass (7800 ft.), Trinidad Colorado, and the town of Raton New Mexico all within easy driving distance.

Early Texas cattle drives as well as the Santa Fe trail came through the pass which was commandeered by outlaws at one point charging a fee to cross the most accessible 'saddle' in the eastern Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Today I-25 and Amtrak run through Raton Pass.

The adventurous heading east from Raton can explore the ‘Dry Cimarron Scenic Byway’ into the Oklahoma panhandle. I drove this route and saw 2 or 3 cars in a space of 100 miles. Terrific views with long horizons and mesas in this cattle ranch country.

Ridin’ against the wind in east New Mexico,
His skin is dry and worn as the Texas plains.
He's headed where the air is thin and the cold blue northers blow,
Up through the Raton Pass, but he'll have to beat the early snow,
Clint Black

I love everything about the Southwestern U.S. – Native American and Spanish influence, the spicy food, the history, and the landscape; but then I am prejudiced having been born in Albuquerque.
Written July 2, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Jackie M
Exira, IA53 contributions
Scenery awesome
Jun 2019 • Solo
The views, scenery and wildlife are abundant at this lovely underused park. It was a beautiful day and nature sounds were soothing.
Written June 20, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Larry C
Wichita Falls, TX59 contributions
Looks a lot different than 2013!
Jun 2019 • Family
We had a great camping experience back in 2013 and looked forward to bringing our 13 yr old grandson on this trip. It really looked a lot different. Back then, a recent fire had devastated part of the park and the drought had taken it's toll, but we still had a blast. This time, the regrowth was amazing. They had added new camp sites in Soda Pocket area and added awnings over all the tables. We opted to stay in Raton this trip, but revisited all the old sites. The staff here is amazingly friendly and eager to help. We returned the following day to fish and the Fish and Game Dept. were there stocking Lake Mayola, which is located at the north end of the park. Our grandson caught his first ever trout-18.5 inches long, weighing appox. 3.5 lbs. We cooked our fish at a nice picnic area near the lake and enjoyed a spectacular view. The high point of a week long trip!
Written June 16, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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