New Mexico EMNRD
Visitor center. Interpretive trail. Picnic areas. Boat ramps and docks. Campgrounds. Showers. Toilets. Hiking trails.
Once a city park, Sugarite Canyon is now one of New Mexico's top-rated state parks. The primary features are Lake Maloya, the Sugarite ghost town ruins and historic coal mines, two campgrounds, and spectacular geology. The park is home to a variety of New Mexico wildlife including trout, black bears, mountain lions, elk, and deer. Numerous events take place annually such as interpretive walks, the Master of the Mountain Race, and the Annual Fishing Derby.
The park has a very natural feel that is aided by it's geographical location, tucked in a canyon surrounded by mesa walls. Wildlife is abundant. Most of the trails are designed to take visitors away from the busy highway corridor and into the backcountry. And the park is known for wildflowers, birds, and butterflies. The most natural experiences are found found while hiking the moderately-rugged Opportunity Trail and Wapiti Trail.
It does get busy though, especially in the summers and weekends. Lake Maloya is especially popular with families and fishermen.
There is a fee, paid daily or annually, for visiting New Mexico State Parks.
Hiking Opportunities: The park has multiple hiking trails ranging from moderately rugged mountain trails to an easy boardwalk for bird-watching. The Coal Camp Interpretive Trail winds through the remains of the town of Sugarite, New Mexico. Little Horse Mesa Trail is a steep climb to the top of a lava cap mesa. The longest trail is the Opportunity Trail, which makes a loop to the western edge of the property. There are 15 miles of trail in total, and a trail guide with maps is available online.
Paddling Opportunities: Although only 130 acres, Lake Maloya is decent for paddling. Motorboats are not allowed on the lake, making it peaceful and quiet most of the time. Two inlets on the west side prevent the lake from being too monotonous.
Boating is not allowed on Lake Alice, and it's probably too small to be worthwhile attempting anyway.
Camping Opportunities: The park has two campgrounds: The Soda Pocket Campground is heavily occupied by RVs. The Lake Alice Campground consists of drive-in campsites, but the sites are less RV-friendly. There are no walk-in campsites. Wilderness camping is not allowed.
Official website: Link
Official Sugarite Canyon State Park Trail Guide: pdf
Local photography web page: Link