The visitor center and state park headquarters are reached by roads 179 and 195; near the junction, a spur road leads to facilities including a launch ramp near Marina Del Sur
, and to a number of picnic areas and overlooks. A $5 fee (2019) is collected for day use. The scenery hereabouts is typical of the whole lake - earthen hills sloping quite gently down to the water, sparsely covered with straggly bushes and cacti, many small bays and inlets, several islands, and a higher range of hills along the inaccessible east side of the reservoir. The main shoreline access is a little further north, via Rock Canyon Drive
, forking off Hwy 195 in the middle of Elephant Butte, a small village offering all kinds of boat-related businesses. This paved road follows close to the water's edge for 8 miles before turning inland and meeting I-25 at exit 89. En route are many side roads, some paved with facilities and self-pay fee stations, others unpaved and free to enter. Half way along is the residential area of Highlands, while for RVs, the place to stay is the campground on South Monticello Point
- a treeless promontory that has fine views over much of the lake. The campground contains 50 electric/water RV sites and is near a boat launch ramp. Tent camping is also available at three other locations further south (Desert Cove, Lion's Beach, Quail Run). Beyond Rock Canyon Road, several other parts of the west side of the lake are reachable by unpaved tracks starting from I-25, though the waterway is quite narrow and shallow in this region.
A few miles south of the lake, Truth Or Consequences
has a small selection of hotels.
Map of Elephant Butte Lake State Park