Truth or Consequences has one of the oddest names in America. In 1950, “Truth or Consequences” radio show host Ralph Edwards challenged his listeners to rename their town for one day in honor of the show's 10th Anniversary. Several communities came forward in response to this challenge; Edwards selected the town of Hot Springs due to its reputation as a destination for the healing arts. When Edwards brought his show to town a Fiesta was held in his honor. Shortly thereafter the town voted to change its name permanently, and its annual Fiesta has been held on the first weekend in May for over 60 years.

Visitors to T or C (as the locals call it) will find ten different hot mineral bath facilities located in the downtown Historic Hot Springs District. Over the past several years T or C has experienced a renaissance. Visitors may now find everything from upscale spa hotels to budget accommodations, home style restaurants to fine dining, shops that offer second hand merchandise to fine art, and two museums: the Geronimo Springs Museum and the Hamilton Military Museum.

The area surrounding T or C offers a variety of outdoor activities. Watersports abound at nearby Elephant Butte Lake State Park, kayak down the Rio Grande, explore the “living ghost towns” of Sierra County, and hike, horseback ride or camp in the nearby Gila National Forest.

Elephant Butte Lake State

Elephant Butte Lake State Park: Set in the lower Rio Grande Valley of southcentral New Mexico, Elephant Butte Lake State Park is the largest and most popular state park. Affectionately know as "The Butte", this 40 mile-long reservoir servers as the state's main watersports destination, offering opportunities for just about every form of waterbased recreation, including boating, water-skiing, fishing, scuba diving, and canoeing. It has sandy beaches, quiet little coves, full-service marinas, and enough open water for cabin cruisers and houseboats.

Elephant Butte Lake State Park first opened in 1965. Warm waters, abundant camping, picnicking, boating facilities and easy access off I-25 at Truth or Consequences, attract visitors from all over.

Mild climates create a haven for campers from cooler northern climates during the winter months. Traditionally, Memorial Day Weekend kicks off the high season at the Butte for many visitors coming from Albuquerque and El Paso. Visitation approaches 100,000 during the holiday, which if the park was a city, would be New Mexico's second largest.

The park has numerous camping and picnicking areas, with more than 200 developed campsites and 100 electrical hook-ups for RVs and trailers. Many campsites have shelters and grills. When lake water levels are low, large beach areas attract lake-side campers. Comfort stations with showers, nature trails, dump stations, playgrounds, boat ramps, and concession-run marinas provide comfort, convenience, and a wide array of recreation activities for park visitors. The visitor center contains interpretive exhibits of the geology, history, and ecology of the area.

The Dam: Efforts to dam the Rio Grande to provide a reliable source of water for area farms began in the 1890s. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation began construction of Elephant Butte Dam in 1911. When it was completed in 1916, it was the largest structure built in the United States to impound water, creating the world's largest man-made reservoir at the time. The dam is 306 feet high and 1,674 feet long, and retains a reservoir that covers approximately 36,000 acres.

The Butte's First Residents: More than 100 million years ago, the area was part of a vast shallow ocean. Ancient ammonites, extinct relatives of today's nautilus, have been found. After oceans covering much of New Mexico receded, the area became the warm, humid hunting ground of the tyrannosaurus rex dinosaur. This fierce creature roamed the area more than 60 million years ago. It was the largest land dwelling predator of all time, weighing more than 7 tons and reaching a length of 40 feet. Fossils of this formidable reptile, along with those of an ankylosaur, or armored dinosaur, and a ceratopsian, or horned dinosaur, have been discovered in area rock formations.

Elephants at Elephant Butte? The lake is named for a rock formation that resembles an elephant, at least to some observers who see the left side of its head, with a prominent ear, and its trunk curled by a foot. The formation, which is actually the eroded core of an ancient volcano, is an island in the lake, just northeast of the dam. Although not known when the rock formation and lake were named, this area once was home to real elephants. Fossils of a primitive ancestor of today's elephants, the stegomastadon, have been found just west of the lake. The animal was about 7 feet tall and stocky, with a short skull and long upper tusks.

Human History: The region has been an important center of settlement for thousands of years. Until 1000 A.D., the area was occupied by indian groups, who appear to have lived primarily by hunting and gathering the abundant native wildlife and plants of the surrounding valleys and mountains. Over time, different groups lived and then faded from the area.

During the massive migration of European settlers into the West in the early 19th century, the threat of Indian attacks along the Rio Grande Valley made European settlers reluctant to put down roots in the area. The U.S. Military established Fort Conrad, Fort Craig, and Fort McRae in the mid-1800s to protect settlers. Numerous Hispanic agricultural villages sprang up during this time. The construction of Elephant Butte Dam led to condemnation of many of these settlements, which now lie beneath the waters of the reservoir. A few adobe ruins of old Fort McRae remain on the east side of the reservoir.

Courtesy of New Mexico State Parks Division
Elephant Butte Lake State Park
P.O. Box 13 Elephant Butte, NM 87935
Office: 575 744-5421
Fax: 575 744-9144

Water Sports, Golfing, Hiking, ...

Looking for some of the greatest recreation the greater Truth or Consequences area has to offer? has some of the most complete travel information on hiking, biking, whitewater rafting, camping, and golf courses available in Truth or Consequences. Use the interactive navigation below to quickly jump to a specific recreational activity.

Geronimo Trail National Scenic Byway

The Byway starts and ends in the Gila Wilderness and, for those with 4-wheel drive, Forest Service Road 150 completes the loop. The Trail goes from mountain forests to dry desert, scrub-dotted hills and the largest lakes in New Mexico. Take our virtual tour to see the beauty; come in person to feel the magic.

The Visitors Center is located at 211 Main St., Truth or Consequences, near the center of the designated Byway. Mileage from the Visitor Center to San Lorenzo at the southern end of the trail is approximately 56 miles or 112 miles round trip. Mileage from Truth or Consequences to Beaverhead is approximately 82 miles or 164 miles round trip.

How to get here
The Byway is in southwest New Mexico on Interstate 25, the Pan American Highway , that bisects the state from north to south. We are between two east-west highways, I-10 (1 hour south) and I-40 (2.5 hours north).

Albuquerque International Sunport is 150 miles to the north, just off I-25. From the Airport, drive south on I-25 and exit at Truth or Consequences on Exit 79. Proceed through town until the road divides into one-way downtown streets. The Geronimo Trail Visitors and Interpretive Center is 2 blocks down on the right located adjacent to Geronimo Springs Museum .

El Paso International Airport is about 150 miles south of Truth or Consequences. From El Paso go north on I-10 to Las Cruces, NM and take I-25 north at the junction. Proceed north to Truth or Consequences, and take Exit 75 at Williamsburg. Follow the four-lane highway about a mile until it divides into one-way streets in downtown Truth or Consequences. After 5 blocks on the one-way street, turn left 2 blocks to the one-way street in the opposite direction. Turn left and the Geronimo Trail Visitors and Interpretive Center will be on your right.

Visitors Services

Gasoline is available in a number of locations on the Rio Grande
section of the Byway and is normally available in the communities of Winston and Hillsboro. Since there is only one location selling gas in those communities, you should check availability before a ny extended drive.

No fuel is available on the 36 mile trip from Hillsboro to San Lorenzo or on the 62 mile round trip between Winston and Beaverhead

Boating: Many types of boats (including jetskis and houseboats) are available for rent at one of Elephant Butte Lakes' 3 marinas. Both the Rio Grand Sailing Club and the Southwest Dragboat Association hold frequent tournaments and events. Two annual boat parades, Fly Freedom's Flag (the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend) and the annual Parade of Lights (second Saturday in December) are held annually.

Camping: Over 300 developed campsites are available at the three New Mexico State Parks and there are hundreds more, both with and without services, at locations throughout the Gila National Forest.

Fishing : With New Mexico's 2 largest lakes, the Rio Grande, and the streams and smaller lakes of the Gila, fishing is one of the area's most popular activities. The monthly American Bass tournaments and other fishing events attract crowds. An almost unlimited number of scenic and 'favorite' spots are available for those just wanting to fish. The Gila, althought relatively dry, also offers fishing in its many miles of perennial creeks and rivers as well as in manmade lakes. Some of the more common sport fish found in these waters include Rainbow and Brown Trout, Large and Small Mouth Bass as well as Channel and Flathead Catfish.

There are 2 golf courses along the Byway. Truth or Consequences' Municipal Golf Course offers 9-holes, a putting green and a pitching green. Sierra del Rio Golf Course is an 18-hole course that is affiliated with Sun Country PGA and sponsors regular tournaments. As a part of the new Turtleback Mountain Resort, Sierra del Rio offers a country club atmosphere at day use prices.

There are 5 Museums on the Byway:

Black Range Museum, Hillsboro (no website)
Geronimo Springs Museum, Truth or Consequences
Percha Bank Museum , Kingston
Pioneer Store Museum , Chloride
Veterans Memorial Park , Truth or Consequence

There are hiking trails, nature walks and guided tours in the State Parks on the Byway. The Gila National Forest has hundreds of miles of hiking trails, as well as a number of interpretive trails; 22 miles of the Continental Divide Trail run through the Aldo Leopold Wilderness and can be accessed from Hwy. 59 near Beaverhead or from the Rocky Canyon Campground near San Lorenzo.

Percha Dam State Park is one of the 5 top birding areas in New Mexico and every spring sponsors Migration Sensation , a 2 day education and event celebration. Percha, along with the other 2 State Parks on the Byway were recently designated as Audobon 'Important Birding Areas.' Approximately 337 bird species have been sighted in the Gila. The numerous species of birds found is largely related to the diverse ecological habitat found on the Gila and location on a migratory flight path. Southwest New Mexico Birding information is online at; sites numbered 30 through 37 are within the Byway.

Bicycle traffic is common along the byway. Local bicyclists often take their bikes by car out to a section of the byway, leave the car safely parked along the side of the road and ride their bicycles for several miles and back to the car. There are bicycle endurance races held on NM-152 across the Black Range over Emory Pass This road is also on the southern Bike Centennial route across the U.S. attracting bicyclists from all over the world. Another annual event that attracts national competition is the Elephant Man Triathalon which includes a 26.5 mile bicycle bike course on the perimeter of the lake.

Marina Del Sur


Ski Boats are engineered for water skiing, wake boarding, tubing, or whatever else demands maneuverability and speed.
Skiboat Rental Info

Aqua Lodges

New for 2008 are our aqua lodges. Floating lodging on Elephant Butte Lake.
Aqua Lodge Info

Pontoon Boats

Pontoon boats are known for their stability, ease of use, and fun! Tour the lake, fish, or go to the beach. Ideal for the whole family or small groups.
Pontoon Rental Info


Recreation with a little exercise! Explore the sandy shores of Elephant Butte without disturbing wildlife. For youth and adults.
Kayak Rental Info

Paddle Boats

Paddle boats are great for getting out on the water to relax in the sun and enjoy lake scenery.
Paddle Boat Rental Info



Contact Us
Area Info.
Driving Directions

Veterans Memorial Park

Welcome to the Truth or Consequences Veterans Memorial Park and the Hamilton Military Museum. The Park is dedicated to the memories of family and friends that have dedicated their lives to the service of our Great Country. We encourage all generations to come and experience the "Wall that Heals" as well as other attractions within the park.

In February 2003, a half-scale traveling replica of the world-renowned Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall made its permanent home in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico. This wall was one of a handful of wall replicas traveling throughout the nation. Since its inception in 1996, more than one million people have visited the Memorial Funds Traveling Wall exhibition. Traveling Walls have made stops in nearly 200 U.S. locales in addition to touring the four Provinces of Ireland. This wall, purchased by New Mexico with the assistance of local businessmen, traversed the country for approximately three years before being retired in December 2002.

"The Wall That Heals speaks not only to the loss, but of the lives of 58,420 men and women named on the wall - our parents, children, neighbors and friends", said Jan C. Scruggs, founder and president of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund.

We are confident that the memorial will become a frequent visiting place for those honoring the service of all who served in Vietnam, including the 399 New Mexicans who made the ultimate sacrifice. This memorial in Truth or Consequences serves as a common gathering place for New Mexicans both young and old to show respect and honor in remembrance.

Walk of Education

Take a historical walk along a path in the shape of the Congressional Medal of Honor, and read our country's history on monuments representing each conflict in which the United States has been involved since 1775 - up to and including Afghanistan and Iraq.

The Dianne Hamilton Military Museum

Dedicated in November 2009, the Hamilton Military Museum is located at Veterans Memorial Park, next to the Vietnam War Memorial replica and Walk of Education. Through the generous donations of men and women who have served and their families in the armed forces, this museum and its contents are a living memorial and history of our country and the dedication of those who served. This is their story. Many rare and educational exhibits may be found within the museum: historic war displays range from a military button collection to Buffalo Soldier memorabilia, and there's a special focus on local heroes. Displays are continually being updated and expanded.


Visit a half-scale replica of the Vietnam Wall Memorial in its permanent home at the park, then take a historical stroll along the Walk of Education - a path shaped like the Congressional Medal of Honor commemorating each conflict in which the United States has been involved since 1775, including Afghanistan and Iraq. Sixteen monuments provide information on these conflicts. Open daily, year-round. In the truest sense, freedom cannot be bestowed; it must be achieved. ~ Franklin D. Roosevelt


Our Columbarium represents a unique offer to Veterans and their loved ones for column burial in the Truth or Consequences Veterans Memorial Park.

If you are driving to our location, please Exit Interstate 25 at Exit 75. Drive North 2.5 miles and the memorial park is on your right.
996 S. Broadway
Truth or Consequences, NM 87901
Phone: (575) 894-7640

Caballo Lake State Park

In the shadow of the rugged Caballo Mountains, this long lake surrounded by Chihuahuan Desert provides ample opportunities for fishing and water sports. Relatively quiet and family-oriented, the park also has several hiking trails and good bird watching possibilities.Another in a series of lake parks created by damming the Rio Grande, Caballo Lake has a surface area of more than 11,500 acres, making it New Mexico's third largest state park. Created in the late 1930's with the construction of an earth filled dam 96 feet high by 4.558 feet long, the lake's main purpose is to catch and store water released by Elephant Butte Dam (25 miles upstream) during electric generation. The water is released in the summer for irrigation. When full, the lake is 18 miles long.The main activity here is fishing, primarily for White Bass and Walleye, although anglers also catch Black Bass, Crappie, Catfish, Northern Pike and Sunfish. Outside the main section of the park but close by, are several fishing supply stores.Although most boating here is for getting to the best fishing spot, the lake also attracts small sailboats and windsurfers, especially in spring. Canoeists often put into the Rio Grande just south of Elephant Butte Dam near the town of Williamsburg and paddle down to Caballo Lake, a distance of about 10 miles. There is no designated swimming beach, but the best swimming is usually just west of the dam and in the upper flats, which is on the north edge of the main park campgrounds.There are developed campsites on a bluff overlooking the lake, with all the usual amenities, and even a few trees. There is also a lesser-developed beach camping area to the north of the main section, which has chemical toilets, and where campers can set up their tents or park their RV's wherever they want.The bulk of the park's facilities are in the main section, on the west side of the lake, just north of the dam. Another campground is located along the Rio Grande just south of the dam. It has more trees...cottonwoods, black willow, green ash, and Arizona sycamore...and is more secluded than the lake section of the park. It is here that the park's RV rally site is located...the only one in the New Mexico State Park System...with a large group shelter, huge barbecue grills, and a gated campground that can accommodate over 200 recreational vehicles.Trails at Caballo Lake are more for walking from place to place than serious hiking, and all of the park's 5.5 miles of sandy trails are considered easy. The 0.25 mile Overlook Trail is a loop over a grassy and cactus studded knoll that offers good views out across the lake. Another trail heads north from the campgrounds about 3 miles to an area called Eagle Point. A branch of this trail also goes south of the visitor center to the lake. The park also has several well tended cactus gardens, with yucca, agave, ocotillo, prickly pear, mesquite, and other desert plants.Bird watching is most successful mid-week when there are fewer boats on the lake, although it is generally not quite as good as at nearby Percha Dam State Park. In recent years, a breeding pair of Bald Eagles have made Caballo Lake their winter lake. Also seen are Golden Eagles, Northern Goshawks, Double-crested Cormorants, Common Loons, Snowy Egrets, Scaled Quail, Sandhill Cranes, American White Pelicans and Roadrunners. There are dozens of songbirds, several species of Hummingbirds, and numerous Geese and Ducks.Mammals include a seemingly endless parade of rock squirrels and cottontail rabbits, plus the park is also home to coyotes, wolves, foxes, raccoons, mule deer, and an occasional black bear. There are also rattlesnakes, lizards, frogs and turtles.The small visitor center has displays on archeology of the area and historic photos from the construction of Caballo Dam. There are color photos of the birds, fish, and plants of the park to help with identification, and there is a sandbox with stamps to create footprints of the park's wildlife, including deer, bald eagles, frogs, and snapping turtles. Annual events at the park include several fishing tournaments, including a youth fishing derby in late September. Each April Earth Day is celebrated with tree plantings.The busiest season at the park is summer, when campsites with electric hookups fill quickly, especially on weekends. Summer temperatures usually hit the 90's and sometimes exceed 100 degrees F during the day, but drop into the 60's at night. Fall is pretty, and the park is less busy. The water is still warm enough for swimming in October, and air temperatures are usually in the mid-70's during the day and the upper 40's and low 50's at night. Winters are quiet in the park, making this a particularly good time for bird watching, with daytime temperatures in the 50's, and nights in the 20's and 30's. Spring can be windy, with high temperatures ranging from the 60's to low 80's, and lows from the upper 30's to low 50's. The cactus often produce their best flower display in late March or early April.

Courtesy of New Mexico State Parks Division
Caballo Lake State Park
P.O. Box 32 Caballo, NM 87931
Office: 575 743-3942
Fax: 575 743-0031

The Rio Grande

The Rio Grande flows north to south through Sierra County. It flows into Elephant Butte Lake, through Truth or Consequences, into Caballo Lake and south through the agricultural area of Sierra County. Its water is the life blood of the agricultural industry of New Mexico south of Elephant Butte Lake and Dam. Sierra County is a recreational paradise in the Southwest. The Rio Grande and the two lakes formed by it are prime fishing, boating, camping, birding and hiking locations. Rafting, kayaking and canoeing down the Rio Grande is a fun-filled scenic adventure!

Gila National Forest


Welcome to Gila National Forest, 3.3 million acres of publicly owned forest and range land rising above the desert country of southwestern New Mexico. This is a rugged realm of cactus and grass, juniper and pine, spruce and aspen, and few people. The Gila contains more federal land than any other national forest outside Alaska. One unit lies less than 50 miles from the Mexican border. The main unit forms an irregular outline about 65 by 100 miles in area just north of Silver City. The Continental Divide meanders for 170 miles through this awesome canyon country, once the stronghold of Apache warrior Geronimo and his followers. Centuries ago, cliff dwelling tribes lived here, and the remains of their homes are scattered throughout the forest. One outstanding example has been preserved for today's visitor by the Forest Service and National Park Service at the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument and Gila Visitor Center. The mountain ranges of the Gila include the Mogollon, Tularosa, Diablo, Big Burro, San Francisco and Mangas Mountains, and the Black Range. Elevations start at 4,500 feet in the desert and rise to almost 10,000 feet on the often snow-covered crest of Whitewater Baldy.


The scenic drives, camp and picnic grounds, rushing streams and majestic mountains of the Gila draw thousands of visitors each year. Leisure travel through the forest is the most popular recreational use. A favorite route is the 110-mile Inner Loop Scenic Byway; from Silver City to Mimbres Valley, down Sapillo Creek, across the Pinos Altos Mountains and back to Silver City, with a side trip to the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument. Other beautiful and scenic drives are from Silver City to Hillsboro over the south end of the Black Range; and a 235 mile route known as the Outer Loop from Silver City through Glenwood, Reserve and Beaverhead to a junction with the Inner Loop near the village of Mimbres. You may enjoy the tall timber around Reserve or Willow Creek, the famous "Catwalk" National Recreation Trail in Whitewater Canyon near Glenwood, the historic Fort Bayard area, or the fabled gold mining ghost town of Mogollon.

A pleasant surprise to many Gila visitors is the number and quality of fishing streams found here- almost 500 miles worth. Stream species rang from lower-elevation flathead and channel catfish, to bass in the middle reaches, and wild brown and stocked rainbow trout above 6,000 feet. Hidden deep in Gila's wildernesses are the southernmost native populations of Rio Grande cutthroat trout and, rarest of all, the unique, endangered Gila trout. Presently protected from fishing, this golden colored native might once again be sought by anglers thanks to ongoing restoration efforts. The finest stream fishing awaits those who are willing to "pack in". Major streams at least partially accessible by road include all forks of the Gila River, upper San Francisco, Willow Creek, Negrito Creek, and Whitewater Creek. Trout can also be taken at such popular lakes as Quemado, Lake Roberts, Snow Lake, Wall Lake, and Bear Canyon Reservoir. The Gila's river systems are also a refuge for such sensitive, threatened, and endangered species as the spikedance, loach minnow, and Chihuahua and roundtail chubs.

San Bernardino National Wildlife

The San Bernardino National Wildlife Refuge is located on the U.S.-Mexican border in Cochise County, Arizona. Situated at 3,720 to 3,920 feet elevation in the bottom of a wide valley, the refuge encompasses a portion of the headquarters of the Yaqui River, which drains primarily western Chihuahua and eastern Sonora, Mexico.

The area included in the San Bernardino NWR has a colorful and varied history mostly due to its water resources. During the 1700s, Jesuit priests were in the area for missionary purposes. The 1822 San Bernardino Land Grant (which included the present-day Refuge), resulted in large-scale cattle grazing for 10 years, until the ranchers were driven out by the Apaches. Cattle ranching returned and farming began when John Slaughter purchased the land in 1887 and both practices continued until 1979. between 1914 and 1919, cavalry encampments were present to protect settlers during raids by Pancho Villa. These all left their mark on the landscape of the San Bernardino area.

The 2,309-acre ranch was acquired by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 1982 to protect the water resources and provide habitat for endangered native fishes.

The 2770-acre Leslie Canyon area was established in 1988 to protect habitat for the endangered Yaqui chub ( Gila purpurea ) and Yaqui topminnow ( Poeciliopsis occidentalis sonorensis ). The Refuge also protects a rare velvet ash-cottonwood-black willow gallery forest. Leslie Canyon NWR is located 16 miles north of Douglas, Arizona, in Cochise County at the southern end of the Swisshelm mountains.


Topography of the San Bernardino Refuge varies from flat to rolling in the eastern and western uplands, and drops abruptly to flat bottom lands that bisect the Refuge from north to south.

Dominant plant communities of uplands are Chihuahuan desert scrub and desert grassland, while bottomlands are primarily mesquite bosque and fallow fields. These arid habitats contrast well with artesian wells and seeps that create small areas of riparian forest and woodland, riparian scrub, marshlands, and aquatic habitats.

Topography of the Leslie Canyon refuge is rough moutainous terrain dominated by shrubs and desert grasses such as sideoats grama, sandpaper bush, ocotillo and beargrass. Running through the middle of the Refuge is Leslie Creek with its valuable riparian habitat and gallery forest.



Over 270 species of birds can be seen at San Bernardino NWR, including great blue heron, green-backed heron, Virginia rail, ringneck duck, Mexican duck, sandhill crane, magnificent hummingbird, Costa's hummingbird, yellow warbler, blue grosbeak, phainopeplas, white-crowned sparrows, and Gila woodpeckers. Raptors include gray hawk, zone-tailed hawk, golden eagle, Swainson's hawk, kestrel, sharp-shinned hawk, and peregrine falcon.


San Bernardino and Leslie Canyon NWRs support many mammals, including mule deer, whitetail deer, javelina, mountain lion, raccoon, coyote, bobcat, gray fox, antelope ground squirrel, badger, jackrabbit, cottontail rabbit, kangaroo rat, and coatimundi.

Reptiles and Amphibians

Reptiles observed on the Refuge include Sonoroan whipsnake, western diamondback rattlesnake, black-tailed rattlesnake, Chiricahua leopard frog, Gila monster, Madrean alligator lizard, checkered and Mexican garter snakes, horned toad, desert kingsnake, and ringneck snake.


San Bernardino NWR historically supported about one-quarter of the fish species native to Arizona. These include several endangered and threatened species such as the Yaqui chub, Yaqui topminnow , Yaqui beautiful shiner and Yaqui catfish. The other species native to the San Bernardino include Mexican stoneroller, longfin dace, roudtail chub and Yaqui sucker.