State Park

  • jacoatbottomlesslakesLocated just 14 miles southeast of Roswell, Bottomless Lakes State Park is your place for bottomless fun! Enjoy non-motorized boating in your kayak or canoe, camp, fish, picnic, swim, hike, go birding or even scuba dive!

    The unique lakes at this park are sinkholes, ranging from 17 to 90 feet deep. The greenish-blue color created by aquatic plants is what gives the lakes the illusion of great depth.

    We stayed here once in November for a couple of weeks.  Now, the time of year probably played a big part of the negatives of the park.  You can see Jaco above on his chair which is on a rug.  The goatheads were just crazy abundant here.  All the dogs were having a difficult time dealing with that.  The other issue was a black fly invasion that rivaled Amityville Horror.  Again, the season may have been the biggest culprit but, as one camper pointed out, we were also very close to some industrial cattle farms.  

    The good was really good though!  The historic buildings - particularly the beachfront structure - are beautiful.  Amazing trails lead to gorgeous small lakes for a moderate hike.  For people with assessability issues or who need a shorter hike, there is a lovely new wetlands boardwalk  The proximity to Roswell is a real plus as well.  We were charmed by what we saw in Roswell - really nice folks there as well!  

    We would love to stay at this park at a different time of year - perhaps spring when the beach opens!  

  • deerriogrande2017This is one of our favorite places and we make at least a short stop at Riverside (Caballo Lake State Park). It lies just below the Caballo Dam along the Rio Grande - it is not listed separately from Caballo Lake State Park, however, it is a bit further down the road.

    This campground offers green grass, a low number of goathead thorns (always an issue in this area of the country), and the ability to boondock along the river without giving up things like showers and electricity.

    The campground has a nice variety of hook up sites, either back in or pull through,  tent or boondocking sites, and a rally site for larger groups.  There are two bath/shower houses.  The park is open year round.  

    The photo was one taken just south of our campsite early in the morning.  Lovely to site this family of deer!

  • Tucked way up in the northeast corner of New Mexico is where you'll find the town of Clayton, NM, the Union County Seat.  Every time we've traveled from Texas, we've come in through Clayton.  We've been through a few times now, but have only had a chance to stay at Clayton Lake State Park once.  Normally we like to get a bit further into the state before setting up camp, however, Clayton Lake is small and remote enough to discourage some of the more problematic recreation areas that lie right on the TX/NM border.  

    Yes, it is quite a long drive from the town out to the campground and lake.  This is a very remote location.  Clayton Lake is home to relics of the past and visions of the future - walk the dinosaur track field during the day and head to the observatory at night to take in some of the very best stargazing the southwest has to offer.  Clayton Lake was the 2nd NM State Park to receive an observatory- complete with rolltop roof and a 12” Meade RCX400 computer-driven telescope.  For such a small camping outpost, the payoff is well worth the trip.

    We are pretty familiar with the New Mexico state park system but are still learning about how crowded parks might be, where reservations might be necessary versus where walk up is a pretty sure thing.  We'd have been bummed if we took that trip out to Clayton Lake only to find it full.  Well, it was full.  We drove around the campground and down to the lakefront.  A Ranger came out to greet us and immediately offered up a solution.  He put us in the unused group site for one night at a regular rate.  We remain so grateful for that accomodation!

    Although the campground was full, it was extraordinarily peaceful.  Patrick hiked out to see the dino tracks while Jaco and I (Kris) hiked around the hilly trail down to the lakefront.  We hung out in the group picnic area and had a blast.  The campground has a decent shower/bathroom facility.  Unfortunately we were unable to visit the observatory as it was closed when we camped there.  The naked eye and that night sky provided an incredible show of stars and milky way that stretched on forever.  

    Highly recommend for those of you who enjoy solitude, peace, and a gorgeous night sky.  

  • The rugged slopes of the Little Florida Mountains are the setting for this park, which boasts trails, unique geology, wildflower displays, and a peaceful campground. The stunning scenery of the Spring Canyon unit of the park provides a peaceful area for hiking or picnicking. /div>
    When we decided to visit Rockhound and told some other folks we heard a lot about how we wouldn't like it.  Not much to do, no shade trees, etc., etc.  Well, no, there weren't shade trees.  However, we found it to be a delightful place with so much to offer.  The hiking in the Little Florida Mountains was excellent - part of that trail was easily accessible for the one of us who has difficulty hiking.  That part of the trail went through a small botanical garden with information about the plants growing.
    Further down that trail you will understand how the park gets its name.  Thunder Eggs and geodes are the hot items those rockhounders find, however, there are incredible rock finds, including Mexican Opal and other semi-precious stones.  One of our neighbors had an entire rock processing thing going on with cleaning solutions, tumbler, the whole smash.  We were a little envious.
    Another wonderful aspect of this camp was the interprative center.  While we spent our week there, there were two offerings.  One was an Owl Walk and another was a stargazing program.  With the lights of Deming shining miles away in the desert, Rockhound had an amazing view of the night sky and constellations.  The views were magnificent 24 hours a day.
    Across the road from the park lies another park (not for camping) called Spring Canyon.  We drove up the mountains over there for an amazing view of The Needle and the plains below.  More hiking, more rockhounding, more outstanding views.
    The sites are a combination of hook ups and rustic.  They also have some reservation and some walk up.  This is a small park and our host met us and led us to the last walk up site with hookups.  We came to be quite grateful for that as we saw campers turned away on a daily basis.  The bath and showers were excellent and clean.  Most of the walking will be up or down hill, so it is a challenge.  We highly recommend a stop here!