Unforgettable State Parks Of New Mexico

For those interested in either outdoor recreation or the history of the American West, the state of New Mexico, is one of the top places to visit. New Mexico's greatest treasures are its state parks.

Travel is one of the most popular pursuits of many people, but selecting where to go on the next vacation or extended weekend can sometimes be complicated.  There are a number of high quality travel destinations in the United States to choose from.  Some are incredibly popular, requiring reservations a year or more in advance, others are more out of the way like a hidden treasure, and there are many that fit somewhere in between.  Some of the most unique and enjoyable vacations can be had though by touring an area that is seldom traveled or doesn't get a great deal of attention.  New Mexico's state parks are such a destination.

Here we look at five unforgettable state parks in New Mexico.

Bottomless Lakes State Park

Organized in 1933, Bottomless Lakes State Park was New Mexico's very first state park. The park sits on the Pecos River and gets its name from the many small, but deep, lakes located in that area of the river valley. Bottomless Lakes State Park is located just over ten miles to the southeast of the community of Roswell, New Mexico and is a popular destination for many people from the surrounding area. One of the first things that a visitor to Bottomless Lakes State Park will notice is that there are no streams or creeks bringing water into the many lakes there, each lake is fed by water found underground that comes up through the rocks.

City of Rocks State Park

For those interested in unique natural scenery, there are few better areas in New Mexico than City of Rocks State Park. The many rock formations found in this park, and the surrounding area, are famous and have been seen in several magazines and even on television and in movies. The park is located in the southwestern corner of the state and Silver City is the nearest community. Popular activities in the park include hiking, and hikers are rewarded with a network of trails that leads them through some of the rock formations as well as across wide open areas too. Camping is also popular in the park.

Heron Lake State Park

Heron Lake State Park sits on the southern shore of Heron Lake just south of the Colorado-New Mexico border. The water in the lake is blue and beautiful, popular with boaters, swimmers, and fishing enthusiasts. Camping is popular here, with the park sitting at a relatively high altitude and offering a climate and surroundings that differs greatly from New Mexico's lower altitude parks. The park is semi-connected to neighboring El Vado Lake State Park via a six mile trail that takes hikers across a suspension bridge spanning the Rio Chama Gorge and through incredible scenery featuring rock formations, cliff walls, and high altitude arid forest land. Heron Lake State Park and the surrounding area truly do offer sights that cannot be seen in other areas of the state.

Living Desert Zoo and Gardens State Park

Located just off popular U.S. Route 285 right outside the city of Carlsbad, Living Desert Zoo and Gardens State Park is a popular stop for both locals and vacationers alike. The park looks down on Carlsbad and the Pecos River as it flows through the area. The zoo is home to roughly fifty species of animals that are all native to the area including badgers, bison, elk, gila monsters, mountain lions, prairie dogs, and a number of different types of snakes and other reptiles. There are also a decent selection of birds housed in the zoo. The surrounding gardens display many of the native plants in a way that visitors can meander through them at their own pace.

Navajo Lake State Park

When the Navajo Dam was completed in 1962, the water that backed up behind it was named Navajo Lake. Shortly thereafter, Navajo Lake State Park was established on the shores of the lake and it remains today as a popular destination for campers and those looking to spend time on the water. The park sits in the northwestern corner of New Mexico and the lake itself is not only located in New Mexico, but the water extends across the state line into neighboring Colorado too. There are multiple boat ramps in the area, as well as a full service marina. The lake is popular with those that head there for a camping stay with different areas providing excellent water for swimming, boating, and fishing.


A visit to New Mexico is a great way to experience the type of vacation that people seldom get a chance to sample. The state offers a look at America's Old West history, a chance to experience a warm and inviting climate that lasts throughout most of the year, and some of the most beautiful scenery in the United States.

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The state park system in New Mexico is first class and can be enjoyed at various points around the state. Anyone venturing to New Mexico with the idea of experiencing the great outdoors through camping, hiking, fishing, boating, and other outdoor recreational possibilities need look no farther than the state's park system for ideas on where to spend that cherished vacation time.


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Last updated by admin on 6/12/2009
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