As the first dedicated state park in New Mexico in 1933, Bottomless Lakes State Park offers a unique experience for visitors. Located less than 13 miles east of Roswell, the Bottomless Lakes State Park first offers visitors a touch of mystery within its peculiar name.
The “bottomless lakes” name was first dubbed by cowboys who could not locate the foundation of the lakes by using their rock-tied lariats. However, these puzzling water bodies are not actual lakes at all, but sinkholes that were formed when the roofs of gypsum caverns buckled and then filled with water. Although researchers have found the bottoms of these sinkholes, ranging from 17 to 90 feet, the name stuck around.
This mysterious collection of lakes is known for Pecos Diamond deposits that are actually surround by gypsum and limestone. These attractive deposits, which take on diamond-like characteristics once exposed, are highly connected to the formation history of these sinkhole lakes. Even so, these small bodies of water attract many visitors as a popular place for recreation and sports activities.
Cottonwood Lake and Mirror Lake
Cottonwood Lake is the closest lake to the visitor’s center within this New Mexico state park system. Cottonwood Lake only has a depth of 30 feet, but it offers and interesting and natural trail that leads visitors to the aesthetically popular Mirror Lake. Mirror Lake is a 50 feet deep sinkhole, and offers visitors a beautiful reflection of the surrounding Red Bluff Mountains. These mirror-like images of this peaceful body of water are so beautiful, that they have been captured as some of the most famous postcard scenes and photography work. Mirror Lake also contains an assortment of fish species, including the Pecos Pupfish and the Rainwater Killfish .
The Devil’s Inkwell as a Fisherman’s Haven
Fishermen with a New Mexico fishing license find Bottomless Lakes State Park is an opportunistic vicinity for their sport, especially in locations where the lakes is stocked each year. Specifically, the Devils Inkwell and Cottonwood Lake are both supplied with rainbow trout within the winter season. Yet, Devil’s Inkwell is less than 33 feet in depth, and has its ominous name because of its murky water and steep sides created by algae deposits. Usually this sinkhole is used as a overnight campsite. Chemical toilets and drinking water are available at the Devil’s Inkwell vicinity.
Lazy Lagoon is considered the most dangerous sinkhole with this protected system of New Mexico lakes. The area within and surrounded Lazy Lagoon cannot be utilized for recreational or sports activities. Therefore, visitor should keep a good distance away. However, Lazy Lagoon is often used as a popular spot for viewing waterfowl within the area. So, many visitors are prepared with a pair of binoculars to enjoy the wildlife action at Lazy Lagoon.
Lea Lake is by far the largest sinkhole within this New Mexico lake system. In fact, it is one of the main reasons why the area is known for its natural trail ways, site seeing opportunities, and recreational activity. In fact, there are plenty of activities for the whole family within this fun sinkhole system of lakes includes fishing, boating, sailing, camping, and picnicking. Lea Lake is the only sinkhole within this naturally picturesque recreation haven were visitors can safely swim.
Lea Lake is also the deepest of the sinkholes within the state park, with more than 89 feet in depth. On days when the lake is clear, visitors find it optimal for scuba diving. The Pecos Sunflower and other odd-but-interesting plants have made the area their special New Mexico home.
During the summer, visitors can rent hydro-bikes and paddle boards at New Mexico’s Bottomless Lakes State Park.. Rafts are also available for rent. The best time to visit is during the month of May, and any time all the way through Labor Day. The beach at Lea Lake offers visitors a well-maintained location with lifeguards on duty during the summer season.
Teachers will also find the area a fantastic place to allow their students to explore the water quality, the flora, the habitat of the wildlife and other geological aspects of the area. To plan at trip or to receive more information, visitors can go to http://www.emnrd.state.nm.us/PRD/bottomless.htm. Visitors may also contact a park representative, by calling the local number at (505) 476-3355 or 1-888-NMPARKS for toll free calling.