Bottomless Lakes State Park

Bottomless Lakes State Park

Geobox|Protected area
name = Bottomless Lakes State Park
category =
category_iucn = V

caption =
country = United States

state = New Mexico

state_type = State
region =
region_type = County
city_type =
city =
lat_d = 33
lat_m = 19
lat_s = 09
lat_NS = N
long_d = 104
long_m = 19
long_s = 54
long_EW = W
area =
established =
map_locator = New Mexico

governing_body =
website =

Bottomless Lakes State Park, established in 1933, was the first state park in the U.S. state of New Mexico. [ [ bottomless ] ] It is located along the Pecos River, about convert|15|mi|km southeast of Roswell, New Mexico. It takes its name from nine small, deep lakes located along the eastern escarpment of the Pecos River valley. The escarpment is an ancient limestone reef, similar to the limestone mountains around Carlsbad Caverns, convert|80|mi|km to the south. Caves formed within the limestone, and as the Pecos River eroded the escarpment, the caves eventually collapsed, leaving behind several deep, almost circular lakes known as cenotes. [ [ NMBGMR Geologic Tour: Bottomless Lakes State Park ] ] Most of the lakes are almost completely surrounded by cliffs, with the notable exceptions being Lea Lake and Lazy Lagoon. Lea lake has a large, sandy shoreline on the western side and tall cliffs on the eastern side. The cliffs around Lazy Lagoon have been completely eroded away by the Pecos River, and the lake sits in a former channel of the river. Lazy Lagoon is also the largest of the lakes, with a surface area of approximately 26 acres. Although it is a single lake, it is actually made up of three separate sink holes. The surface of the Lazy Lagoon is nearly level with the surrounding salt flats, which makes it look very shallow. In actuality, the deepest of its three sink holes is convert|90|ft|m deep. [ [ NMBGMR Geologic Tour: Bottomless Lakes State Park ] ]

Lea Lake is the only lake in which swimming is allowed, and it has a beach and concession area which is popular in the summer. Seven of the other lakes are protected, although in recent years the lakes have been contaminated by trash that has been thrown into the lakes by careless visitors. The ninth and southernmost lake, Dimmit Lake, is not a part of the state park and is owned by a local hunting and fishing club.

Devil's Inkwell is the smallest of the lakes, with a surface area of only convert|0.36|acre|m2. It gets its name from the dark color of the water which is caused by the steep sides of the cenote and algae growth within the lake. In the winter, Devil's Inkwell and Cottonwood Lake are both stocked with Rainbow Trout.

Figure Eight lake is actually two lakes separated by the thin strip of land. When the water is very high the strip of land is covered, and the two nearly circular lakes join and take the shape the a figure eight. Irrigation in the Pecos Valley has lowered the water table, so the two lakes of Figure Eight lake rarely join to form a single lake anymore.

Pasture lake is the shallowest of the lakes, at only convert|18|ft|m deep with a surface area of convert|0.76|acre|m2.

Four endangered species can be found in the park. The Pecos Pupfish and the Rainwater Killifish are both endangered species of fish, and the Cricket Frog and the Eastern Barking Frog also live in the park.

The lakes are not fed by streams, and the evaporation rate of the lakes in the hot desert climate exceeds the rate at which rainwater refills them. The lakes are fed by underground water percolating through the rocks and into the lakes. The high evaporation rate makes the water in the lakes brackish.

External links

* [,+nm&sll=33.457188,-105.735469&sspn=0.009363,0.020084&ie=UTF8&ll=33.336803,-104.332609&spn=0.018752,0.040169&t=h&z=15&om=1 Google Maps satellite view of Bottomless Lakes]
* [ Bottomless Lakes on the New Mexico State Parks website]
* [ New Mexico Tech article about Bottomless Lakes]


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