A few miles south of Roswell, New Mexico is a small state park called: Bottomless Lakes State Park. As our road-trip opened up before us, we decided to stop and visit this interesting park before making our way to Carlsbad, New Mexico.
We arrived at the Bottomless Lakes park and found the first water source to be very low, the water receding away from the edges and leaving dry, sandy lake beds. We continued deeper into the park and found guest services, so we pulled over to explore. Here was the first “lake” that we could see.
The lake is surrounded by steep, rocky walls. You can tell there’s no way to enter the water. I mean, unless you take a running leap and launch yourself into the water. Then I assure you there is no way out of the water.
The state park has a lovely little museum in the guest services building. there is one
interactive display with a clever hands-on exhibit. The ‘bottomless’ lakes have all had their depths carefully measured and documented. They’re not quite as bottomless as the name implies!
The exhibit allows guests to lift the water (a piece of plastic) out of the table exhibit, so you can see the relational shape and depth of water in the “lakes.”
The museum explains how the limestone rocks in this region formed caves, and these caves eventually collapsed. The collapsed caves leave behind the deep cenotes that we now call ‘lakes.’
Let’s set the record straight. New Mexico is fibbing!
The lakes aren’t bottomless. They are actually very carefully measured and studied. The deepest measured depth is 90 feet. Distinctly not bottomless.
They are also not lakes. These are cenotes.
I guess “Scientifically measured cenotes that aren’t really that deep Park” doesn’t have the same romantic zing.
Birds do what now?
Several of these cenotes are not swim holes. While I was there, my travel companion mentioned that there might be fish in the waters. I speculated that there wouldn’t be any fish because these were filled with rain, and fish would have to be deposited – and there wasn’t fishing on site – so I theorized no one paid to put fish in the waters.
And then I was schooled. The hunter amongst us explained how fish eggs can attach themselves to water fowl and could easily get deposited when the birds land in the cenotes. I pondered this. I had no idea fish eggs could attach to a bird’s legs or feathers. But apparently this is one method that fish ‘travel’ to isolated locations.
Huh. Who knew? You learn something new every day. And today I learned sticky eggs can fly.
Swim holes for summer fun
There are a few designated for swimming or kayaking, etc. In the frigid temperature of February, there were very few people in the park, and no one was seen swimming. We explored briefly before striking out for another drive to Carlsbad, New Mexico.
Hi, I’m Patti. I work in the IT field and my favorite thing to do is reboot stuff. (Muahahaha!)
I love exploring the United States and luckily I enjoy driving. Which is a good thing since it would be hard to explore if I had to walk everywhere. I am usually exploring the states on a tight budget with limited vacation time. I try to make the most of my free time, and I may have a trick or two up my sleeve.
I’m a weird mix of over-planner and free-spirit wanderer. There’s no in between. I see weekends as play-time. Laundry is for Wednesday nights and dusting is never on my to-do list.
I love museums, learning new things, and just letting my curiosity take me to my next discovery.
To discover more about me, check out my About Me page.