Geologic Tour of New Mexico — State Parks & Monuments
Tour site types: •State Parks •Federal Parks •Other Features
New Mexico State Parks and Monuments truly have something for everyone. The parks are managed by the State Parks Division of the New Mexico Energy, Minerals & Natural Resources Department. The geology and recreational activities of the parks are as diverse as New Mexico is. Geologic processes created the mesas, flood plains, mountains, and volcanoes that attract visitors to New Mexico state parks.
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Bluewater Lake State Park lies at an elevation of 7,400 ft in Las Tuces Valley near the Continental Divide in the Zuni Mountains. The park is between Gallup and Grants along I–40, 7 mi southwest of Prewitt via NM-412. A forest of cottonwoods, piñon, and juniper surrounds the lake. The Navajos knew the area as “large cottonwood trees where water flows out” (Julyan, 1996). It became a state park in 1955. Bluewater and Cottonwood (Azul) Creeks feed the lake. The lake itself is formed by an arched dam 90 ft high and 500 ft long (Robinson, 1994) that impounds 38,500 acre-ft of water. The last time water spilled over the dam was in 1941. The dam is convex in the upstream direction for increased strength, and it is at the mouth of Bluewater Creek in a steep-walled canyon. An overlook at the end of the road through the park facilities offers an excellent view of the dam and canyon. A primitive hiking trail leads down into the canyon below the dam.
The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish maintains a permanent pool of water for fish and periodically stocks the lake with rainbow trout and channel catfish. Indeed, the lake is blue, as the name implies. It is well known to ice-fishermen during the winter. Power and sail boating, hiking, water skiing, wind surfing, and swimming are possible recreational activities in addition to fishing, camping, picnicking. Care should be taken driving in wet weather along the north side of the lake because of muddy conditions. Not all 25 mi of shoreline belong to the state park; some land surrounding the lake belongs to private individuals, Indian tribes, and U.S. National Forest. All water, however, is open to the public.
There are 15 more geologic tours that match these critera (ordered by site name).