Bottomless Lakes

Useful Information

Location: 545 A Bottomless Lakes Rd., Roswell, NM 88201.
(33.338451, -104.334780)
Open: no restrictions.
Fee: free.
Classification: KarstDoline
Light: n/a
Dimension: A=1,102 m asl.
Guided tours: self guided
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Address: Bottomless Lakes State Park, 545 A Bottomless Lakes Rd., Roswell, NM 88201, Tel: +1-575-988-3638. E-mail:
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.


FEB-2022 Lea Lake Day Use Recreation Area closed for renovation.
2023 scheduled reopening.


The Bottomless Lakes are a series of circular lakes in an arid area. They are actually not bottomless, they were named such because the first settlers who found them were not able to determine the depth. The greenish-blue color created by aquatic plants and the high content of minerals gives the lakes the illusion of great depth. According to local lore sometime in the late 1800s, local cowboys set out to determine the depth of the lakes by tying ropes together and feeding them down into the water. And as they failed, the lakes were called bottomless. As the depth is actually rather unspectacular between 5 m and 27 m, we can only guess that rope was really expensive at that time, and they could not afford a 5 m long rope.

The lakes are also not connected to extraterrestrial activities, despite being located near Roswell, NM. They are simply dolines, layers of gypsum in the underground were dissolved by groundwater, the resulting caverns collapsed forming dolines, a quite common geologic effect all over the world. Rather exceptional is the fact that the dolines are located in a semi-arid area, and as they access the aquifer they are of some importance.

From Roswell follow Highway 380 east, after 15 km the 409 turns off to the right. This road makes a loop connecting all the dolines, so it is also called the Bottomless Lakes Road. At Cottonwood Lake, about halfway, is the Visitor Center of the small State Park. The other lakes are called Mirror Lake, Devils Inkwell Lake, and Pasture Lake. At the southern end is Lea Lake, where the campground is located. It seems the lakes are used for a wide variety of water sparts, like kayaking, scuba diving, swimming, and even fishing. There are numerous trails, which allow wildlife viewing. As far as we understand, the Lea Lake Recreation Area is under construction and closed during 2023. However, the parking lots and even the campground are nevertheless open, so there are no restrictions in seeing the bottomless lakes, only swimming is restricted for some time.