Storrie Lake State Park, NM, US, (elevation 6,600 ft) located 4 miles north of Las Vegas, New Mexico in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, is an 81 acre park with the lake itself having a surface area of approximately 1,100 acres. Open year round.
This peaceful lake offers vast opportunities for fishing, bird watching, windsurfing, cross country, and boating.
Park activities include hiking and camping with a variety of campsites – A large lake shore area for primitive camping (grassy and has few trees) practically allows anglers to fish from the comfort of their campsites. There are also developed RV sites several feet from the lake and some back away from the lake – depending on your preference. These developed sites have cabana type shelters and are shaded by large cottonwoods.
There is also a group shelter (close to restrooms and boating dock) Having children (one being autistic) I look for certain things at parks –
There are restrooms and a large playground. The playground is not close to the water.
As always, New Mexico State Parks camp spots can be reserved here – many parks also offer first come first serve camping.
Clayton Lake State Park, NM, US, (elevation 5,186 ft) located at 139 Clayton Lake Rd. Clayton, NM 88415, is a 170-acre recreational reservoir; 15 miles north of Clayton, close to New Mexico’s border with Colorado, Oklahoma, and Texas. The landscape of rolling grasslands, volcanic rock, and sandstone bluffs, is set in the western edge of the Great Plains.
Along with a group shelter, picnicking, camping, hiking, and fishing at the lake, you can also experience one of the most extensive dinosaur trackways in North America.
An earth dam was constructed in the 1970s across Seneca Creek that resulted in the formation of Clayton Lake. The excavation of the spillway, and a flood in 1982 that swept away a layer of silt from the spillway, uncovered an unexpected bonanza of dinosaur tracks, preserved in the Early Cretaceous sandstones of the upper Dakota Group, dated at about 100 million years old.
Today, the tracksite, with over five hundred dinosaur footprints preserved, is one of the main attractions at Clayton Lake State Park — and one of the best-preserved and most extensive dinosaur tracksites in the United States. (1)
The dinosaur tracks are embedded in rock near the lake. They can be observed on the dam spillway at the end of a gentle 0.25-mile (0.40 km) trail. The best times to view the tracks are in the morning and the late afternoon.
A sheltered gazebo and a boardwalk trail provide extensive information regarding the dinosaurs.
As a mother of a future paleontologist, this is where you go to watch your pre-teen’s eyes light up! Walking around the boardwalk, there are many footprints along with signs to educate.
My youngest daughter, having autism, we always take that into consideration whenever/wherever we visit. The path to the footprints is easy and fairly flat, the stairs down to the boardwalk area are not steep and spaced nicely. There is also a restroom at the beginning of the trail, which is always a plus before any walk (or activity with children). The only negative, which can be resolved with close watch, is the rocky, steep lakeside.
Overall, we love this park and plan to go back in the spring to camp, fish, and hike.
If you are lucky, you get to see these beauties on your way out – – –
Every year in October, Albuquerque puts on an AMAZING Balloon Fiesta. For those of us who prefer a more intimate, smaller hot air balloon venue, Taos is where to go.
I have attended and photographed every Taos Mountain Balloon Rally since I’ve lived in the Taos area. It takes place behind the new courthouse, the last weekend in October, which sets a gorgeous fall backdrop for the balloons.