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Best New Mexico State Parks to Visit in the Spring

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Best New Mexico State Parks to Visit in the Spring

Navajo Lake State Park - courtesy of New Mexico State Parks

The Top Three Choices Offer Opportunities for Fishing, Viewing Wildflowers, and Observing Spring Bird Migration

Navajo Lake State Park

Located near the Colorado border, Navajo Lake State Park is New Mexico’s second largest park, encompassing 15,000 acre feet of water, which is popular for both warm and cold water fishing. It’s not uncommon to see houseboats, pontoons, canoes or kayaks streaming down the three arms of Navajo Lakes, with numerous secluded camping locations and primitive coves along the rugged shoreline of the lake. Annual springtime fishing events and clinics include the Catch a Special Thrill fishing event in May and the San Juan Fly Fishing Seminar in April. Wildlife such as bald and golden eagles and mule deer represent some of the fauna in the area. The occasional black bear and mountain lion will sometimes make an appearance in the midst of this premier lake park. For more information, contact Navajo Lake State Park at 505-632-2278 or 888-667-2757.

Caballo Lake State Park

Along with neighboring Percha Dam State Park, Caballo Lake State Park is a cherished location for bird watching, hiking, and relaxing, especially during the spring season. Native yuccas, century plants, ocotillos and other desert cacti are on display in the park's two cactus gardens, and provide beautiful blooms in late March and early April. The New Mexico Audubon Society has deemed Caballo and Percha as prime birding areas in the state, featuring an array of birds including great blue herons, raptors and an occasional golden or bald eagle at both parks. Caballo’s annual Migration Sensation in April provides workshops, live exhibits and activities focused around birding. New Mexico State Park’ Annual Camping Permit, good at any of 34 parks in the State, is beneficial for birders who plan to explore numerous parks. For more information, contact Caballo Lake State Park at 505-743-3942 or 888-667-2757.

Rio Grande Nature Center State Park

Located in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Rio Grande Nature Center is a 270-acre, day-use only park located along the Rio Grande Bosque. It includes a Visitors Center designed by renowned architect Antoine Predock. Hundreds of species of wildlife can be observed at the park including New Mexico’s popular state bird, the roadrunner. During the spring migration, at least 120 species of birds can be found nesting or passing through the area, including bald eagles, black-chinned hummingbirds and many species of warbler. The annual Herbfest in early May provides visitors an opportunity to view “ambassador” raptors and other wildlife, attend special workshops/ programs, purchase native herbs and arts/crafts, and join guided bird and nature walks. In 2007, the park celebrates its 25th anniversary with many special events. For more information, contact Rio Grande Nature Center State Park at 505-344-7240 or 888-667-2757.

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