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Brantley Lake State Park
Carlsbad, New Mexico
Norman W. Hildrum

View of campground, Brantley Lake State Park - Photo by Norman HildrumBrantley Lake State Park is located in the Chihuahuan Desert region of southeastern New Mexico. The park is approximately 12 miles north of Carlsbad, New Mexico off US 285. The campground has 50 sites with electricity (20/30, some 50 amp) and water. There are nicely designed covered picnic tables and grills. Our cost was $14.00 per night. We enjoyed the parks trails and took the opportunity to do a bit of fishing. We fished below the dam and from the park's fishing pier. Sharon caught four largemouth bass and I had several bites, but no fish. This area was first occupied more than 10,000 years ago by early Indian groups. More than 200 archaeological sites have been recorded in the area. While at the park, we did day trips to Sitting Bull Falls - Photo by Norman HildrumSitting Bull Falls recreation area in the Lincoln National Forest, Carlsbad Caverns National Park, and Living Desert State Park.

Sitting Bull Falls Recreation Area - Sitting Bull Falls is a unique area where an unusual waterfall flows over canyon walls. The area, located in the Lincoln National Forest, has hiking trails that lead to the spring and around the canyon. A top class picnic area offers shelters, tables, charcoal grills, fresh water and restrooms.

Carlsbad Caverns National Park - Carlsbad Caverns, is often called "The 8th. Wonder of the World." because it is one of only 20 World Heritage sites in the United States. A World Heritage site is so unique that it is considered a valuable asset of all nations. About 30 million years ago, fresh water infiltrated the cracks and fractures in the rock of certain portions of the Guadalupe Natural Entrance to Carlsbad Caverns - Photo by Norman HildrumMountains. Below, hydrogen sulfide moved up from oil and gas deposits and combined with the fresh water to make a mild sulfuric acid solution. This mild acid carved out the large cave passages. As water seeped through the cracks in the limestone it dissolved small quantities that were deposited in the form of calcite. This process created the fantastic array of formations. We stopped at the Visitor Center for information on tours and to purchase tickets for a guided tour of the Kings Palace and for self-guided tours of the Natural Entrance and the Big Room. We walked a bit over 3 miles, but enjoyed every minute! We highly recommend this attraction to SavvyCampers.

Flowering Claret Cup Cactus - Photo by Norman HildrumLiving Desert State Park - This is a state operated facility specializing in native species of the Chihuahuan Desert and New Mexico. It is located on the north edge of Carlsbad and about 12 miles south of Brantley Lake State Park. We begin our tour at The Visitor Center to familiarize ourselves with the attractions and trail layout. Along the 1.3 mile paved path, we saw hawks, eagles, owls, bear, wolves, bison, mule deer, elk, and prong horn antelope. There is a great collection of native plants including a special greenhouse display of cacti and succulent plants from around the world.

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