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USA New Mexico Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge

Photo Courtesy Lauriann Wakefield


Facilities and Activities:
 Hiking Trail, milesyes

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State of New Mexico map showing Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge location
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National Park Contact Information:
Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge
4065 Bitter Lake Road
Roswell, New Mexico   88201
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National Park Overview:
Located where the Chihuahuan Desert meets the Southern Plains, Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge is one of the more biologically significant wetland areas of the Pecos River watershed system. Established in 1937 to provide wintering habitat for migratory birds, the refuge plays a crucial role in the conservation of wetlands in the desert Southwest.

Straddling the Pecos River, Bitter Lake NWR is truly a jewel, a wetland oasis inhabitated by a diverse abundance of wildlife species. The refuge protects and provides habitat for some of New Mexico's most rare and unusual creatures such as the least shrew, Noels' amphipod, least tern and Roswell spring snail.
Nature of the Area:
The Refuge lies within a significant ecological meeting place where the Chihuahuan Desert, short grass prairie, Pecos River and the Roswell artesian basin come together. The blending together of these different ecological conditions has created some unusual biological situations. For example, organisms associated with wetlands often interact with desert creatures.

Attracted to the area by its abundant water supply at least 357 species of birds have been observed on the refuge. At least 59 species of mammals, over 50 species of reptiles and amphibians, and 24 fish species have been documented on the refuge.

Refuge wetlands provide habitat for thousands of migrating lesser sandhill cranes, Ross and snow geese and about twenty duck species such as pintails, mallards, canvasback, gadwall,shovelers and three species of teal.
Reviews By Park Visitors:
visitor rating: (1 vote)   |Post Your Own Review

most uncommon beautiful campsite ever

no body was around...quiet...trail to lake...high up in the mts. w/tiny pond & dragonflies...I loved it.

Written by templescroll  8-Mar-2009

Four short (less than 0.5 miles each) and two longer (1.5 - 4 miles) hiking trails are available adjacent to the wildlife drive or Refuge headquarters. Also the entire north tract (12,160 acres) of the refuge, including the wilderness area, is open to hiking and horseback riding.

Guided Tours:

Endangered species tours are regularly scheduled from October through May on the first Saturday of each month. These special tours take visitors into areas normally closed to the public to be shown some of the unique sinkholes and springs protected by the refuge. Reservations required.
Fishing and Hunting:

Fishing is prohibited at Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge to protect rare native fish.


Waterfowl, sandhill crane, quail, dove, pheasant and deer hunting are available at the refuge. Contact the refuge for updated hunting regulations and season dates at (505) 622-6755 or by e-mailing Steve Alvarez at
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Related Links:
Audubon in Southeastern New Mexico - Page representing the Audubon Chapter of Southeastern New Mexico, giving local information and links ... Southeastern NM Interests: Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge Friends of Bitter Lake NWR ...
Bitter Lake NWR - Wildlife, habitat, recreational opportunities, and volunteering at Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge. ... plateau make up Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge, winter home for thousands ...
Dragonfly Museum - DIGITAL DRAGONFLY MUSEUM ... this site or the web Site search Web search in 2003 Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge Image Gallery (photos and scans sorted by species) Photos (by photographer) Life ...
Bird Checklists of the United States - Bird Checklists of the United States Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge Roswell, New Mexico Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge, located in the Pecos River valley of southeastern New Mexico ...
Bird Checklists of the United States - Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center Bird Checklists of the United States Master Table of Contents United States and Canada U.S. Canada Great Plains States Colorado -- Iowa -- Kansas -- Minnesota ...
Carlsbad, City in New Mexico - DesertUSA - Comprehensive guide southeastern New Mexico's city of Carlsbad, includes color photos, vital statistics, climate, history, things to do and mileage guides with links to nearby attractions.
Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge is located about 10 miles northeast of Roswell, in Chaves County, New Mexico. From Roswell, take US 380 (Second Street) east about three miles to a refuge sign at Red Bridge Road. Or, take US 285 (Main Street) north to Pine Lodge Road. From the turnoff, it is eight miles to refuge head-quarters, following directional signs.
USA New Mexico Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge
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