In Eastern New Mexico — an oasis on the plains

No vanishing mirage, Oasis State Park is true to its name.

Tall cottonwoods and a shimmering pond sit among the shifting sand dunes. An abundance of birds and anglers are drawn to this watering hole, which the New Mexico State Park Division keeps stocked throughout the year.

The fishing pond may be the main attraction but with hiking trails, picnic areas, campgrounds, a ballfield, and a playground, Oasis State Park has something for everyone.

Planted in 1902 by a homesteader, the cottonwoods provide shade to the picnic tables and shelters scattered around the park after it was established in 1962. The three acre blue-green pond was created in 1972 and is sealed with a bentonite clay liner. The fishing pond is busiest November through March when it is stocked every other week with rainbow trout. In the summer the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish stock channel catfish.

For birding, the best month is May, when there is the greatest variety. April is second best for bird-lovers. Over 80 species of birds have been seen at Oasis. Visitors may see brown-headed cowbirds, western meadowlarks, Bullock’s orioles, house sparrows, mourning doves, great herons, lesser yellowlegs, scaled quail, blackchinned hummingbirds, redheaded woodpeckers, scissor-tailed flycatchers, western bluebirds, and mockingbirds, as well as ducks and geese.

Hiking trails meander through the dunes spotted with prairie grasses, cacti, desert wildflowers and yucca. A nature trail is marked with explanations of the desert ecology. While most of the trails are sandy and flat, the path from the parking area to the pond is paved and wheelchair accessible.

Electrical hook-ups, modern bathroom facilities, and heated showers also make Oasis State Park a comfortable stop for overnight camping. Each picnic or camping site contains water and a dump station is available for RV dumping.

Picnicking is allowed in designated areas while the park is open from 7 a.m. to sunset for Day Use. Any use of the park after 9 p.m. is considered overnight camping. Quiet hours are 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. No hunting, no littering, and no tunneling in the dunes is allowed. All pets must be kept on leashes less than ten feet long.

Located off Highway 70 between Clovis and Portales, Oasis State Park can be a good-night’s sleep on a long road trip or an afternoon’s diversion. This watering hole has just what you need.