Black River Recreation Area


Black River Recreation Area
Black River Recreation Area
Black River Recreation Area

The Black River Recreation Area is a 1,200-acre corridor managed to provide a transition zone between the Guadalupe Escarpment's limestone foothills and the southern gypsum soils east of there. The headwaters of the Black River are comprised of several spring-fed pools that flow into a series of deeper, elongated pools that are connected by a narrow, shallow stream.

This is an oasis in the Chihuahuan Desert and is home to many species of reptiles, fish, birds, and plants. The most visited place in the Black River Recreation Area is the wildlife viewing platform at the Cottonwood Day Use Area. The Day Use Area provides picnic tables and a rest room but no drinking water. The wildlife viewing platform is universally accessible and is located near the water's edge, about 500 feet from the parking area. During migration seasons, this area sees daily fluctuations in the numbers of roadrunners, yellow-billed cuckoos, green-backed herons, and orchard orioles, to name a few of the large number of bird species that pass through here. Hiking and fishing are allowed but this place tends to get very hot in the summer.

To get there: Go 25 miles south of Carlsbad on US 62/180. At CR 418 turn and go west for 2 more miles, then bear left at the fork. Black River Recreation Area is day use only and is open year round. Overnight camping, weapons and OHV use are banned within the Recreation Area.

Maps: BLM - Carlsbad

A view of the Black River
In the Black River Recreation Area
Photos courtesy of the Bureau of Land Management