Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM)

All-around good time.(Special Section)

Byline: Don Laine For the Journal

Activities from climbing to golfing abound in Eagle Nest area

In the Sangre de Cristo Mountains northeast of Taos, Eagle Nest Lake has quietly attracted anglers for years. Now that it has been purchased by the state and is expected to be developed as New Mexico's newest state park, we'll hear a lot more about it.

The lake and adjacent town of Eagle Nest are a wonderful starting point for visiting this beautiful piece of northern New Mexico.

But what is there to do besides fish, you say? Plenty, from camping and hiking to golfing, discovering the original Wild West at several historic sites and museums or spending a solemn moment in a striking memorial to the veterans of the Vietnam War.

Start by exploring the shops and galleries in the village of Eagle Nest, which hugs the north shore of Eagle Nest Lake. The community has a genuine Old West feel, with false-front buildings and boardwalks. Its main street, Therma Drive, is less than a mile long, but contains numerous one-of-a-kind shops and galleries offering locally made crafts, fine art, antiques, edibles and clothing.

Eagle Nest Lake

The lake has a history going back before statehood.

The C.S. Cattle Co., founded along the Cimarron River by brothers Charles and Frank Springer in 1873, asked the New Mexico territorial government in 1907 for permission to build a dam across the river. The territorial engineer agreed and within 10 years the dam was built, creating a lake covering more than 2,000 acres.

Although originally built to store water for irrigation, the lake soon attracted tourists, especially Texans escaping the sweltering summer heat. Eventually the lake was leased to the state for public use, and stocked with rainbow and cutthroat trout and kokanee salmon by the state Department of Game and Fish. …

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