The 5 Best Swimming Holes in New Mexico

Written by Kirstin Harrington
Updated: October 22, 2023
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You’ll want to be ready if you intend to engage in watering hole activities in New Mexico throughout the summer. It’s crucial to keep in mind that New Mexico is largely comprised of desert areas, and as a result, the summers can get quite warm. The sunshine is beaming down and the temperature reaches over 100°F on certain days.

Thankfully, this beautiful state has plenty of swimming holes to keep you cool, no matter how warm it is outside! 

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The Blue Hole is undoubtedly the most breathtaking swimming hole among all the natural swimming areas in New Mexico. Its name is very appropriate given the rich teal hue. The pool’s water is astonishingly pure and immaculate, and it is almost 80 feet deep. Below we’ll talk more about the Blue Hole, as well as a few of the other incredible swimming holes in New Mexico! 

Cliff River Springs

The best time to travel in the Land of Enchantment is during the summer, but this charming hotel option in La Madera close to Ojo Caliente offers a magical escape all year round. Eight lovely casitas are available for rental, with plenty of outdoor space to stretch your legs. 

Just one hour north of Santa Fe, on 1,200 acres of gorgeous high desert land, is where you’ll find Cliff River Springs. The Mother Spring is one of the ranch’s outstanding features. This is a crystal-clear spring-fed pond that is ideal for cooling off in the hot summer months. 

The pond receives its natural water supply from the Earth through an acequia. You may hear the tranquil sound of flowing water from inside the casita, making the scene the ideal backdrop for a relaxing vacation. The water is the perfect temperature without being too frigid, even on breezy days. 

The Blue Hole 

Blue Hole looks like a large blue diamond in the middle of the desert. It was formerly known as Blue Lake and is one of seven sister lakes that are linked by a significant subsurface water system. This marvel characterizes the area while also appearing to provide a juxtaposition to the nearby red mesas. 

The Santa Rosa Sink was created by a geological phenomenon, and the area is magical, as water is in a region with little rainfall. Due to the water entirely renewing four times a day, this swimming hole is forever changing. 

Visitors are astonished to find that visibility is an astounding 100 feet deep. The temperature stays the same all year round, at a comfortable 62 degrees, making it the perfect place to visit! You can swim, dive, snorkel, cliff jump, and more at the infamous Blue Hole! 

The Blue Hole Santa Rosa New Mexico
The Blue Hole is one of the most beloved swimming holes in all of New Mexico!

©Teresa Otto/

Abiquiú Lake

Found in north New Mexico lies Abiquiu Lake. If you’re looking for a man-made swimming whole, look no further than Abiquiú Lake. It’s located on Highway 84 close to the city of Abiquiu. Officially, the dam in the Chama River that formed this sizable lake is a reservoir. 

You can make use of up to 5,200 surface acres of water during the summer. Cliff diving is a popular sport here, along with swimming, and enjoying the clean, blue water. Beautiful red sandstone rock encircles this lake, offering a gorgeous view every time! 

People from all over the country stop at Abiquiú Lake to spend the day kayaking, canoeing, and paddleboarding. There’s a nearby campground for people wanting to spend multiple days in the picturesque area. 

Sitting Bull Falls

In the scorching desert, the Sitting Bull Falls Recreation Area is a unique beauty. The magnificent waterfall that goes along with this swimming hole is one of its outstanding features. Near Carlsbad, New Mexico, Sitting Bull Falls is open five days a week and is located about an hour away.

Visitors can take the short walkway to the swimming and relaxation area at the base of the falls. A lengthier climb will take you to the summit of the falls, where there are other swimming holes and the spring source. 

The water at the top of the falls tends to be a bit warmer, as it has more access to sunlight than the base of the falls. Beware of leeches, particularly in the areas of the pools with thick shallow vegetation! They are little creatures and are therefore easy to miss.

Sitting Bull Falls New Mexico
Sitting Bull Falls has the most magnificent waterfall.

©Alex Clary Photography/

Bottomless Lakes State Park

If you’re looking for endless amounts of fun, plan a trip to Bottomless Lakes State Park. While we wish they served bottomless mimosas, instead you’ll get to cool off by enjoying the sparkling turquoise water. 

The distance from Roswell to this state park is only 14 miles. Experience kayaking or canoeing, camping, fishing, picnicking, swimming, hiking, watching birds, or even scuba diving! This park’s unusual lakes are sinkholes that are between 17 and 90 feet deep. The lakes appear to be very deep because of the greenish-blue color that aquatic plants produce.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © designwithval/

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About the Author

Kirstin is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering animals, news topics, fun places, and helpful tips. Kirstin has been writing on a variety of topics for over five years. She has her real estate license, along with an associates degree in another field. A resident of Minnesota, Kirstin treats her two cats (Spook and Finlay) like the children they are. She never misses an opportunity to explore a thrift store with a coffee in hand, especially if it’s a cold autumn day!

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