|- elevation 5,040 ft (1,536 m)|
Phone +1 575-374-8808
|Area 191 ha|
|Address 141 Clayton Lake Rd, Clayton, NM 88415, USA|
Hours Open today · Open 24 hoursMondayOpen 24 hoursTuesdayOpen 24 hoursWednesdayOpen 24 hoursThursdayOpen 24 hoursFridayOpen 24 hoursSaturdayOpen 24 hoursSundayOpen 24 hours
Management New Mexico State Parks Division
Similar Morphy Lake State Park, Storrie Lake State Park, Sumner Lake State Park, Santa Rosa Lake State Park, Coyote Creek State Park
Clayton Lake State Park is a state park of New Mexico, United States, featuring a 170-acre (69 ha) recreational reservoir and a fossil trackway of dinosaur footprints. It is located 15 miles (24 km) north of Clayton, close to New Mexico's border with Colorado, Oklahoma, and Texas. The landscape is characterized by rolling grasslands, volcanic rocks, and sandstone bluffs, set on the western edge of the Great Plains. The park area was a stopover point for travelers along the Cimarron Cutoff of the Santa Fe Trail.
Visitor activities include picnicking, camping, and fishing at the lake, as well as viewing one of the most extensive dinosaur trackways in North America. Clayton Lake was created by the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish in 1955 as a fishing lake and winter waterfowl resting area.
A dam was constructed across Seneca Creek, which is actually a series of seeps except after heavy rains. During the fishing season, which usually runs from March to October each year, the lake is a popular spot for anglers hoping to catch trout, catfish, bass, and walleye. Boats are allowed on the lake, but are restricted to trolling speeds. The lake is closed to fishing during the winter, when it serves as a stopover for waterfowl.
The park offers a group shelter and a modern comfort station. The dinosaur tracks are embedded in rock near the lake. They can be observed on the dam spillway at the end of a gentle 0.25-mile (0.40 km) trail. The best times to view the tracks are in the morning and the late afternoon. A sheltered gazebo and a boardwalk trail provide extensive information regarding the dinosaurs.
In 2010 the Clayton Lake State Park with the Star Point Observatory was designated by the International Dark-Sky Association as a Dark Sky Park.