Mescalero Sands Recreation Area, Bureau of Land Management
Mescalero Sands is open to hiking and camping (but if you camp you'd better like sand and wind!). The area is located 40 miles east of Roswell on highway 380. Shin oak (Quercus havardii) is a shrubby oak that grows in clones thousands of years old. In April, lesser prairie chickens (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus) can be seen displaying on leks in the area. Look for the sand dune lizard (Sceloporus arenicolus) running between thickets of shin oak, and watch for snakes, including western diamondback and western rattlesnakes (Crotalus atrox and Crotalus viridis). Texas horned lizards (Phyrnosoma cornutum) are common in the rest area. Contact Rand French or Dan Baggao at the Roswell BLM Field Office, (505) 627-0272, for lesser prairie chicken viewing information and guided tours. Hats, water, and binoculars are recommended.