Nestled in between I-10 and Loop 375 lies El Paso’s hidden lake; the Portland Cement Reservoir.
I must have driven past the lake a thousand times since I was a child. Every time I saw what appeared to be a body of water tucked away in between I-10 and Paisano. So I did some research and took a trip.
Finding a route wasn’t easy. After several attempts around a hill, I was able to find a dirt path that would eventually lead me to the water. There were fresh tire marks in the dirt on the way up, which led me to think that I wasn’t the only one in the area. After arriving, surely enough I bumped into some other curious visitors. They were swimming and enjoying a cookout near the bank. The water isn’t the clearest, but it’s not dirty either. There were even schools of fish here and there.
I reached out to the El Paso Public Water Utilities for more information on the lake. According to their public information coordinator, Claudia Ordaz, the reservoir is owned by Cemex Concrete (see ownership map, to the right.) “The water transported to the reservoir comes from the Franklin Mountain foothills by way of a stream that goes under I-10,” she said.
I also reached out to Cemex Concrete, however, they never responded to my requests. My guess is that the water is used for quarry operations. There were a few pumps and pipes going into the lake. There was also a Cemex plant that you pass on your way up the hill into the lake.
It is unclear if the lake is closed off to the public or not. There weren’t any signs or warnings anywhere. So if you decide to take a trip, go at your own risk.
Check out some of my photos below.