Discover the caves and caverns of New Mexico to gain insight into its natural history and cultural past. Admire the magnificence of the volcanic activity that produced certain cave sites and explore others that ancient societies carved deeply into stone with simple instruments. The wonders of New Mexico’s caves and caverns can be enjoyed equally by adventurers who enjoy strenuous journeys to remote locations as well as those looking for a simple underground trek. Although the caverns in these areas are the real gems, you’ll also love exploring the above-ground landscapes and the local cities.
National Park of Carlsbad Caverns
The renowned Bat Flight Amphitheatre for the state is situated in this national park close to Carlsbad. Catch the amazing show when Brazilian free-tailed bats emerge from the cavern each day at sunset to hunt for insects from spring through autumn. Just before daybreak, the colony makes its way back into the cave. In the park, there are more than 100 caves that tourists can explore on their own or as part of guided tours lead by park rangers. A hallmark of the park is having two routes to choose from to reach its most popular location, the Big Room: a 45-minute short hike or a 90-minute longer hike. You’ll be in awe of the artefacts and subsurface formations, which include a rope ladder from the 1920s.
National Monument El Malpais, New Mexico
Visit caves close to Grants to explore landforms, flora, and bats in old, collapsed lava tubes. You must have the necessary gear, including hiking boots, helmets, torches, and gloves, in addition to a free permit from the visitor centre in order to enter the five park caverns that are accessible to the general public. The cave tunnels range in difficulty from challenging (be prepared to scramble over rocks and squeeze through tight spaces) to moderate (reflectors mark the way). Visit the nearby historic Ice Caves Trading Post store and museum before making your way to “The Land of Fire and Ice”‘s Ice Cave and Bandera Volcano via the shade of junipers, firs, and Ponderosa pines. Cool off in the cave, which is a cold and dark place.
Monument to the Dwellings on the Cliffs of Gila
This park, which is among the few locations still allowing tourists into cliff dwellings, is roughly 1.5 hours from Silver City and is encircled by the Gila National Forest and Gila Wilderness. Hike a loop trail to reach the caves that previously served as the nomadic Mogollon Pueblo Culture’s shelters; the caves date to the late 1200s. View the interior walls they constructed while admiring the breathtaking canyon below. After visiting the homes, take a 20-minute stroll from the tourist centre to the Lightfeather Hot Spring for a well-earned dip.
Desert Peaks and Organ Mountains National Monument
A 30-minute drive east of Las Cruces, in this vast mountain wilderness, which includes the Organ, Sierra, and East Potrillo ranges, are well-known historical caverns including Geronimo’s Cave and La Cueva Rock Shelter. Over volcanic areas where lava formerly flowed, ancient tribes once lived here 10,000 years ago. View the ancient carvings known as petroglyphs on canyon walls, peer inside the caves where outlaws later hid and explore old towns amidst nearly 250 archaeological sites.
National Monument Bandelier
More than 13,300 hectares of stunning canyon and mesa landscapes are accessible by car approximately an hour outside of Santa Fe. On the Main (Pueblo) Loop Trail (New Mexico), be astounded by petroglyphs and cave houses with hand-crafted walls. Near the bottom of the valleys, some old homes made of volcanic tuff were constructed. Others are caves, which resemble caves and have interior rooms that are enclosed by walls. About 850 years ago, members of the Ancestral Pueblo culture etched them into the canyon walls. The Tyuonyi Overlook Trail is a fantastic way to explore the park, especially when combined with a ranger-led walk into the mesa. Amazing canyon views may be seen, along with a shrine, native vegetation, and the remains of rooms where Ancestral Puebloans formerly resided.
National Grasslands, Cibola National Forest, and Sandia Man Cave
Learn about the wonders of the Cibola National Forest and National Grasslands, which are located in the Sandia Mountains about an hour outside of Albuquerque. Visit Sandia Man Cave, an ancient site hidden into the wall of Las Huertas Canyon, by hiking a short but steep walk. A window-like view of the surroundings will be your reward for climbing the stairs to the limestone ledge. Step inside a location that is significant to the Sandia Pueblo tribe both historically and culturally if you are dressed appropriately for caving. After modern-day university, students unearthed the old cave in the middle of the 1930s, arrowheads, animal bones, and other everyday artefacts were discovered there.