The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Day Trip: Sitting Bull Falls


Courtesy photo

The cave located in Sitting Bull Falls has been shaped through thousands of years.

Sitting Bull Falls offers adventure and exploration. With its 150-foot waterfall, a cave to explore and pools of water, it’s a cool place for visitors looking to beat this summer’s heat. With the recent re-opening of Lincoln National Forest, Sitting Bull Falls, located in the Guadalupe Mountains, is now open to the public.

About the Falls

According to Cave Manager and Recreation Assistant Deanna Younger, Sitting Bull Falls was created over thousands of years.

“Water comes from the spring that originates three-quarters of a mile in the canyon above the falls,” Younger said. That water comes from the ground.

Located behind the falls is the Sitting Bull Falls Cave. Hidden by the rushing flow of the waterfall, the cave is surrounded by tufa rock. The cave features flowstone, draperies, stalactites, stalagmites, travertine dams and areas of water.


Stone-built picnic areas and accessible cooking grills afford venues for barbecuing in the falls’ recreation area. Hiking trails can be enjoyed, and the falls can be observed from a viewing deck that is handicap-accessible. Visitors can swim in the pools of water.

The cave behind the falls can be explored by appointment. A park ranger must be present at all times, and a permit is required.

Hours of operation, fees

Sitting Bull Falls requires a $5 use fee except on Wednesdays. Sitting Bull Falls is usually open year round. Summer hours are from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. until Sept. 1. The entrance gate closes 30 minutes before closing time. Overnight camping is not allowed in any part of the falls.

How to get there

From Portales, take U.S. 70 west toward Roswell. Merge onto U.S. 285. Continue straight taking a slight left onto southeast Main Street, which turns into U.S. 285 south. Turn right onto N.M. 137, then turn right onto Sitting Bull Falls County Road 409. End at Sitting Bull Falls.

— compiled by Paula Cronic, Freedom Newspapers


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