Sitting Bull Falls

We are thankful for our campground neighbors at Dog Canyon Campground for giving us the tip to check out the water falls on the way out. Sitting Bull Falls was spectacular, one of the highlights of our trip. If you are ever out on this side of the Guadalupe Mountains or spending some time in Carlsbad its not to be missed.

The way to the falls is a side branch off Highway 137 is just a narrow 9 mile long chip ‘n seal path with no painted road markings that runs down the bottom of some sheer rock canyons. We saw dozens of gigantic turkey vultures flying in and out of the caves along the cliff walls, I’ve never seen where they nested before. The road crosses back and forth over the dry creek bed at the bottom with no bridges over most so they’d probably get flooded quickly in the smallest rainstorm.

Its also open range for the most part. We passed by a steer grazing and the bike startled him. He jumped up and shook his head and stamped his front hooves and looked he was about to charge us. All I could see was sharp pointy horns and briefly think, “Uh-Oh, here we are on a bright red bike passing by. I sure hope they are right and bulls are really colorblind.” Luckily he only snorted and watched us cruise by.

Some pretty impressive rock work for a simple pavilion for pick nick tables and BBQ grills.

Some of the buildings were constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps during the New Deal. Government sponsored jobs for public buildings for the greater good and enjoyment of all, much better than our cash for clunkers or many bail outs in this recession IMO.

Quite a bit of Native history here. Makes sense with this being an oasis in a otherwise fairly harsh climate.

Next to the parking area were numerous other covered pick nick tables and well manicured grounds. I’d say close to 12 other sites, and by the time we left there was people cooking at nearly all of them. I cant remember exactly, but I think it was $5 or $6 a vehicle to get in. With the walkway and pick nick areas already constructed I assume the maintenance costs for the place are fairly small, theres only the grass and landscaping to take care of. I guess that leaves enough money leftover to do these very nice grounds way out here in the middle of nowhere.

No long hike down a dusty trail like I was first picturing, the short walk to the falls is a nice paved sidewalk with railings.

Along the sidewalk are a few small caves in the “Tuffa” the rock formations made by the water flowing over the limestone or calcite. Inside some of the mini caverns are stalagmites and columns as a reminder that just a few miles away as the crow flys in the same rock layers is Carlsbad Caverns.

Cece surfing a rock wave frozen in time.

Its amazing how lush and green things are in this isolated canyon surrounded by miles of harsh arid desert.

More waterfalls on the backside.

Is this really in New Mexico? Am I dreaming? Hard to believe something like this could exist here. If I only saw the pictures I would guess it was taken somewhere tropical like Hawaii.

Closeup of the mosses and things growing higher up the waterfall.

The water downstream was a cool deep blue and ice cold with quite a few kids and other people swimming.

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