Tag Archives: canyons

Sitting Bull Falls (Carlsbad, New Mexico)

Sitting Bull Falls
~ Eddy County Rd 409, Lincoln National Forest, Carlsbad, New Mexico USA ~ https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/lincoln/recarea/?recid=34238 ~

This amazing oasis in the middle of the desert outside of Carlsbad New Mexico is amongst my world’s favorite locations and cooling off zones. I grew up with the Cave and the pools from childhood, hanging out there with friends from high school, partying in the pools above, stealthily camping and cave exploring long before there were required permits and restrictive gates or access. It has changed quite a bit, but very much improved for recreation and protecting the natural resources on location. It is a day-use only site. The site has pavilions, picnic tables, water, and restrooms accessible. There are established hiking trails from the site. It is open from 8:30 am until 6 pm with a $5 per vehicle parking fee.

The site is a astonishing dream-like 150′ waterfall than pours over canyon walls with a stalactite/stalagmite filled cavern behind it, dumping down into crystal clear natural swimming pools beneath. It is one of a series of waterfalls found in this canyon lost within the Lincoln National Forest that are spring fed through a series of streams and pools until reaching its drop-off. Most of the river’s water disappears into cracks, gravel, and bedrock and reappears in springs further down the canyon eventually joining the Pecos Valley underwater aquifer.

The geology of the area is a remnant reef system known as the Capitan Great Barrier Reef dating from the Permian period around 250 million years ago when the region was the edge of an inland sea. The name of the falls has never been proven, but legend has it that the cave behind the falls was used by Sitting Bull to hide. The Apache called the area “gostahanagunti” meaning “hidden gulch”. In 1940, the Civilian Conservation Corps constructed number of stone buildings that are now part of the parking lot and picnic area. THere is a time capsule dated March 24, 1999 embedded into one of the buildings. The park was closed from APril 27, 2011 through April 6, 2012 after wildfires in the are destroyed the area making it unsafe.

There are numerous sacred pools above the falls which are great for swimming in. In order to explore the cave behind the waterfall or any of the other caves in the area, one needs proper equipment and obtain a permit.

The site is easy to get to, though quite a distance from Carlsbad so be ready for some bumpy dirt roads. Take US highway 285 north from Carlsbad, turn west on NM 137 for 20 miles to county road 409, turn right and continue to the site. Another turn-off is right across the highway from the turn-off to Bradford Lake State Park.

Another family’s video of caving in the cave: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PWWj5Z7iy_I

Rated: 5 of 5 stars. ~ Review by Leaf McGowan/Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions ~

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7.11.09: Cronicles of STL: Chapter 2: ‘Journey to Tribal Visions & Earthships’

[ Back to Chapter 1: Volcanoes and Virgins ]   [ Chapter 2: Journey to Tribal Visions ]   [ Forward to Chapter 2: Tribal Visions ]

From the journal of Sir Thomas “Rymour Oisin” Leaf: The 11th of Quintilis (Julius Caesar’s “July”) in the good year 2009 of the Common Era: Part Une.

“I awoke earlier than Lady Allison and Maiden Astrana, so I ventured over a nook in a tree overlooking the rumbling river and blogged a bit on my laptop. I figured the Ladies needed to sleep a bit, after all it was 7 am. I’m so used to awaking early as I’m usually in the archaeological lab by 7:00 or 7:15 in the morning. I also started a new diet that had some odd eating techniques and involved 5 meals a day – but hey, I was supposed to lose 20 lbs. in 13 days. They eventually awoke and we partook of our morning rituals. As the Ladies did their rites, I packed up the tent and gear into Allison’s compact chariot. I thought this campsite in Cimarron Canyon was nice, but a little more bent to the RV tourist. Nonetheless, we got to camp in a scenic area with a nice river. Back onto the highway 64 west, we made our way into the artist haven of Taos, New Mexico. Always loved this town. So full of vibrant colors, pueblos, art, design, and expressions. We headed onwards to find this collective where the Sacred Visions Festival was being held. We stopped by the canyon, most infamous in the movie ‘Natural Born Killers’ and absorbed its immensity. Visiting the local artisans selling their wares to the side of the bridge, was quite impressed by a rastafarian’s gold leaf jewelry. Too bad I just simply did not have the $75 it would have cost for the piece. I’m such a budget-tight-wad on travels. I just never have spending money for nice things. I thought that in future travels, this has got to change. We got back into the car and headed southwest. Somehow we missed the turn off to Tribal Visions. However, we did discover a humongous and spectacular community of Earthships that warranted investigation. We wandered over to one of the show models and was going to take the tour, but given we had ice melting in the car, decided to postpone it until tomorrow, as we had agreed upon leaving the festival early in the morning for our trip home. Our main focus for Tribal Visions was to see Lunar Fire play that evening. We switched a witch back from whence we came and found the turn off, poorly marked by a stylistic half decorated pointer sign that looked like a half burnt board from a campfire, etched onto which was “Tribal Visions”. We followed the dirt gravel roads for a few miles and eventually found the turn-off. Not very well marked, we started to suspect that this gathering might not be what we were looking for.”

Continue reading 7.11.09: Cronicles of STL: Chapter 2: ‘Journey to Tribal Visions & Earthships’


Cimarron Canyon, New Mexico

Cimarron Canyon State Park
Cimarron, New Mexico * http://www.emnrd.state.nm.us/prd/CimarronCanyon.htm *
A beautiful canyon that is bisected by historic Highway 64 extending from Cimarron to Taos. The State Park is located three miles east of Eagle Nest, New Mexico. The park resides in the Colin Neblett Wildlife Area. The Canyon is a very popular location for trout fishing, especially in the Cimarron River and its tributaries – Clear Creek and Tolby Creek. It is also a very popular camping, cross country skiing, and hiking location. The park extends for eight miles. The Palisades Sill are amongst the most popular photo spots in the Canyon. Elk, Deer, Bear, Turkey, Grouse, songbirds, and mountain lions are common inhabitants. Definitely a nice road stop along Highway 64. Rating: 3 stars out of 5.

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Malad Gorge and River (Idaho)

Malad Springs and Gorge * Idaho, United States
One of my favorite little canyons off the Interstate while cruising through Idaho on my many adventures to Seattle from Colorado. The Malad River is the shortest river in the World. It is a tributary of the Snake River and is formed by the confluence of the Big Wood River and the Little Wood River near Gooding, Idaho. It flows south and west for about 11.5 miles where it joins the Snake river near Hagerman. The river creates a very deep gorge called the “Malad Gorge” where it flows through the Malad Gorge State Park, where it tumbles down an amazing waterfall. The Gorge is 250 feet deep and 2.5 miles long. Its a definite not-to-miss sight in Hagerman. Definitely a must see. Rating: 5 stars out of 5.

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Balancing Rock, Arches National Park, Moab, Utah

Balanced Rock

Balanced Rock * Arches National Park * Moab, Utah

“The forces of erosion are sculpting more than just arches. Balanced Rock clearly shows the various layers responsible for this amazing defiance of gravity. The caprock of the hard slick rock Member of the entrada sandstone is perched upon a pedastal of mudstone. This softer Dewey Bridge member of the Carmel formation weathers more quickly than the resistant hard rock above. Eventually the faster eroding Dewey Bridge will cause the collapse of Balanced Rock. ” NPS Marker.


Arches National Park (Moab, Utah)

Arches National Park

Arches National Park * http://www.nps.gov/arch/ * PO Box 907
Moab, UT 84532 * (435) 719-2299

A panoramic array of mesas, arches, canyons, and buttes naturally occuring near Moab, Utah known as Arches National Park. The National Park preserves over 2,000 natural sandstone arches, like the world-famous Delicate Arch, as well as many other unusual rock formations. The park is a diverse window into the past geologically and archaeologically with spectacular photo opportunities of vivid arrays of landscapes with contrasting colors, landforms, and textures unlike anywhere else in the world. The arches are truly a gateway to another world. Rating : 5 stars out of 5.

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Canyonlands National Park (Moab, Utah)

Canyonlands National Park

Canyonlands National Park * http://www.nps.gov/cany/ * Canyonlands National Park * 2282 SW Resource Blvd. * Moab, Utah 84532 * (435) 719-2313
In the heart of Utah near the resort town o Moab lies one of North America’s most scenic desert canyon playgrounds known as “Canyonlands”. A pristine national park that presents a panorama of colorful landscapes and canyons, mesas, and buttes that have been carved out of the earth by the Colorado River and its tributaries. These rivers have created four districts – the Island in the Sky, the Needles, the Maze, and the rivers themselves – and this is what has become preserved as “Canyonlands”. Primarily desert terrain, a multitude of micro-environments exist within the diverse terrain in the park awaiting exploration. The canyons and rivers have been explored for the last 10,000 years by a multitude of peoples – from prehistoric occupation and artwork to Euro-American settlers and homesteaders to modern day rock climbers. The Green River, the Colorado River, neighboring Horseshoe Canyon preserve and change these districts. No roads directly link each of the districts even though they appear close on the map so it makes the park requiring many days to get a full glimpse of all the districts contained within. The top sites in the park are: 1. Island in the Sky; 2. White Rim Road; 3. Needles; 4. Maze; 5. Orange Cliffs Unit (Glen Canyon NRA); 6. Horseshoe Canyon; 7. Green River; 8. Colorado River; and 9. Cataract Canyon. Rating: 5 stars out of 5. visited 8/24/08.

Mesa Arch

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Red Rocks Canyon Open Space, Manitou Springs, Colorado

Red Rocks Canyon, Manitou Springs, Colorado

Red Rocks Canyon Open Space
Manitou Springs, Colorado
A beautiful open space off of highway 24 across from Old Colorado City, and inbetween Colorado Springs and Manitou Springs, is a free hiking and picnicking space. People started using this canyon as early as the Archaic period (ca. 7,000 B.C.E.) from evidence found archaeologically. Because it was close to Fountain Creek – it was an ideal space for settlement. During the late 1800’s the area was raped for building supplies needed for pioneering Old Colorado City and its surrounding communities, such as Manitou Springs. Gypsum, sand, and sandstone was quarried from these hills … the Kenmuir Quarry was most popular in the area until the early part of the 20th century. In 1886, the Colorado-Philadelphia Company Mill used the land to refine the ore shipped by train from the gold mines in Cripple Creek and became one of the largest mills of its kind in the United States until the Golden Cycle Mill was built in the early 1900’s. In the 1920’s – John George Bock purchased the property with intent on building a resort there with a community center, high-rise tower, commercial center, and a golf course – by 2002 their family only succeeded in building a few residences, outbuildings, two doze mobile home sites, a 53 acre landfill, and 2 gravel quarries. In 2003, the City of Colorado Springs purchased the property from the Bock’s to be used as a public open space.

Red Rocks Open Space

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