Sights around Carlsbad

Carlsbad Caverns is SO amazing that it deserves its own post, and I still may have too many photos for one post. 😉 But, there is so much cool stuff in the area that I wanted to share this first…

The Pecos River runs right through the city of Carlsbad, and they have dammed the river and created a beautiful park along the lake. There is a lovely walking trail on both sides of the lake, a sports and recreation complex, even a beach park with swimming and boat rentals. We were wishing we had brought our suits because even on this May Day, the temp hit 95 degrees!

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95 degrees = helmet hair

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Jim White statue – local hero and discoverer of Carlsbad Caverns

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Jim White’s story

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A small dam on Lake Carlsbad, looking north

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Looking south over the same dam

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Shadow people highlight the lovely walkway across the lake

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Old building complex and fountain

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Looking North from the walkway toward the beach park

 

Sitting Bull Falls 

We were fortunate to happen upon a video from a New Mexico travel show that described a little-visited oasis in this vast desert land, about 30 miles from the Caverns. Sitting Bull Falls is a day-use recreation area, with hiking, pavilions, picnic areas and restrooms in the Lincoln National Forest. When we asked about it at the Caverns, we were given the loooong way to get there, and instead followed the GPS and took Dark Canyon Road, a 20-mile wander across the desert, with only a working quarry and 3 ranch/residences to encounter along the way, from National Parks Highway to NM 137.
The ranger said that the road was paved, but only between the potholes. We took that as a challenge, we ride GSs after all! So, with the potholes, cattle guards, cattle, cow patties, low water crossings, and a little bit of speed, we caught air a few times! 😀

The view of the desert landscape where you turn on Sitting Bull Road. You can see smoke drifting up from a distance. There was apparently a fire somewhere in the Guadalupe Mountains to the south, but we couldn’t find any details.

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Anyway, once you reach the Sitting Bull Falls parking area, the contrast is amazing. The picnic and hiking area is so green!

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There is a paved walkway to the overlook and bottom of the falls, with incredibly clear, cold pools and lush greenery you’d never expect to see in the desert! I’ll let the pictures do the talking here.

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And I am sorry you can’t feel the cool mist from the falls, but at least you can hear and see it in this brief video.

So, there is a longer, much steeper trail to the top of the falls, but we had to go! Jerry stopped at the top of the falls, but I kept walking, for about a mile, trying to find the spring which is the source of the falls, but it must be WAY up the canyon. What I did see was a strange mix of lush green stream and dead trees. Hmmm…

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The top of the falls is definitely worth the climb, but I cannot believe I didn’t take a picture of the trail up. It was steep!

Here are a few photos at the top of the bluff.

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A pool at the top of the bluff

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The main falls going off the bluff top

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A side stream up top

One last view waaay down to the pool below the falls. You wouldn’t be up here if you are afraid of heights!20170502_161951

The hike down wasn’t bad. We investigated a couple of the structures in the picnic area, like this stone pavilion which was fascinating due to the sheer size of the stones. Impressive work by the CCC.

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And a final look at the scenery as we left the park…pure desert yet again!

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Thank you for following along on our travels, I truly appreciate your support. 🙂

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15 thoughts on “Sights around Carlsbad

    • Thanks Richard, there was much more to see than just the Caverns. But if our experience was any indication, June may be really hot. 🌶 You may be able to find info on average temps online, fingers crossed!

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