Sitting Bull Falls
Carlsbad, New Mexico - January 19, 2019 - Caroline, Penny and I were looking for things to do in the area while we were waiting for the government shutdown to end. We unfortunately couldn't visit the Carlsbad Caverns but we did find this is a jewel in the desert, (especially in the summer). This cool oasis offers pools of water and the awesome 150 foot high Sitting Bull Falls. I stood there and imaged what is was like finding this place in ancient times in a desert where water is scarce. We do like the name of the box canyon; 'Last Chance'. We highly recommend this as a day trip.
Sitting Bull Falls is a series of waterfalls located in a canyon in the Lincoln National Forest southwest of the city of Carlsbad, New Mexico. The United States Department of Agriculture's Forest Service maintains a popular recreation area for day use at the location of the falls.
The falls are fed by springs located in the canyon above. The water flows through a series of streams and pools until reaching the falls where it drops 150 feet into the canyon below. Most of the water disappears into the gravel or cracks in the rocks and either reappears in springs further down the canyon or joins the Pecos Valley underground water supply.
The area around Sitting Bull Falls is the remnant of a reef system known as the Capitan Great Barrier Reef dating from the Permian period. Approximately 250 million years ago, the region was located near the edge of an inland sea.
The origin of the name Sitting Bull Falls remains uncertain. One version holds that the falls were named after a Sioux medicine man. The Apache name for the area was gostahanagunti which means hidden gulch.
A number of hiking trails allow visitors access to the springs above the falls. A paved path connects the picnic area to the area around the bottom of the falls where wading and swimming are allowed. Additionally, there are a number of caves in the area which require special permits to visit.