Sitting Bull Falls

Climbed out from Carlsbad Caverns with enough daylight left for long-shot destinations.  Where am I headed next?  Upwards into the mountains a bit in search of places less traveled.  Clouds were getting moody and threatening rain – not much fell, but the backdrop they provided was fantastic.

Sitting Bull Falls

If you follow this blog, you’re already aware I like checking out waterfalls.  Never would have thought I could find one in the desert.  Lo and behold one exists in the foothills of the Lincoln National Forest.

Welcome to Sitting Bull Falls Recreation Area.  Originally built in 1940 by the CCC, this spot has several covered picnic shelters and a trail head leading farther out into the wilderness.  There is even a time capsule within the CCC history marker to be opened in 2040 at the 100th anniversary.

Hiking to the main falls viewpoint is extremely easy via the paved concrete path (wheelchair accessible if I’m not mistaken).

A few steps off the paved path brings you directly to the bottom of Sitting Bull Falls.  These were what I refer to as the “main” falls (someone correct me if my naming is wrong and I will update things).

Below the falls water gathers in a small pool before running off as a trickle into the canyon.  Water is crystal clear but appears green due to plants/algae growing on the rocks.  I believe the falls are spring-fed and generally safe to swim in (make sure you check park notices before jumping in to prevent fatal parasites).

A foot worn path leads upstream from the “main” falls to another spot I would call the “upper” falls.  Flow doesn’t seem to be as forceful here but is a very beautiful spot.

Thunderstorms and Rainbows

Driving away from the falls clouds were still a bit uneasy, but in the distance I spotted something even more unusual than a waterfall in the desert: A RAINBOW!

Here’s a closer look a bit further down the road.  Can’t say I ever expected to see this.  No pot of gold or leprechauns at the end.

Closer to Carlsbad the storms picked up again.  Never had any rain on my path but over the plains I did see quite the lighting show.


Short video of both upper & main falls.  Enjoy!

This little drive took much longer than I expected but was well worth it.  Heading back to Carlsbad AirBnB for some sleep.  Where will I be tomorrow?

Lat = 32.2434464 , Long = -104.6960754 -- Show at Google Maps

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