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Ultimate Guide to Visiting Sitting Bull Falls

Ultimate Guide to Visiting Sitting Bull Falls

Have you ever been to Sitting Bull Falls? It’s a bunch of waterfalls and a recreation area that is located in the Lincoln National Forest in New Mexico.

It’s just a short drive from Carlsbad, New Mexico and it’s worth every minute of your time. The water is so clear that you can see all the way down to the bottom, which makes for some great pictures!

There are also picnic tables nearby where you can have lunch or just enjoy the scenery. If you’re in New Mexico anytime soon, make sure to stop by Sitting Bull Falls–you won’t regret it!

You’ll be able to enjoy nature at its finest while enjoying a day out with friends and family. Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about visiting Sitting Bull Falls, let’s dive in!

About Sitting Bull Falls

Sitting Bull Falls is a relatively unknown waterfall about 5 hours away from Albuquerque. It’s in the Lincoln National Forest and there are some great hiking and camping areas, so I recommend taking time to explore the area.

Depending on how much time you have, you could also join in on the adjacent trail and head out into the backcountry for a day.

Just be aware that this area is known to get snow in winter and there are some steep drop-offs, so I wouldn’t recommend this hike with children unless you are more confident about your hiking skills and know-how to navigate on steep, rocky terrain.

As mentioned before, Sitting Bull Falls is also known for camping, so if you are looking to get away and really enjoy the outdoors, a weekend of hiking and enjoying nature here would be wonderful!

Things to do at Sitting Bull Falls


Sitting Bull Falls is a wonderful, secluded place in New Mexico that is perfect for hiking. Whether you’re looking for a nice afternoon hike with the family, or are visiting to explore the backcountry and do some hiking, this beautiful wilderness area has it all.

There’s a variety of hiking, including one trail that is a paved road that will take you right up to where the falls drop 150 feet into a pool of water below! If you’d like to experience the full extent of Sitting Bull Falls, you can take one of the many nearby trails that lead into the wilderness.

If you’re looking for a short walk with some great views, I’d suggest taking a pleasant stroll on the 3/4 mile Trail of Shadows. This is an easy paved trail that takes you right up to where you can see Sitting Bull Falls in its full beauty. It’s a really scenic trail so bring your camera!

If you’re looking for more of a challenge, you can take the 8-mile loop on both the Trail of Shadows and Meadow Loop trails. This is perfect for those who want to spend some time exploring or hiking through beautiful scenery without pushing themselves too hard.

To find more trails at Sitting Bull Falls, click here!


You can swim right at Sitting Bull Falls! There’s a sandy beach and the water is absolutely perfect for playing in. It’s not too deep since the falls are right there, but you’ll still want to have your kids close by.

There’s also a nice shallow pool about 50 yards downstream from the falls that is perfect for kids to play in.

This area is also great for those looking to cool down on a hot day because it’s so shady and secluded underneath a rocky overhang.

The pool is big enough that you won’t feel crowded and you can even sit out on some rocks in the sun during your visit.

Walk through the Canyon

If you’re short on time, you can still get an amazing view of Sitting Bull Falls by just taking a walk through the canyon. There are paved trails that take you up to the top of the canyon so you can get an amazing view of this gorgeous waterfall from above.

There’s really no better way to finish off your visit than with a hike in one of these great trails!

If you’re looking for some fun along the way, be sure to stop by and visit the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge. This is a popular attraction for visitors to Sitting Bull Falls that you can’t miss!

Mountain Biking

If you’re looking for some adventure, mountain biking is a great activity to do at Sitting Bull Falls. There are trails that are specifically set up for this and have everything you need including maps, signs, and a bike pump.

Mountain bikers will be able to choose from different options depending on their skill level.

Be advised that the trails here are more advanced than those at many other local parks so riders will need to be in good physical shape and know how to navigate technical terrain in order to enjoy themselves.

There is also the option of signing up for guided mountain bike tours with experienced guides who have knowledge of these trails. These tours provide guests with rental bikes as well as knowledgeable guides who lead the way, explaining the best parts of the trail along the way. You’ll have a great time on these fun guided tours!

Or, if you are feeling confident, you can take your bike out and go mountain biking on your own.

Bird Watching

Sitting Bull Falls is an excellent spot for bird-watching enthusiasts who are looking to get away from traffic, noise, and pollution.

You can see a variety of birds here including hummingbirds, hawks, woodpeckers, and many more. If you’re patient, you just might come across a javelina or two!

How to get to Sitting Bull Falls

To get to Sitting Bull Falls from I-40, take exit 301 and head east on NM Hwy 371. After a short distance, you will come to Interstate 25. Take this south for 20 miles until you get to Exit 114 (NM Hwy 11).

Turn left onto NM Hwy 11 heading west towards Carlsbad Caverns. Go for about 5 miles and take a right on County Road B006 / Sitting Bull Rd. Take this for 6 miles and you will see the park on your left hand side.

The best way to get there is to enter the location into your GPS device before you go. You can also use these coordinates: 32 . 79412 -106 .39556. You’ll be able to see the park from the highway, so you should have no problem finding it!

The hours of operation for Sitting Bull Falls are as follows: 8:30am and the gates to enter the park close at 4pm and the park closes at 5pm.

Best Time of year to visiting Sitting Bull Falls

The best time of year to visit Sitting Bull Falls in New Mexico is during the summer months.

This is because it’s more likely to be sunny in the summer than during the winter, and there’s a better chance you’ll be able to hike in the lush green forest then.

Wrapping Up

If you’re looking for a hike and some beautiful scenery, Sitting Bull Falls is the place to go. It’s not too long of a hike either which makes it perfect for people who want an easy day out in nature.

You’ll also find cabanas with picnic tables, restrooms, charcoal grills, drinking water, and paved trails through the canyon ending at the falls. We hope you enjoyed our travel guide to visiting this gorgeous destination, happy travels!