Sitting Bull Falls Recreation Area

Area Status: Open
sitting bull falls

A desert oasis. Sitting Bull Falls is about an hour outside of Carlsbad, NM and it is currently open 6 days a week. Pack a picnic for one of our historic picnic shelters. Then take a dip at the waterfall or hike one of the many trails in the area. Cost is $5 per vehicle. Cash only. Come early and expect a crowd. This place gets busy, especially in the summer! This is a day-use site only. Sorry no camping. Please bring extra drinking water. The best time of year to visit is spring and fall.

**Currently, Sitting Bull Falls Recreation Area is CLOSED on Tuesday.**

At a Glance

Operational Hours: Currently CLOSED on Tuesday.  Day-use only. Open 6 days a week. Incoming gate opens at 9:30am and closes to in-coming traffic at 4:00 pm daily.  All visitors must leave by 5 pm when the outgoing gate closes. 
Area Amenities: Accessible,Fee charged for some activities,Picnic tables,Toilets,Drinking water,Parking
Fees: $5 per vehicle per day; there are 2 first come first served available spaces for RV/Buses with a fee of $10 per day. 
Usage: Medium-Heavy
Busiest Season: Summer
Restrictions: Day-use only. No overnight camping permitted. Currently closed on TUESDAY!
Closest Towns: Carlsbad, NM
Water: Potable Water
Restroom: Yes
Operated By: Forest Service

General Information


From US285 north of Carlsbad, turn west onto NM137. Continue on NM137 for about 20 miles until you find County Road 409. Turn right on this road and continue. The Sitting Bull Falls Recreation Site is at the end of this road

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information


Day Hiking



Guadalupe Ranger District picnic area.
Difficulty Level: Easy


Picnic tables: Yes
Fee charged for some activities: Day-use fee
Parking: Yes
Toilets: Yes
Accessible: Yes
Drinking water: Yes

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities


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