Geotourism Mapguide: A travel guide to the places most respected and recommended by locals.
  Geologic Feature

Ice Cave & Bandera Volcano - New Mexico's Land of Fire & Ice

For a fun and educational experience, visit New Mexico's Land of Fire and Ice. Let your imagination soar as you enjoy the self guided walking tour to the Ice Cave and Bandera Volcano.

The trail to the Bandera Volcano winds gently up and around the majestic natural landmark to a lookout point located within its southern breach for a breathtaking view of inside the caldera and a stunning, elevated view of the rugged lava flow that poured forth when it rose up in a fiery spectacle 10,000 years ago. Approximately 1,200 feet across and 800 feet deep, Bandera has been called one of the best examples of a volcanic, cinder-cone eruption in North America. Standing as a magnificent monument to Earth's volcanic fury, Bandera overwhelms proportion.

The trail to the Ice Cave wanders over Bandera's lava field among twisted, old-growth forest, along the same pathway that early Pueblo people followed to discover a natural phenomenon that they described as "Winter Lake." Early American settlers and the US Calvary were also drawn to this natural wonder and called it "The Desert Ice Box." Located in a section of collapsed lava tube, the Ice Cave is a unique combination of physical factors that have combined to form a natural ice box and has been accumulating ice for over 3,000 years. Inside the Ice Cave, the temperature never rises above 31 degrees Fahrenheit and where natural layers of perpetual ice glisten blue-green in reflected rays of sunlight. A rich history of refreshing splendor, the Ice Cave has attracted people down into its mysteriously cool depths for over 1,200 years.

Situated atop the Continental Divide at 8,000 feet elevation, the Land of Fire and Ice is located in a Ponderosa Pine, Piñon, Juniper, Douglas Fir, Gambel Oak and Quaking Aspen forest/high desert mix. It is a rare treat to spot Rocky Mountain Elk, Mule Deer, Wild Turkey or a Black Bear but common to observe typical small forest animals and a wide variety of wild birds. The Land of Fire and Ice is home to the oldest known and living Douglas Fir tree in New Mexico, nearly 1,300 years old. it is healthy and still producing pine cones.

The Ice Cave and Bandera Volcano is a family owned and operated natural landmark and tourist attraction, a proud heritage established in the early 1900's. The Candelaria family welcomes nearly 30,000 visitors annually. People from around the world and of all ages enjoy the tour and the family's genuine, friendly, New Mexico Hospitality. The Ice Cave and Bandera Volcano is an authentic and natural, educational field trip for schools and groups and provides unique opportunities to learn about New Mexico's cultural and geologic history. It is a self guided walking tour that includes two trails and an interpretive trail guide / brochure. The Ice Cave and Bandera Volcano is open every day of the year and the tour takes about one hour to experience at a leisurely pace.

Experience the breathtaking beauty of this sacred place. Visit the Land of Fire and Ice and capture some of New Mexico's most unique photographic scenery.

Recreational Opportunities

The Ice Cave and Bandera Volcano is open every day of the year and offers a fresh and unique perspective in all four seasons.

A self guided walking tour takes about one hour to experience at a leisurely pace.

It is a relaxing and spiritually invigorating experience.

Seasons Accessible

The Ice Cave and Bandera Volcano self guided waling tour is open every day of the year.

Fees: Teens & Adults: $10.00, Seniors 65 yrs+: $9.00, Children 5-12 yrs: $5.00, Children under 5 yrs: Free.

For More Information, Contact:

Jeff Alford
12,000 Ice Caves Rd, Grants, NM 87020
(505) 783-4303 · toll-free (888) ICE-CAVE

Darla VanderVoord wrote on October 17, 2016: I took my daughter on a cross-country trip for her high school graduation. We stopped anywhere she wanted and she chose here. It was an one of the highlights of our trip. That was 5 years ago and today I am writing a paper on it for my Geology class, that's how much of an impression it left on me. I'd love to go back. I fully recommend it for anyone, especially anyone with kids who want to have fun and teach them something all at once.

Barela Family wrote on February 17, 2016: We went last year as a part of our geology study. Beautiful area and a fun hike. The store has great information and rocks available for the avid collector to purchase. We really enjoyed this outing and highly recommend it!

Danny hogue. wrote on May 21, 2015: I used to live on Grants. I have been to bandera crater and ice cave several times. A trip well worth the time.

Barbara Taylor Moore wrote on April 18, 2013: I work for Science Matters in America in Littleton, CO. While proofreading our curriculum on volcanos, it made me want to look up the Bandera Volcano near Grants. It just made me smile when I saw the 1956 picture of my classmate, Janet. We always took out of town guest to the Ice Caves. It's like nothing else you'll find anywhere.

Pebbles wrote on March 17, 2013: I went to the volcano and ice cave as a teenager. I'd ask that when you go, close your eyes, and standing on the volcano, imagine the magma exploding out of the top. Then, descend to the ice gave, and imagine someone harvesting ice hundreds of years ago. It's quite mind blowing!! Hope you like it like l did !!

Kathy Smith wrote on May 08, 2012: The Ice Cave and Bandera Volcano are a must see when you are in the area. The gift store also features some great artifacts.

Tim Postiff wrote on September 23, 2010: Despite having been in the area several times this is the first I've heard of it. Two words that seldom go together, ice and volcano - seems like an almost impossible natural feature.

Anne Rickstrew wrote on September 21, 2010: We love the Ice Cave and Bandera Volcano. We have visited many times. It is awesome, majestic and so peaceful there. The trails to the Ice Cave and the volcano are well-maintained and are accessible 365 days a year, no matter what the weather. The store contains many interesting resources about the area and the staff is very friendly and helpful. They provide a picnic area to have lunch after the hike to the cave and crater as well as sell snacks and cold drinks in the store. It is an educational opportunity for the whole family. We love it there and will keep going back to visit.

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Boundaries and names shown do not necessarily reflect the map policy of National Geographic.

Latitude: 34.992833300
Longitude: -108.080000000
Elevation: 7845 FT (2391 M)
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