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.