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Sitting Bull Falls...

Sitting Bull Falls is about 50 miles Southwest of Carlsbad.  Take Highway 285 to New Mexico 137
(Watch for sign to Brantley State Park and turn West instead of East into Brantley Park) and turn right at the fork to County Road 409.

Time Capsule
A time capsule was placed in this monument on March 24, 1999. It contains representations of our generation's hope and vision for conservation efforts on the National Forest in the future. This capsule will be opened during the 100th anniversary of the Civilian Conservation Corps construction of Sitting Bulls Falls in 2040.

In 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt established the Civilian Conservation Corps to help combat the effects of the Great Depression. The Department of Labor, the War Department, and the Department of Agriculture combined to develop projects and hire the work force to complete them. Men, ages 18 to 25, worked for periods of six months.

Each man received $35 a month, of which $25 was sent home to their families. The Civilian Conservation Corps projects helped the National Forest conservation effort and improved its recreation program.

In 1940, Civilian Conservation Corps workers constructed the rock shelter before you. Our heart-felt thanks go out to these men who left a legacy of conservation and caring for the land.
Sitting Bull Falls

How did Sitting Bull Falls get its name?
No one knows for certain where the name "Sitting Bull Falls" originated. Some accounts indicate it was named for Sitting Bull, a Sioux medicine man. Others say it was named after an early explorer who had a gift for telling tall tails. Long ago, the Apaches called this place "gostahanagunti", or "hidden gulch".

Where does the water come from?
The water begins underground where it comes to a spring. The spring itself is located in the canyon above.  From there it travels down the canyon until it reaches Sitting Bull Falls.

Where does the water go?
The water first disappears into the gravelly bottom. It then runs into the cracks in the base may reappear in springs farther down the canyon, or it may run through underground rivers into the ground water supply along the Pecos Valley.

How tall is the water fall?
Sitting Bull Falls measures 150 feet in height.

Look around! The sheer cliffs surrounding you are remnants of an ancient Permian reef complex. Approximately 250 million years ago during Permian time, this entire area was covered by an inland sea. The Capitan Great Barrier Reef grew along the margins at this sea creating shallow lagoons behind it. If you were standing here during Permian time, you would have been covered by Lagoon water. Over the years, sediment was deposited. These sediments metamorphosed into rocks. The rocks were uplifted by plate tectonics and eventually eroded by wind and water to expose the rock strata surrounding you.

Hidden beneath the surface of the forest are some of the most magnificent and important wild caves in the world.  The unique geological process that formed these caves, the rare and beautiful cave formations, the scientific value, and the vertical challenges within the passageways attract scientists and cavers from around the world.  If interested in visiting a wild cave, a permit can be obtained by contacting the Guadalupe Ranger District.

Picnic & BBQ Grounds

There are great sheltered picnic areas located at the base of the canyon before entering the falls area.  There are  BBQ pits located next to each covered picnic area.

The water that flows from the falls is clear crisp spring water.  Depending on the time of year you visit the falls, the size of the lake will vary greatly as well as the flow.  There are stairs that will allow you walk right down to the waters edge.

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