Fort Stanton-Snowy River Cave National Conservation Area

Quick Facts

Fort Stanton-Snowy River Cave National Conservation Area

New Mexico

(505) 627-0212

Map Directions

Things To Do

Overview

This 24,000-acre area protects an underground wonderland discovered in the days of the Lincoln County wars. Experienced cavers with a permit can explore the delicate formations of the Fort Stanton cave, and wonder over signatures of long-gone soldiers from the 1850s. The Snowy River cave, which is still being explored, features a thick calcite deposit on its floor and is not yet open to the public.

Aboveground, visitors can explore 60 miles of trails on foot, horseback, or mountain bike. The Rio Bonito Petroglyph Trail, reached from the Upper Rio Bonito on NM 220, is an easy to moderate two mile loop that passes petroglyphs created by the Jornada Mogollon some hundreds of years ago. Visitors can also learn more about the colorful and bloody history of this area at historic Fort Stanton, which saw active duty through the turbulent years of 1855-1896.

Primitive campgrounds are at the trailhead on NM 220 and at the entrance to Fort Stanton Cave. The trailhead on NM 220 also offers hitching rails and a stock tank. Vault toilets can be found at both campgrounds. Dispersed camping is also permitted, with a 14-day stay limit.

Map of Fort Stanton Rec. Area

Latitude, Longitude: 33.394903, -104.522724

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Activities

  • Bicycling

    There are 60 miles of trails waiting to be explored by bike.

  • Camping

    Primitive campgrounds are at the trailhead on NM 220 and at the entrance to Fort Stanton Cave. Vault toilets can be found at both campgrounds. Dispersed camping is also permitted, with a 14-day stay limit. Equestrian groups and individuals camp in the horse trails parking lot.

  • Caving

    Experienced cavers with a permit can explore the delicate formations of the Fort Stanton cave, and wonder over signatures of long-gone soldiers from the 1850s.

  • Fishing

    There are fishing spots within Fort Stanton-Snowy River Cave National Conservation Area.

  • Hiking

    There are 60 miles of trails available for hikers to explore.

  • Historic Sites

    Visitors can learn about the colorful and bloody history of this area at historic Fort Stanton, which saw active duty through the turbulent years of 1855-1896.

  • Horseback Riding

    The 60 miles of trails are open to horseback riding.

  • Hunting

    Hunting and trapping is allowed within the 24,000-acre Fort Stanton ACEC. Only youth are allowed to hunt deer in the Stanton Fort Area.

  • Off Highway Vehicles

    Please contact park offices for information on OHV use.

  • Picnicking

    There are picnicking facilites in the park area and within the campground.

Directions

Driving

Traveling on US 380, from the Village of Capitan, drive east 4.25 miles and turn south on NM 220. From the town of Lincoln, drive west 7.7 miles and turn south on NM 220 and travel one mile to the horse trails parking lot. The State owned historic Fort Stanton is approximately one mile further on NM 220.

Phone Numbers

Primary

(505) 627-0212

Links