We are going inside a 10,000 year old lava tube to see an ice cave. Wow! We have never done anything like this. Grants, New Mexico is a few miles south of I-40, and home to the Ice Cave and Bandera Volcano.
Here we are at the entrance to the ice cave and Bandera volcano.
We are in the West Central Zuni Mountain Range, on the continental divide. First we stop at the Ice Cave Trading Post.
The Ice Cave Trading Post
This is a combination museum, gift shop, information station and where we pay and register to visit the ice cave. The artifacts and ancient pottery on display are 800-1,200 year old. This is privately owned property, so we are happy they let tourists visit the ice cave. The Bandera Volcano erupted about 10,000 years ago, creating lava tubes, leaving volcanic rock and making conditions right for the ice cave. We are following an ancient lava trail to the ice cave. This lava rock was tossed all over the ground.
Scattered lava rocks
Along the way, we are enthralled by these ancient twisted trees.
Ancient twisted tree
This hole in the ground, insulated by lava rock, served as a natural underground refrigerator, before electricity was available here.
Natural underground refrigerator
The native American Indians occupied this land for years. This cave entrance in the back of the photo, is really an entrance to a lava tube.
Native American Indians used the lava tube like a cave.
Continuing along the lava trail, we go down 3 flights of open stairs for a total of 69 steps. We are going into the partially destroyed lava tube.
Lave tube with top collapsed. Stair railing on the left
We will never be completely underground and in the dark, as the top of the lava tube is partially collapsed. We are almost at the ice cave. This sign explains what we are seeing. The temperature on the ice never exceeds 31 degrees F.
Why does it stay frozen?
And it gets hot here in the New Mexico desert during the summer. This is the ice of the ice cave.
Ice is very old and never gets above freezing.
We are here, but mom could not get good photos of us and the ice.
Soapy and JB Duck at the Ice Cave
The ice shows blue and green colors, reflected from the sun.
Colors reflect on ice and on rocks
This is the first time we were in a lava tube and this is our first ice cave. Leaving the ice cave, we appreciated the red bark on these trees.
Love the red bark on this tree
We hope you will visit an ice cave soon. It is really interesting to see. When you come here, you can also walk to the top of the volcano. It was very windy when we were there and we have seen volcanos, so we did not walk to the top this time. Maybe next time if it is not so windy. This is the last stop on our desert road trip. We really enjoyed all the places we visited and the things we saw. We hope you also enjoyed seeing this part of the United States with us.