Ice Cave and Bandera Volcano

Grants, New Mexico

New MexicoOutdoor Activities

The Ice Cave and Bandera Volcano in Grants, New Mexico is dubbed “The Land of Fire and Ice” for a reason. The attraction features two geographic phenomena that are stark opposites: a hot-lava spewing volcano and a bitter cold ice cave. (But since the volcano is dormant, you won’t run into any actual fire.)

Start your visit to Ice Cave and Bandera Volcano at the visitor center, housed in the 1930s Old Time Trading Post, where you can buy your ticket to the trail, purchase water or snacks, get a free map, and check out the archives in a small museum. Then you can continue on to the main attractions via the two self-guided trails.

They recommend starting with the trail to Bandera Volcano, especially on a hot summer day, because you can then end your hike by cooling off in the ice cave. The volcano trail is around half a mile long and takes about 20 minutes to get to (40 minutes round trip).

You’ll walk through a variety of elements, seeing ancient lava fields, cinder cones, twisted old-growth Juniper, Fir trees, and Ponderosa Pine trees along the way. You’ll eventually reach a final lookout about 150 feet up before turning back around.

From the lookout you’ll be able to take in the Bandera Volcano, a 1,400 foot wide, 800-foot deep volcano that last erupted 10,000 years ago.

The other trail leads to the ice cave. This trail is around a quarter of a mile long and takes about 20 minutes round trip to complete. But you’ll want to allow extra time to marvel at the natural landmark that is the trail’s destination.

That destination is a perpetual ice cave (also known as Zuni Cave) that formed inside of a collapsed lava tube. For more than 3,400 years natural layers of ice have been accumulating inside of the walls, trapping cold air.

As you descend the 70-steps down into the cave via a man-made wooden staircase you’ll notice the gradual temperature change with every step down you take. The temperature inside the cave never rises above 31 degrees Farenheit. The walls glisten with a blue-green ice colored from a subspecies of algae.

The Ice Cave and Bandera Volcano is located in Grants, New Mexico, right on the Continental Divide, and just a short drive from Route 66.

Last modified: April 21, 2024
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Ice Cave and Bandera Volcano in Grants, New Mexico Route 66 Attraction

Ice Cave and Bandera Volcano

Address:
12000 Ice Caves Rd, Grants, NM 87020

Hours:
9am-5pm, Daily (March — October)

Cost:
$14 (Teenagers and Adults, 13+)
$7 (Children ages 6-12)
Free (Children under 6)

Phone Number:
(505) 783-4303

Official Website

Get Directions

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Photos of Ice Cave and Bandera Volcano in Grants, New Mexico

Ice Cave and Bandera Volcano in Grants, New Mexico Route 66 Attraction
Ice Cave and Bandera Volcano in Grants, New Mexico Route 66 Attraction
Ice Cave and Bandera Volcano in Grants, New Mexico Route 66 Attraction
Ice Cave and Bandera Volcano in Grants, New Mexico Route 66 Attraction
Ice Cave and Bandera Volcano in Grants, New Mexico Route 66 Attraction
Ice Cave and Bandera Volcano in Grants, New Mexico Route 66 Attraction

Know Before You Go

To make the most of your visit to the Ice Cave and Bandera Volcano in Grants, New Mexico, here are some things to know before you go.

  • Want to spend the night in the area? The property also offers camping cabins, RV parking, and tent camping.
  • There are three flights of stairs with 72 steps total to get down into the ice cave.
  • No reservations required.

Where to Stay Near the Ice Cave and Bandera Volcano

Complete your travel itinerary and get a good night’s rest with a stay at one of these hotels on Arizona Route 66.

Sands Motel

Sands Motel is a budget-friendly classic Route 66 motel in Grants, new Mexico. The vintage motel has carpeted floors, cable TV, microwaves, mini refrigerators, and WiFi.

Historic El Rancho Hotel

One of the best motels on Route 66, Historic El Rancho Hotel is only a short drive away from Grants. Sleep where the stars have at this 1940s hotel that has hosted some of Hollywood’s biggest movie stars and makers, including Robert Mitchum, Elia Kazan, Spencer Tracy, Katherine Hepburn, William Holden, Billy Wilder, Kirk Douglas, Gregory Peck, Troy Donahue, and more. Photos of the stars are peppered throughout the intricately designed property and each room is themed with a star’s photo and information.

Enhance your visit to Albuquerque with a tour! Whether you love walking tours, museums, or family-friendly adventures (like a hot air balloon ride), there are plenty of options for everyone.

Attractions Near the Ice Cave and Bandera Volcano on Route 66

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