Walk through the caves of Carlsbad Caverns National Park, slide down a dune at White Sands National Park, or watch hot air balloons float over the Albuquerque sky. However, you might look for more things to do while visiting the Land of Enchantment. Luckily, many waterfalls in New Mexico can provide a great adventure opportunity. Hiking to waterfalls provides great exercise and fabulous destinations as part of the experience.
Today, we’re looking at some unique New Mexico waterfalls to check out during your next visit to the Land of Enchantment. Let’s get started.
How Many Waterfalls Are in New Mexico?
According to the World Waterfall Database, New Mexico has 131 waterfalls. Because waterfalls depend on rain and weather conditions, the number constantly changes. So keep this in mind, especially if you visit during the dry season when rivers might dry up for the season. You don’t want to hike to a waterfall only to find dry ground.
What Is the Highest Waterfall in New Mexico?
The tallest waterfall in New Mexico is Jemez Falls. You can watch the water plunge 70 feet to the ground. We’ll share more information about this record-setting waterfall later in our list of unique New Mexico waterfalls you should visit.
Traveler’s Tip: Enjoy some rest and relaxation time in New Mexico with Your Guide To The Black Rock Hot Springs.
Unique Waterfalls in New Mexico You Have to Visit
Waterfalls are all over New Mexico. If planning a trip to the Land of Enchantment, we’ve got several you should consider exploring. Play in the water, enjoy the beauty, and have a refreshing time. Let’s dive in!
Location: Nambe Falls Dam, Santa Fe, NM 87506
The falls are in the Nambe Falls & Lake Recreation area. The park is open Thursday through Monday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., and the day fee costs $15 per carload (cash only). You can bring your pets if you keep them on a leash and clean up after them.
How to Access: Accessing Nambe Falls requires a half-mile round-trip hike. Two easy trails provide excellent views of the falls. The upper falls trail gives you a fantastic view from above, and the lower falls trail allows you to walk in the creek and enjoy the view. Make sure you bring your water shoes and sunscreen with you.
Catwalk Trail Falls
Location: Catwalk Road, Glenwood, NM 88039
About: The Catwalk Trail Falls has several small waterfalls, including a 20-foot waterfall that roars its way through volcanic rock. This unique waterfall allows you to experience the beautiful landscapes and views that many visitors love about New Mexico. The Catwalk Trail winds its way through a canyon with constantly changing scenery.
How to Access: Accessing these falls is relatively simple. You have to pay $3 per vehicle at the self-pay stations in the parking lot. This out-and-back trail is shy of 2 miles long and has minimal elevation gain.
Portions of the path are prone to closures, especially during the rainy season. Make sure to check with park officials to avoid any potential closures. It’s a fantastic view and one of the best waterfalls in New Mexico.
Sitting Bull Falls
Location: Carlsbad, New Mexico 88220
About: This desert oasis lies roughly an hour outside Carlsbad, N.M. It costs $5 per vehicle (cash only), and many visitors come to swim at the waterfall’s base. Make sure you arrive early because this is a popular area that gets very crowded, especially during the summer. This series of falls allows you to watch the water cascade down the rocks nearly 150 feet into the canyon.
How to Access: This easy trail works great for kids. It is a 0.7-mile out-and-back path where the waterfall serves as the turn-around point. Make sure to dip in the water before returning to your vehicle. However, some visitors have reported leeches, so keep an eye out and check yourself when you get out of the water.
Location: Folsom, NM 88419
About: Folsom Falls is a waterfall part of the Cimarron River. This is another beautiful desert oasis with a unique underwater cave system behind the falls. Years ago, officials made it a roadside rest area with picnic tables just a short walk to the falls. You could even fish.
How to Access: Unfortunately, the falls now lie on private property with no public access. The owners have posted no trespassing signs, and you can find yourself in serious trouble if you decide to move past the gate. However, private or not, it’s one of the many waterfalls in New Mexico.
Location: James Springs, NM 87025
About: Soda Dam is a hot spring located just outside of Jemez. It has some interesting and unique rock formations creating a small waterfall in the Jemez River. You can get out to stretch your legs and take a few pictures.
How to Access: Soda Dam has a small parking lot right off NM-4. You can see the waterfall from the lot, but you can take the opportunity to traverse the landscapes and get a closer look. Keep an eye out for any wildlife, especially during the summer.
White Rock Overlook Park Waterfall
Location: 700 Overlook Rd, White Rock, NM 87547
About: This park is small and tucked behind a residential community. However, it’s a favorite spot for many locals and tourists. You can look over the Rio Grande River, enjoy mountain views, and watch the waterfalls around the area. If you want a quick stop providing an incredible view, visit White Rock Overlook Park.
How to Access: Accessing this park requires a short detour off NM-4. Turn east off NM-4 onto Grand Canyon Drive until it ends at Meadow Lane. Turn left and continue until you reach Overlook Road on your right. You’ll arrive at the small parking lot where you can explore the area.
Bar Canyon-Soledad Canyon Waterfall
About: The Bar Canyon-Soledad Canyon can be hit or miss, depending on when you visit. Those coming in the spring and summer often find very little water. However, if you visit during the rainy season in the summer and fall, you’ll likely see water gushing down the side of the rocks.
How to Access: This is an easy 3.4-mile looping trail. With only 650 feet of elevation gain, you won’t have to worry too much about climbing hills. However, you won’t find any shade, so ensure you bring plenty of water and sunscreen for the hike.
Location: East Fork River, Jemez Springs, NM 87025
About: Jemez Falls is the highest waterfall in the Jemez Mountains. Massive Ponderosa Pines surround the falls. You can watch water drop 70 feet to the pool below when hiking in. You can enjoy this beautiful landscape that many in the nearby campground frequent.
How to Access: This is a relatively easy hike that just about anyone can enjoy. It’s a .7-mile out-and-back trail that takes approximately 20 minutes to complete. The elevation gain is only 124 feet, so it’s kid-friendly and great for beginner hikers wanting to see this New Mexico waterfall.
Traveler’s Tip: After exploring the Jemez Falls, drive through the Unique Gilman Tunnels in the Jemez Mountains.
El Salto Falls
About: El Salto Falls is a 30-foot waterfall ending in a lovely pool at the base. You can explore a cave behind the falls. Adventurers may love this unique experience. It’s a short 0.2-mile out-and-back trail that has minimal elevation gain. It’s great for kids, bird watching, and leashed pets. However, access can be tricky.
How to Access: The falls and cave are on private property. However, the owners have a pay system and liability waiver that visitors must sign before accessing the falls or cave. You could find yourself in legal issues if you fail to follow the instructions and registration process.
Instructions for paying and filling out the necessary forms are posted in the parking lot. Don’t pass up the opportunity to see another one of the great waterfalls in New Mexico.
Location: Coyote, NM 87012
About: Resumidero Falls is a trio of waterfalls that pour into a hole in a piece of solid granite. Moss grows around the area and adds to the setting. The three falls are great, but one is particularly appealing. You’ll find plenty of trails nearby and can even hike to the nearby Lichen Falls relatively easily.
How to Access: To access Resumidero Falls, you’ll need to hike up the Rio Puerco River from the Rio Puerco campground. You can also reach them by hiking along Forest Road 93 from the Resumidero campground.
Are Waterfalls in New Mexico Worth Visiting?
There’s something enchanting about the beauty of a waterfall. Enjoying the water rushing down and crashing into the pool below is relaxing and refreshing.
Many waterfalls have popular swimming holes at the base of them. Take the proper safety precautions and wear a life jacket. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
If you want to experience New Mexico waterfalls on your next vacation, the Land Enchantment offers plenty.
What New Mexico waterfall do you want to explore first? Tell us in the comments!
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