Bandera Crater - Ice Caves is a 1.9 mile out and back trail located near San Rafael, New Mexico that features a cave and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for hiking and walking and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

Distance: 1.9 miles Elevation Gain: 183 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dog friendly

kid friendly

hiking

walking

cave

views

rocky

historic site

fee

The trail takes off from the quaint Ice Caves Trading Post which houses many Native American artifacts found in the area dating back 1200 years. There are actually 2 trails leaving from the Trading Post. The trail to the ice caves is relatively short and takes roughly 20 minutes round trip. You will hike down to the mouth of the cave and look in from an observation platform. The cave itself never gets about 31 degrees year round. From the Trading Post another trail takes you up to look into the Bandera volcano crater. The trail is wide and easy although once you begin going up it doesn't stop until you're at the crater lookout. It is a rewarding hike 1/2 mile each way which has incredible views into the crater, collapsed lava tubes and other cinder cones off in the distant. Although the trails are short and somewhat pricey for admission it is still a great hike for the family and why not buy some cool trinkets at the Trading Post? Note: $12 fee per person

hiking
fee
14 days ago

Fun, easy trail, recommend for families. We hiked both the the crater & ice caves in about an hour, starting at 10am, and mostly had the trail to ourselves. Definitely worth the $12/adult fee. Learned some great history about the volcanoes and we visited El Malpais afterwards. Ice cave was pretty cool, steep staircase to reach it and then to come back up. It’s privately operated and the trails are extremely well maintained.

hiking
fee
private property
22 days ago

hiking
fee
private property
26 days ago

Great trails. One to crater and the other to the ice cave. Very friendly people. Family and kid friendly. You feel the tranquility in the air when walking through the trails.

hiking
private property
4 months ago

This is a fun jaunt on private property completely surrounded by El Malpais National Monument and El Malpais National Conservation Area. The price is a fairly reasonable $12 per person and also gives you access to their picnic area and museum/gift shop. While a definite roadside attraction, the ice caves are well-preserved (today) and the owners' own guide is pretty honest about how they were previously "mined" for ice in the summer. The crater is also a good walk but it was blustery on the day that we visited - as it probably is all winter.

Very much worth it! Great view of the volcano and the ice cave is impressive.

hiking
7 months ago

I liked the volcano trail more than the ice cave. I've wanted to visit the ice cave for a long time, but never really looked up photos of it. It was pretty underwhelming. You go down a set of wooden steps, then see a cave opening with some ice. Only a handful of icicles.

hiking
Thu Mar 14 2019

This was my first time here. Good hike to the volcano and the nearby ice cave. Slightly muddy in some locations due to storms that passed through the area prior to my visit. No problems during my visit. The stairs down to the ice cave was steep. I intend to visit both locations this summer to see if it is still cold inside the ice cave.

Tue Oct 16 2018

Easy hikes to the cave and volcano! Both were awesome to see.

Sat Sep 29 2018

The trails and scenery are beautiful and the staff are very friendly and informative.

Sat Aug 18 2018

Had fun seeing the cave and the volcano!! Easy hike to both and I liked the landscape going up to the volcano!

walking
Sat Jun 23 2018

Nice relaxing hike. It is just amazing to go from 100 degrees to 31 degrees in just over a 20 meter drop to the Ice Cave.

hiking
Fri Feb 02 2018

Easy going hike to the volcano and ice cave. This was a fun little road stop!

hiking
Sat Jan 13 2018

Good to see once. Interesting

Sat Nov 12 2016

fyi - closed on veterans day

hiking
Sat Oct 22 2016

loved the ice caves, view from crater was pretty nice. Easy Trail

Sat Jun 11 2016

Fun hike. Easy hike. I took my whole family. There are two trails. One trail winds around the volcano and the other takes you down to the ice cave. Pretty informative and fun for kids. It does require a 10$ fee.

hiking
Sat Jun 08 2013

An enjoyable and scenic hike to the crater with nice views all along the trail, ending in a good view at the entire crater of the extinct volcano. I was amazed by the ice caves which remain frozen year round due to the insulating qualities of the lava tubes in which they are formed.

walking
Sat Apr 27 2013

Pretty informative information located throughout the trail to the Ice Cave. A short easy walk. The volcano is an easy hike. Beautiful scenery and weird at the same time.lol Requires a fee and it was $10 per person when I went.

hiking
Thu Apr 11 2013

Easy walk. About 20 up to the rim. Well maintained. Free parking but you have to pay for trails.

5 months ago

recorded ok

hiking
7 months ago

hiking
7 months ago

hiking
9 months ago

hiking
9 months ago

hiking
10 months ago

hiking
10 months ago

hiking
Wed Jun 05 2019

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