Fort Stanton-Snowy River Cave National Conservation Area
The Fort Stanton - Snowy River Cave National Conservation Area (NCA) was established in 2009 to protect, conserve, and enhance the unique and nationally important historic, cultural, scientific, archaeological, natural, and educational subterranean cave resources of the Fort Stanton - Snowy River Cave system. The NCA was once known as the Fort Stanton Military Reservation. In 1855, the U.S. Army established Fort Stanton as an Infantry and Cavalry post in the east-central New Mexico Territory to protect settlers in the region. Within the NCA is Fort Stanton Cave. At over 31 miles, it is the second longest cave in New Mexico, the 14th longest cave in the U.S., the 62nd longest in the world, and the largest cave managed by the BLM. Snowy River is a significant passage within Fort Stanton Cave, and is the longest cave formation in the world. Today, approximately 15 miles of previously unknown passage have been mapped, without reaching the end.
KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
For information about the campground call the campground host at 575-322-0030.
- Surface: Open year-round
- The Cave is currently closed to recreational caving to protect vulnerable bat population from White Nose Syndrome. There is a display about Fort Stanton Cave located in the museum at the Fort Stanton Historic Site.
Rob Jaggers Camping Area
- Campsite: $20/night
- Corral Rental: $12 per corral per day
- Dump Station: $30
- Group Shelter: $35/day
- 27 Full-Service campsites
- 1 group shelter available
- 2 vault toilets
- 1 dump station
- Corrals at some sites
- Rob Jaggers Camp Host number: 575-322-0030
There are 22 miles of designated roads within the NCA. Vehicles are limited to designated routes which will be marked with signs stating open or closed.
The New Mexico State Director of the BLM has determined that caves with significant bat populations are special areas requiring protection. This is based on the potential risk of White Nose Syndrome (WNS) infection to those bat populations. Therefore, Special Recreation Permits (SRP) will be required for all activities in caves with significant bat roosts. In an effort to limit the introduction of WNS to these caves by humans, the BLM will issue a limited number of SRPs to cave researchers who are subject to verified USFWS decontamination procedures.
From the intersection of NM 246 and US 380 in Capitan, NM, drive east on US 380 for 4.3 miles to NM 220, which will be on the right. From the west end of Lincoln, NM, drive west 7.75 miles to NM 220, which will be on the left. Drive south 0.9 for miles to the Rob Jaggers Campground, where maps and an information kiosk are available. Historic Fort Stanton is approximately 1.5 miles further south on NM 220. On the grounds of Fort Stanton, the State of New Mexico operates a museum with information about the Fort and the Fort Stanton - Snowy River Cave NCA.