Man Cave

(Placitas NM)
The Sandía Cave National Historic Site, often called the Man Cave by locals, sets high on a cliff in Las Huertas Canyon. To get there, go through the old town of Placitas on NM-165. After the pavement ends, the road gets more narrow and rougher; but, I made it up the 3 miles of gravel OK in Tardis. Do not attempt it in a big rig or towing a trailer. There was a small parking lot at the trailhead.

Cave, rocks

Man Cave from entrance

A 1/2 mile easy trail went up along the cliff with a gradual rise, with some steps and railings. A caged spiral staircase goes straight up to the cave entrance. I wondered how did the inhabitants get up there before? Or those who discovered the cave? There was no evidence in the cliff face of foot or hand holds; perhaps they used a rope-ladder.

Cliff, spiral staircase

Cliff & spiral staircase up to cave

Cave, rocks

Further inside the cave

The area near the entrance was small but still large enough for several people. It got smaller as it went further in. Artifacts were removed long ago, but soot on the ceiling remains. Graffiti left by vandals had recently been removed, and it looked pretty natural. There was a small creek, at the base of the cliff, which runs with water year-around.

Cliff, trees, mountain

View looking out from cave

Creek, logs, rocks, trees

Creek below the cave

After the cave visit, I went to Cochiti Lake to the Army Corps of Engineers campground. The drycamping section had new ramadas, picnic tables, grills and paved pads. That loop had nice views of the lake, too.

Camp: Cochiti Lake CG-COE drycamp
Scene: Cave, cliffs, trail, creek

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4 Responses to Man Cave

  1. Terri Reed October 24, 2015 at 2:05 pm #

    Very interesting! I looked up all your mentioned places on Google Map. When were you there? One month ago? That 165 road and the campground sound like few folks go there? is it off the beaten tourist route?

  2. Pleinguy October 24, 2015 at 6:35 pm #

    I don’t think the cave is well known. However, Cochiti Lake, further north and west of I-25, is a very popular campground. It is close to another national monument which I’ll post about next. I was there near the end of September.

  3. Jan Mains October 25, 2015 at 7:27 am #

    We’ve never stopped at that COE.

    • Pleinguy October 25, 2015 at 11:08 am #

      Like most COE campgrounds, Cochiti Lake is well done. However, if you need hook-ups, you won’t have a view of the lake. During the regular camping season, I’ve heard that you would likely need a reservation.

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