Help me find the NM secret sandstone caves
November 27, 2013 6:54 PM   Subscribe

I'm in northern New Mexico for a few days and would like to visit the caves discussed here.

My searches haven't turned up much, so they seem to be a pretty well kept secret. If you don't want to share the info publicly, then a memail message would be great. Thanks.
posted by doctord to Travel & Transportation around New Mexico (7 answers total) 20 users marked this as a favorite calls it The Tree of Human Kindness in Lynden, NM. Their "View website" link takes you to Ra Paulette's website so presumably it's the same one you are talking about.

Google Maps says it's in Velarde. Comparing Road Trippers and Google Maps, I think it's about here:

US Route 285
Velarde, NM 87582
36° 11.781', -106° 3.104'

I can't seem to get Google Maps to give me an exact set of coordinates but if you type in the ones above, you'll see a couple of little roads on the west side of 285 one of which looks like a backwards F. There is one more tiny road to the north of that one. It looks like the property is on the opposite side of the tiny road. With street view, you can see a couple of buildings and hills on opposite sides of the road. Looks like a likely spot.

But just an FYI, the Road Trippers' description says "Looking to own something as unique as this? It's for sale! The property is presently subdivided into fourteen lots of sizes from 10 to 31 acres and is available in its entirety or the north and south halves can be purchased separately. Each of the halves includes an incredible hand-carved chamber. Interior roads have been provided, several building pads have been cut-in and underground electric power and telephone is available at the lot line. Easy and gated access is from State Highway 285 and services are just minutes away. Owner financing is available for qualified buyers of this fabulous property." So I'm not sure you'd be able to view it without permission.
posted by Beti at 7:50 PM on November 27, 2013

I think I see them on Google Earth, in Embudo. Paste this into the search text box in Google Earth:
36°12'57.04"N, 105°56'2.90"W
It looks like private land.
posted by falsedmitri at 8:30 PM on November 27, 2013

Here is an article about them. I have a website bookmarked on my home computer, but can't access it right now. It's something I've been wanting to do for a while now, since I learned of the caves a few years ago. There's a link to the resort website at the bottom of the article. Have fun, take pictures!!!
posted by annsunny at 8:58 PM on November 27, 2013

The key search term is Windows in the Earth. Man, I feel like such a boss for knowing this!
posted by annsunny at 9:23 PM on November 27, 2013

Thanks to everyone for the info. The link from annsunny was useful, but it looks like the Rancho de San Juan has closed. We ended up not driving up there, since as Beti described it seemed unlikely that we would be able to get in. It sounds like he has another project in the works, but couldn't find any info on the location for that one. Maybe next time.
posted by doctord at 8:07 AM on December 2, 2013

So I just visited one of these caves after seeing the metafilter post earlier. I was visiting family in Northern NM for the holiday, and after looking at the pictures with folks here (they are long time and well travelled New Mexicans, and they had never heard of these before) we decided to give finding them a shot. In the articles posted online there was talk of Embudo, NM, so we headed on out there.

We stopped by a few places around town trying to find some further direction. Was just lucky enough to find a nice group of locals who visibly perked up upon mention of Ra's caves. After some vague discussion where they were obviously deciding whether they were willing to tell me more, one of them revealed that one of the caves was on his family's property. After I paid for his beer, he directed me on a somewhat out of the way path. It seemed from what they were saying all the caves in the Embudo area are on private land. My guess is your best bet to see these ones in person is just to ask around like we did. The way I understand it at least one elsewhere (Tree Cave?) is accessible without entering someone's property, but you have to know how to get there and that is not something I was able to find online (and that is frankly for the best).

The guys I talked to ranged from excited by my interest to a little bit wary of the sudden interest of outsiders. But all in all they were all very friendly and helpful. I'm not going to direct you to the property for obvious reasons, but if you are truly determined to see one or more of em, you just have to ask around! The artist himself has his email address up on one of the websites posted. He may even be able to direct you to multiple caves- we did not try this route because it was somewhat of a spur of the moment thing to head out there.

While it's not as simple as going to a gallery or paying an entrance fee, the process of finding the one we went to really added to the experience I have to say. And the end result is worth it. Truly magnificent craftsmanship. And while the photography done in some of them is beautiful, like most things seeing it in person is entirely different.

Good luck!
posted by arboles at 10:41 PM on December 2, 2013

Okay so now that I've actually read the other info provided by earlier commenters...

Be wary of just wandering around out near the locations suggested. Part of the directions I received involved knowing to avoid going down the wrong road as you run the danger of raising the ire of well armed and very private residents.
posted by arboles at 10:54 PM on December 2, 2013

« Older How do you hook up this Comcast cable box?   |   How to eke out a great Thankgiving while sick? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.