The Trading Post at Bandera Crater was built in the 1930's along with a saloon and dance hall. At the time, the Zuni Mountain Railroad was
operating and the logging industry was in full swing. They kept their beer cold using ice from the Ice Cave (shown below). In 1946 Dave and Reddy Candelaria arrived and
began operations as a tourist attraction. In addition to contemporary Indian Arts, the historic trading post has ancient artifiacts on display. Most of these were found in the
lava and date back 800 to 1200 years.
The lava flow along the trail to the Ice Cave is made up mostly of 'Aa' lava, composed of jagged, broken lava produced when the surface of the flow cools and hardens while underlying lava is still in motion. This region is called El Malpais - Spanish for "bad lands". Pueblo Indian legend has it that the lava flow was the blood of the Kachina Kaubat.
The circular stacks of lava that you see in the areas along the Ice Cave trail are remains of Anasazi Indian pithouses. The cave behind the ruins is actually a surface tube. The insulating properties of the lava made for ideal shelter. The ancient artifacts displayed in the trading post were found in ancient ruins such as these in the 1940s and 1950s.
The Bandera Crater and Ice Cave are 28 miles southwest of Grants, NM along Highway 53.
Text from Bandera Crater and Ice Caves pamphlet.