Open since the 1950s, this unique gift shop and roadside attraction is carved into the side of a cave.
Originally, this area was a natural feature, locally known as the Ice Cave, carved from the nearby Rio Ruidoso. The land was used by the Mescalero Apache nation and may have been a sanctuary for Geronimo, the legendary Apache leader. Later, it was purportedly used by Billy the Kid as a hideout. These facts are likely “history-ish,” but Billy the Kid did live along the trail that now bears his name, and famously escaped from the nearby Lincoln County Courthouse.
In the early 1950s, the store’s unique structure was built, and in 1954, it was sold to George Fuchs, along with his wife Mildred. Fuchs renamed Ice Cave the Fox Cave, pronounced like his last name. The store was a popular roadside stop along Highway 70 through the 1950s, but its legacy faded over time.
The site had been long abandoned when Arnold Duke, a gemologist and proprietor of the nearby Ruidoso River Museum, purchased it in 2010. Putting some care into its rehabilitation, the site has reopened as a mid-century style tourist trap, although one with an unusually strong gem collection. The place is replete with aliens, dinosaurs, relics of the Old West, and all sorts of curios to browse or purchase, all while standing within the cave’s walls.