Carlsbad Travel Guide

  • Staying as close as we could to the caverns
    Staying as close as we could to the...
    by barrypanzer
  • Enjoying the amenities : )
    Enjoying the amenities : )
    by barrypanzer
  • Better straighten up and fly right!!
    Better straighten up and fly right!!
    by barrypanzer

Carlsbad Things to Do

  • In the Middle of itself

    The cave is almost on another planet-way out there off Hwy 62/180. Traffic can back up on this highway. The big cave opening is 8.2 acres for the Big Room. It is about 1 mile trek through this part. The other way in is the Natural Entrance which is the large opening when the cave was first found. It has a hike of around 1.4 miles.

  • Carlsbad Caverns NP is only a short...

    It is only a 27-mile drive from the city of Carlsbad to Carlsbad Caverns National Park via Highway 62/180 and a short road into the Visitor's Building, so I made use of my next Sunday off-day to explore this natural wonder for myself.I decided to enter the hard way - walking down to 750-feet below the surface via the 'Natural Entrance' that first...

  • They had quite a collection of local...

    I was really taken aback by the number of animals the Park had living in various sections through which the walking trail winds. They started out with several Javelinas (type of wild pig) then had Porcupines, Foxes and a large Black Bear that was just retreating back into its cave as I reached its area. Next door to it was a very large enclosure...

  • The river that crosses itself!

    The city of Carlsbad, with a present population of about 26,000 residents, started out in 1888 as a town called Eddy but later changed its name to Carlsbad after its nearby mineral springs evoked comparisons with a European spa of the same name. At the same time as Eddy was formally declared, it was decided that a large-scale water management...

  • A really impressive walking tour

    Leaving the rear of the Visitor Center, the Park is all set-up with a 1.3-mile (2-km) walking trail that winds its way up and down and around the property as it takes visitors through various types of habitat. With the changes in elevation provided by the hill, several aspects of the Chihuahuan Desert are presented, covering habitats such as the...

  • Living Desert Zoo & Gardens State Park

    In doing a bit of research into the attractions of Carlsbad, the one that seemed to top all the lists for the city itself was a visit to Living Desert State Park, located on a hilltop at the northwest edge of the town and within sight of our accommodations! They are open every day of the year except Christmas so a bunch of us headed up the hill for...

  • Enjoy the Pecos River in downtown...

    I had often heard the expression 'west of the Pecos' in various cowboy and Indian movies while growing up - it meant that you were really in the Wild West if you had made it that far. As a result, I was very satisfied to finally be able to see the real thing - flowing through the middle of Carlsbad! This river begins its 925 mile (1500 km) journey...

  • The Riverwalk

    Unknown to many who pass through Carlsbad on their way to the namesake caverns, Carlsbad sits on the Pecos River about halfway in its journey from the mountain in the northern part of the state to the Rio Grande in the desolate Chihuahuan Desert of Southwest Texas. Only in the past few years has the town attempted to capitalize on their riverside...

  • Bats, Bats, Bats and Caves

    Carlsbad is world famous for its caverns and indeed they are worthy of their reputation. As we have a little toddler we were only allowed to do the 2 hr self guided tour. Of course we walked in and took the elevator out, you can get the elevator both ways but to fully appreciate the size of the cave you need to hike in. The 2 hrs doesnot include...

  • Natural Entrance

    This is the Natural Entrance to the caverns. You can either hike down this way, or take an elevator from the visitor center.

  • Caves behind Sitting Bull Falls

    If you go out towords Lake Brantly there will be a turn off going to the left. Traveling about thirty miles out there is a waterfall called sitting bull falls. It is really pretty. A lot of people pass through the area but few know that there is a beautiful cave behind the waterfalls. If you call the forest service in the area they can issue you a...

  • The Giant Chandelier

    The Giant Chandelier.Made of ribbon staclactites. Created from water which dripped from the surface into the cavern & thereby deposited rings of calcite on the ceiling. Guess how long ago that was? Ans.: 800,000 years ago!


Carlsbad Hotels

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Carlsbad Restaurants

  • Great Home Cooking

    This is a family owned place with a homey atmosphere; old photos on the walls including Marilyn Monroe, old coke and Dr. Pepper signs, etc. Many of the staff have a similar look so maybe they are family. My waitress was named Steph and she was cute with a great smile, friendly, efficient, and 8 months pregnant. She earned a big tip. The menu had a...

  • In the middle of nowhere

    Going from one extreme to the other, the Halfway Watering Place is located in the middle of nowhere on NM Highway 62/180 between Carlsbad and Hobbs (almost at the Texas border). It seems to be a major marshalling place for tanker semi-trailers filling up with the liquid gold that seems to be sprouting up all over this part of New Mexico. There is...

  • Good food and atmosphere

    During my 3+ weeks in Carlsbad, the local version of the large Chilis chain of restaurants was the eating establishment that the guys with me most frequented. It seemed very popular with the local residents as well and its parking lot was almost always nearly full. Even so, it was never a problem to find a seat in short order - especially if you...

  • Fiesta Restaurant = Outstanding

    This small cafe has outstanding food, authentic Mexican and New Mexican, clean surroundings and charming family service. Ina town short on dining options, don't miss this one.

  • Local Mexican fast food place that ROCKS

    The Church St. Grill is located on the corner of Church St. and Guadalejara. It is basically just a carry out booth, with a few tables near it. They serve Mexican food very quickly. They have awesome burritos, tacos, tostadas, what Taco Bell calls Enchirittos (smothered burritos), giant hamburgers, taquitos, and more. I try to go at least once...

  • Eat 1000 feet underground

    There is a cafeteria in the bowels of the caverns, believe it or not. It's basic cafeteria fare, nothing special, but when you've been exploring for several hours a sandwich and soda sounds pretty good. I think I just had a cheese sandwich, chips, and a soda. It's a very basic cafeteria.


Carlsbad Transportation

  • We used rental trucks to get around

    Six of us from the company I work for had flown into Albuquerque, New Mexico - about a 5-hour drive distant from the town of Carlsbad. As a result, we rented two trucks (since we all had luggage as well as work gear with us for our three week stay in the area) for the journey southeast to almost the Texas border.This view was taken in Carlsbad...

  • Charter flight

    The first dealings our company had with the potash mines in New Mexico was when their executives asked a small group of us to fly down for a 3-day first-hand look at their facilities. They arranged for this Beechcraft King Air 200 to fly five of us plus one of their executives the ~1500 miles straight south from Regina, Canada. We stopped in...

  • We flew to El Paso

    We flew to El Paso & drive to White Sands before heading for Carlsbad Caverns. From El Paso, take Highway 62/180 East to Carlsbad Caverns directly. It's about 2 1/2 hours ride.Carlsbad is also serviced by Mesa Airlines.No commercial vehicle as indicated by this sign.Driving Distances:El Paso - 166 miles.Rowell - 76 miles.Albuquerque - 278 miles.


Carlsbad Local Customs

  • Sharrie's Profile Photo

    by Sharrie Updated Jan 22, 2003

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    Text By Ann House:

    Thrusting up from the surrounding Chihuahuan Desert, the Guadalupe Mountains form the leading edge of an ancient reef that conceals one of the great natural wonders of the world - Carlsbad Caverns.

    Briney waves of an inland sea 250 million years ago provided a favorable environment for marine plants and animals to flourish. Their limey remains, along with calcium carbonate from the water, built up a reef which grew upwards & outwards while, for millions of years, the entire region subsided. The channels supplying water from the ocean closed and water evaporated faster than it was replaced. Salts and gypsum filled the basin. Eons passed. The earth stirred, and the reef, which today forms the Guadalupe Mountains, reared skyward (20 to 40 million years ago.) Dissolution of the limestone began as water carried the material away, creating a honeycomb of openings. Further uplifting & tilting, 2 to 4 million years ago, raised the area again, allowing the groundwater to drain away which left air-filled openings. Decoration of the caverns began.

    In the late 1800's, someone reported having seen a cloud swirling up from the desert: smoke? No, bats! Soon bat guano mining was booming near the cave entrance. Few ventured deeper into the caverns, except James Larkin White, an employee of the guano mining company. He challenged the darkness with his miner's lantern and returned with stories of wonder. As others followed Jim White, it was soon realized that a national treasure existed beneath the craggy surface of the mountainous desert. In October, 1923, President Calvin Coolidge signed a proclamation creating Carlsbad Cave National Monument. Then, on May 14, 1930, President Herbert Hoover signed the bill to establish Carlsbad Caverns National Park.

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Carlsbad Warnings and Dangers

  • Spiders and other things

    On our first fact-finding trip to the potash mine, we noticed this Tarantula spider keeping an eye on us from the wall of one of the electrical switchgear buildings. These large spiders occur worldwide, with the ones inhabiting Southwestern USA being a bit smaller than most, with a body length of about 2 inches. Tarantulas can live for 30 years or...

  • Do NOT touch the limestone...

    Do NOT touch the limestone structures. With every fingertip of limestone, you destroy the work of hundreds of years.Also, do NOT leave the paths. The cave system isn´t fully explored yet, and they might never find you.

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Carlsbad What to Pack

  • Sharrie's Profile Photo

    by Sharrie Written Feb 25, 2003

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Miscellaneous: Official Website:

    Area Map:

    Map from

    Related to:
    • Eco-Tourism

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Carlsbad Off The Beaten Path

  • Wildlife encounters

    I was not really expecting to see much wildlife at the mine site! However, this Desert Cottontail, a member of the rabbit family, seemed to have settled in for good amongst some old sections of metal electrical switchgear cabinets that had been hauled out for junk and were just sitting there rusting away topside. These cute little creatures inhabit...

  • Underground mining

    This photo shows me 1600-ft down, in front of the 'cage' that carries men and equipment up and down. My typical kit was worn by all our employees who ended up spending time underground at the mine. The coveralls are designed to resist a certain amount of energy in the event an electrical arc flash occurs while working on equipment - preventing you...

  • Alkali Flats

    Just to the southeast of town, in the opposite direction of Carlsbad Caverns and on a little-used state highway, lie several stunning alkali flats.Alkali flats are essentially dry lake beds where salt has accumulated. After a light rain, they become a gorgeous, shimmering white.From Carlsbad take US 285 south to NM 31. Turn left (east) and turn...


Carlsbad Favorites

  • Not very inspiring countryside

    I'd have to say that the rolling terrain of southeast New Mexico is some of the least attractive I have seen anywhere. My earlier trip to New Mexico involved the central to northeast part of the state, a beautiful mountainous area with lots of trees and river valleys providing some great scenery. Making the situation worse in the Carlsbad area is...

  • Look out for Draperies

    Look out for Draperies.The creation of each formation depended on water that dripped or seeped down into the limestone bedrock & into the cave. Draperies were hung where water ran down a slanted ceiling.


    An abundance of fluted column stalagmites can be found in the King's Palace. These stalagmites are so much bigger than those I've seen elsewhere in the world.


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