Carlsbad Caverns National Park Favorites

  • Cut-away view of Carlsbad Caverns NP
    Cut-away view of Carlsbad Caverns NP
    by Bwana_Brown
  • Natural Entrance
    Natural Entrance
    by Basaic
  • Chihuahua Desert
    Chihuahua Desert
    by Basaic

Most Recent Favorites in Carlsbad Caverns National Park

  • Basaic's Profile Photo

    Carlsbad Caverns

    by Basaic Written Feb 25, 2010

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: Carlsbad Caverns became a national park in 1930. The formation of the cavern, however, began much earlier. Approximately 250,000,000 years ago the remains of sponges, algae, and seashells created a 400-mile limestone reef in the inland sea that existed here at the time. The reef was pushed up by forces below the surface and it developed cracks. This uplift is also what formed the nearby Guadalupe Mountains. Eventually the sea evaporated and the reef was buried under many layers of gypsum and salts. Water coming down from the surface combined with water rich with Hydrogen Sulfide gas from oil and gas fields below the surface to form Sulfuric Acid. This acid formed the large chambers you see today. More recently, about 500,000 years ago, the stalactites, stalagmites, and other formations you see began to form as limestone rich water seeped through the earth and dripped into the air-filled cave.

    Natural Entrance Formations Hall of Giants Chihuahua Desert Walnut Canyon
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    • Eco-Tourism
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  • Bwana_Brown's Profile Photo

    A nice overview of the Caverns

    by Bwana_Brown Updated Aug 27, 2008

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: Amongst the useful information available when you pay your $6 entry fee to Carlsbad Caverns (for the self-guided tour) is a very nice cut-away map of the the maze of caverns located several hundred feet beneath you. This map shows the 'Natural Entrance' at top right where the self-guided tour begins as you head underground by foot - and this is also where the bats exit and enter for their nightly insect-feeding frenzies.

    Just to the left of centre is a white line going straight down from the Visitor Center on the surface - this is the elevator shaft for those who want to make the trip down a little easier for themelves. All visitors must exit via the elevator because it is one-way traffic when entering by the Natural Entrance.

    The map also gives an overview of the most significant features in the caverns as well as some idea of the size of the underground grottos when you consider that the caverns are about 850-feet deep. Without rushing at all, I covered the entire Blue (top) and Red (bottom) areas in a bit less than two hours.

    According to Park literature, the caves were born from a 400-mile long reef that formed here in an inland sea 250 million years ago. Eventually the sea evaporated and the reef was buried by resulting deposits of salts and gypsum until just a few million years ago when upheavals in the earth pushed its remains to the surface. That allowed rainwater to enter surface cracks and begin eroding the ancient limestone rocks of the reef. What really made the caverns so large is the fact that, at the same time, oil deposits beneath the reef were releasing hydrogen sulfide gasses that rose and mixed with the water, forming sulfuric acid that quickly ate away at the surrounding limestone.

    Cut-away view of Carlsbad Caverns NP
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  • Good place to be in bad weather

    by histrionia62 Updated Jun 24, 2005

    Favorite thing: This is a picture of the entrance to Carlsbad Caverns. Yes, that is a blizzard blowing in November. It is a great way to spend the day when the weather is bad, as the temperature is a constant comfortable temp regardless of what it is like outside.

    A blizzard outside the entrance to Carlsbad Cavern
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  • annk's Profile Photo

    An assortment of Cave Tours are available

    by annk Updated Feb 19, 2005

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: Cave Entry Fee
    Adults $6, children $3, audio $3

    Self-Guided Tours
    Natural Entrance Route: - A one-mile strenuous walk descending into the caverns over 750 feet which is steep and narrow. Paved.
    Big Room: - Enter the trail by elevator. A paved one mile trail through the 14 acre chamber. Most areas accessible by wheelchair.

    Ranger guided Tours - additional fees required
    King's Palace: $8...we did this tour, excellent guide! 1 1/2 hours
    Left Hand Tunnel: $7, 1/2 mile guided lantern tour.
    Slaughter Canyon: $15, 23 miles from Caverns Visitor Center, in the undeveloped backcountry.
    Lower Cave: $20, moderately strenuous, rare cave pearls & unique formations. Must descend 50' vertical latters.
    Hall of the White Giant: $20, strenuous tour involves crawling & squeezing thru passages.
    Spider Cave: $20, the most strenuous of the cave tours.

    Related to:
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    • National/State Park
    • Desert

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  • KimberlyAnn's Profile Photo

    Purchasing Tickets and Finding Information

    by KimberlyAnn Updated Oct 2, 2004

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    Favorite thing: When you arrive at the cavern you will enter the Visitor Center area. Here you will find displays and short films to watch which will give you information about the cave, its history, and its formations. This is also the place where you will purchase your tickets for the various tours. If possible I would recommend that you call ahead to make reservations for the various guided tours in advance. We did not have a set date for our arrival, so on our first day in the Carlsbad area we reserved all the tours we wanted to do. Luckily we were able to get all the tours we wanted, but we had to stay in the area for 10 days to do so. If it had been a busier time of the year, it is very unlikely that we could have gotten our desired guided tours.

    Also if you have very young children please be aware that no baby strollers are allowed in the cave because parts of the trails are steep and narrow. Use a baby backpack if you need to carry your child.

    You may write for information and pamphlets, but plan on four to six weeks for the information to arrive, depending on the time of year you request it. To receive your information quicker, make your request by phone, rather than writing.

    Write to:
    Carlsbad Caverns National Park
    3225 National Park Highway
    Carlsbad, NM 88220

    Phone: 505-785-2232 or 1-800-967-2283 for tour reservations.

    Web site:

    Fondest memory: My favorites were the self guided Natural Entrance and Big Room combined tour, and the Lower Cave tour.

    Stalactites and a Column
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  • RACCOON1's Profile Photo

    The Biggest Cavern

    by RACCOON1 Updated Aug 28, 2004

    Favorite thing: Carlsbad Cavern is one huge cavern.

    The temperature in the cavern is around 13 to 15 Deg. C so bring a jacket.. I did not and ended up with one mean cold.

    You enter the cavern through the Natural Entrance or by the elevator. The descent is over 1000 ft . Walk down and then take the elevator up. Budget 2 to 3 hours .

    The caverns are the home of bats in August and September ( like about 300,000 or 400,000) .


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  • mrclay2000's Profile Photo

    Choice of Entry is Paramount

    by mrclay2000 Written Feb 25, 2003

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: I'm told that visitors 'miss a lot' if they take the elevator. I was strongly advised to enter through the mouth of the cave at the amphitheater, but I arrived too late. From what I saw below, I believe that the advice was probably sound. Check early at the caverns and see about entering through the cave rather than the elevator. By about 2:30 p.m. be aware that the elevator will be your only choice.

    caverns amphitheater without the bats
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  • Rent the audio

    by histrionia62 Written Jun 24, 2005

    Favorite thing: They have little audio players you can rent and carry around with you to hear commentary about the caves. It is totally worth it.

    Mark is listening to interesting commentary
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