Carlsbad Caverns National Park Travel Guide

  • First view of the 'Natural Entrance'
    First view of the 'Natural Entrance'
    by Bwana_Brown
  • Natural Entrance
    Natural Entrance
    by Basaic
  • Looking Out Through the Natural Entrance
    Looking Out Through the Natural Entrance
    by Basaic

Carlsbad Caverns National Park Highlights

  • Pro
    Bwana_Brown profile photo

    Bwana_Brown says…

     I've never seen anything quite like it 

  • Con
    KimberlyAnn profile photo

    KimberlyAnn says…

     If you find walking difficult, this may not be for you. 

  • In a nutshell
    KimberlyAnn profile photo

    KimberlyAnn says…

     A wonderful cave that deserves its popularity. 

Carlsbad Caverns National Park Things to Do

  • Visitor's Center

    The visitors center has the ticket stand, elevators to the caves, gift shops and restaurants. It includes many displays on the cave.

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  • Veiled Statue

    The Veiled Statue appears as a giant gold column extending from the ground to the ceiling in the Big Room walk. It is surprising in its height and width.

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  • Rope Ladder To Lower Cave

    When I first came across this ladder on the Big Room Walk I felt some anguish. The ladder looks so tenuous and the descent into the lower cave so deep. However according to the information provided on the sign post this was how some of the first cave explorers made it into the lower cave. The remains of the ladder are a reminder of another time....

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  • Soda Straw Formations on Big Room Walk

    Soda straws can be viewed in several rooms of the Carlsbad Caverns National Park. They look so fragile as if they could break off at any time.Technically speaking for us VTers that are not cavers, soda straws represent the earliest growth of stalactites. They are hollow, elongate, generally translucent tubes of calcite equal in diameter to the...

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  • Crystal Springs Dome- Big Room Walk

    One of the more impressive domes in Carlsbad Caverns this particular dome had a sort of crystally glow to it. There are pictures of it taken by the NPS that have people standing next to it. However from my photo here I estimate the height of the dome to be around 40-50 feet.

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  • Kings Palace Tour: Mirror Lake

    Mirror Lake is only one of two pools I have seen on the various walks and tours within Carlsbad Cavern National Park. It is relatively small and you can no indication how deep it is or how clear the water is. It can be found on the Kings Palace Tour.

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  • Bat Amphitheater

    One of the most exciting events at Carlsbad Caverns National Park is the departure in the evening and the return of bats in the morning through the Natural Entrance. The NPS has constructed a large amphitheater just outside the Natural Entrance. During the summer months from just after memorial day to early October a nightly program is presented by...

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  • Lower Cave Tour

    In 1989 I made my first trip to Carlsbad Caverns National Park. I had been attending a board meeting of a charity in Midland, Texas and decided to make the long trip to Carlsbad and back to catch my plane home. Fast forward twenty three years later and the Lower Cave Tour was not available when we visited the park in the winter of 2012.I was...

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  • Rock of Ages- Big Hall Walk

    The Rock of Ages is one of the most interesting places to stop and sit on the Big Hall Walk. The "Rock" is towards the end of the walk. There is a significantly sized area that is available for seating suggesting at first that this was and/or still is an area for ranger discussions.The reason for focusing on it, and using a photo from the NPS, is...

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Carlsbad Caverns National Park Restaurants

  • Consistently good

    Although the Carlsbad Caverns NP visitor's center has a restaurant (as well as a lunch room in the depths of the cave beside the elevators) I did not make use of either during my morning excursion through the caverns. There are a few restaurants located in the small nearby Whites City as well as a large selection of places to eat in the city of...

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  • BRING A TON OF DOUGH

    Horrible HORRIBLE food-- 8 dollars for a salad, no 8 dollar for Lettuce and some tomatoes and cheese. 8 dollar for a hamburger. Salt shaker was covered with someone meal from long ago-- cookies to sample in the seat. How do you ruin iced tes? Talk to the people at White's city. What a sad thing to see a one time beautiful place become a hell hole....

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  • No Good Mexican food Anywherre!

    I really hate to be negative... But we thought that we would get some great Mexican food in nearby Carlsbad, NM. Nothing could have been farther from the truth! I will list all the resturants we went to so VTers will know better than we did.All the restrants were really grungy.. Food was not fresh(from cans) and most of the time the chips and...

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Carlsbad Caverns National Park Nightlife

  • Bats of course!

    It you visit the Park during the the Bat season, the bat flight is truly something to witness. Unforunately, we were not there during the bat season (summer) therefore we got to see the Cave swallows which we really wondeful themselves.No pictues allowed during dusk viewings since the flash confuses the bats.

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  • A nightly performance by the bats

    Every night from mid May to mid October up to 300,000 Mexican free-tail bats emerge from the caverns at dusk to feed on flying insects. Once they've had their fill the bats return to the caverns at dawn. They reside in an area of the caverns not open to the public.Visitors can watch them from an ampitheater constructed at the natural entrance.

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  • Well, it's dark inside

    Just entering the cave, you have officially entered the "nighlife" of Carlsbad! LOL Really, at dusk, if you sit outside the natural entrance of the cave, you can see the bats come flying out for the nighttime feeding. There are literally thousands of them, and the bats is one of the reasons that the cave was discovered. So, it ain't no dance club,...

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Carlsbad Caverns National Park Transportation

  • A vehicle is required to reach Carlsbad...

    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 for the journey southeast to almost the Texas border, since we all had luggage as well as work gear with us for our three week stay in the area. I took this Dodge Dakota AWD for the...

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  • WALK WALK WALK

    As said many times prior, walk the trail for the best part of the tour, inside and out ! Be sure to have your little audio recorder handy, as there are numbered stations along the way to listen to if you're doing a self guided tour.

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  • Carlsbad Caverns National Park Hotels

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Carlsbad Caverns National Park Shopping

  • Apache Canyon Trading Post

    We stopped at this little trading post to pick up turquoise for my co-workers. The prices weren't too bad. It is located on the main highway between Carlsbad Cavrerns and Guadalupe NP.

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  • Up Top of Down Below

    Usually very crowded, but full of southwestern style items, right down to the chili pepper ornamental lights. NO 800 iso film to be found which I found rather odd, since most people need higher speed film in the dark caverns (must be a sign for me to break down and get that digital) Want proof for your friends that you've actually been somewhere?...

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Carlsbad Caverns National Park Warnings and Dangers

  • Dont Touch The Cave Formations or Walls!

    Maybe it's a natural reaction with some people in a cave to want to touch a stalactite or stalagmite or the walls of the cave. Formations in caves take thousands of years to form. Touching cave formations puts dirt or lint on them and begins their discoloration. At Carlsbad Caverns park rangers and frequent visitors have stated that they have...

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  • White Nose Syndrome

    When I first heard the name White Nose Syndrome (WNS) at the NPS Visitor Center several years ago in South Dakota I had no clue what they were talking about. Today WNS is a serious threat to bats hibernating bats, particularly in the Eastern United States.In 2006, a caver near Albany, New York noticed several bats with white powder on their nuzzles...

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  • Obey all Warnings

    Please obey all warning signs and the warnings provided by the rangers. They are designed for your safety and the protection of the caverns. The Natural Entrance Trail is strenuous and is not recommended for people with health conditions or weak knees/back problems. Other trails have other warnings. The trail can also get slippery so wear closed...

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Carlsbad Caverns National Park What to Pack

  • A Few Essentials

    Bring a small flashlight. It will really help show additional detail on some of the formations. Comfortable shoes with good traction are a must on the descent and ascent out of the natural entrance. Taking a picture in Carlsbad Caverns challenges all of your photographic abilities. Make sure your camera batteries are fully charged and watch out...

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  • Be prepared!

    ( Bring what you need plus extra film or memory cards ) Generally packing for a hike is common sense ~ but sometimes even the most common items are overlooked. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes ... there is a lot of walking. Also, if you have medical issues, be sure you travel with your meds and a buddy! Bring water.

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Carlsbad Caverns National Park Off The Beaten Path

  • Guadalupe National Park: Close By

    At the Carlsbad Caverns National Park Visitor Center I asked one of the rangers as to how many visitors to the park also visit Guadalupe Mountains. She indicated she wasn't sure but she had heard that it was less than one-third do on the same trip to Carlsbad Caverns. What a shame! Sitting just 34 miles to the west of Carlsbad Caverns is the scenic...

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  • Visit Artesia- Sixty Miles East of the...

    Lying about sixty miles east of Carlsbad Caverns is the interesting town of Artesia, New Mexico. A town that has made a concerted effort of making there city a culturally interesting place to live.Although it is not apparent as you drive through the outskirts of Artesia coming from Carlsbad, the town is a minor oasis in Southeast New Mexico. A tidy...

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  • Living Desert Zoo and Gardens

    The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens sits atop Ocotillo Hills off of US 285, and is a 10 minute drive from the downtown area of the town of Carlsbad, and is state operated zoo and botanical garden which exhibits plants and animals of the Chihuahuan Desert in their native habitat. It is also a receiving point and wildlife clearing house for injured and...

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Carlsbad Caverns National Park Sports & Outdoors

  • Big Room Trail

    The Big Room Trail is 1.5 miles long, paved and relatively flat. The paving can be slippery when wet. Good walking shoes with rubber non-slip soles.

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  • Natural Entrance Trail

    The Natural Entrance Trail is one mile long and follows the traditional explorers’ route. It drops 750 feet via a series of switchbacks and is not recommended for people with health conditions or knee or back problems. The path is well lit and paved; but can be slippery when wet. Sturdy shoes with rubber soles are recommended. As you begin the path...

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  • Carlsbad Caverns National Park Hotels

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Carlsbad Caverns National Park Favorites

  • Carlsbad Caverns

    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....

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  • A nice overview of the Caverns

    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...

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  • Rent the audio

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

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Explore Deeper into Carlsbad Caverns National Park
Carlsbad Caverns Visitor Center
Things to Do
Kings Palace Tour
Things to Do
Walnut Canyon and the 2011 Loop Fire
Things to Do
Dolls House- Big Room Walk
Things to Do
Choice 2: Natural Entrance or the Elevator?
Things to Do
Choice 1: Tours or Big Room Only?
Things to Do
Cavern Visit
Things to Do
Bat Flights
Things to Do
The cave
Things to Do
Walk the Cavern Trail from start to finish
Things to Do
Meet the People
Things to Do
Old Girlfriend
Things to Do
Bottomless Pit
Things to Do
Mirror Lake
Things to Do
Hall of Giants
Things to Do
Gypsum
Things to Do
Popcorn
Things to Do
Lion's Tail
Things to Do
The Big Room
Things to Do
Rest Stop
Things to Do
The Boneyard
Things to Do
Green Lake Room
Things to Do
Iceberg Rock
Things to Do
Devil's Spring
Things to Do
Whale's Mouth
Things to Do
Twilight
Things to Do
Bat Amphitheater
Things to Do
The Bat Cave (No not that one)
Things to Do
Touch Me
Things to Do
Natural Entrance
Things to Do
Big Hill Seep
Things to Do
Walnut Canyon Pullout
Things to Do
Chihuahua Desert Garden
Things to Do
Visitors Center
Things to Do
Two Cave Tours for the Physically Fit
Off The Beaten Path
The Bat Amphitheatre
Things to Do
Tours
Things to Do
Guadalupe Mountains National Park
Things to Do
Extremely well sign-posted and organized
Things to Do
The formations are mind-boggling
Things to Do
Map of Carlsbad Caverns National Park

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