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Carlsbad Caverns National Park

Travel Guide North America USA Western United States New Mexico Carlsbad Caverns National Park

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Introduction

Carlsbad Caverns

Carlsbad Caverns

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Carlsbad Caverns National Park is located in the Guadalupe Mountains, roughly a 300 miles (almost 500 kilometres) drive from Albuquerque, New Mexico. The Caverns date back 200 millions years and the limestone rocks that holds Carlsbad Cavern are full of ocean fossil plants and animals from a time before the dinosaurs, when the southeastern corner of New Mexico was a coastline similar to the Florida Keys.
One of Carlsbad Caverns main attraction is the “Big Room” where visitors can go down 900 feet (over 250 metres) in an elevator into the cave's main area and witness the wonderful rock formations. The Carlsbad Caverns are a must-see attraction that gets busy all-year around. Visitors are able to take a self-guided tour or a guided tour and tours can often be set up through hotels in the area and cities nearby. The Caverns are a UNESCO World Heritage site.

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Sights and Activities

Self-guided Tours

Carlsbad Caverns National Park

Carlsbad Caverns National Park

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Two self-guided routes, the Big Room and the Natural Entrance, are available for self-guided tours.

Ranger-guided Tours

  • Kings Palace
  • Left Hand Tunnel
  • Slaughter Canyon Cave
  • Lower Cave
  • Hall of the White Giant
  • Spider Cave.

Bat Flight Program

View over 400,000 bats as they exit the caves every evening from mid-May through mid-October. A program presented by park rangers is given at the cave entrance prior to the flight. Early risers can view the bats as they dive from hundreds of feet into the cave in their pre-dawn return flight.

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Opening Hours

Carlsbad Caverns National Park is open every day except for December 25. Regular opening hours after Labor Day weekend until Memorial Day weekend are from 8:00am to 5:00pm, and the last entry into the cave from the natural entrance is 3:30pm via the elevator (2:00pm via natural entrance). Extended summer hours (Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend) are 8:00am to 7:00pm. Last entry then is at 3:30pm (natural entrance) or 4:00pm (elevator).

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Cost

Entrance fee is $6.00 for adults, free for children 15 and under. The "America the Beautiful - National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass" costs $80 a year and gives unlimited excess to all parks, monuments etc. that fall under the NPS service.
Ranger-guided tours vary in price, but you must also pay the regular entrance fee as well on most of these tours. The prices for tours are:

  • Kings Palace - $8 for adults, $4 for children, under 4 not permitted. Must also purchase Entrance Fee ticket. $4 for Senior and Access Pass holders.
  • Left Hand Tunnel - $7 for adults, $3.50 for children, under 6 not permitted. Must also purchase entrance fee tickets. $3.50 for Senior and Access Pass holders.
  • Slaughter Canyon Cave. $15 for adults, $7.50 for children, under 8not permitted. $7.50 for Senior and Access Pass holders.
  • Lower Cave - $20 for adults, $10 for children, under 12 not permitted. Must also purchase Entrance Fee ticket. $10 for Senior and Access Pass holders.
  • Hall of the White Giant - $20 for adults, $10 for children, under 12 not permitted. Must also purchase Entrance Fee ticket. $10 for Senior and Access Pass holders.
  • Spider Cave - $20 for adults, $10 for children, under 12 not permitted. $10 for Senior and Access Pass holders.

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Getting There

By Car

To access Carlsbad Caverns National Park's only entrance road, New Mexico Highway 7, turn north from US Hwy 62/180 at Whites City, New Mexico - which is 16 miles southwest of Carlsbad, New Mexico, and 150 miles northeast of El Paso, Texas. The entrance road stretches a scenic 7-mile (about 11 kilometres) from the park gate at Whites City to the Visitor Center and cavern entrance.

By Bus

Greyhound buses serve Carlsbad.

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Sleep

Lodging and commercial camping available in nearby Whites City and the city of Carlsbad. No camping available in the park, except for backcountry camping, which requires a permit and a minimum half-mile hike.

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This is version 9. Last edited at 15:39 on Jun 2, 11 by Utrecht. 9 articles link to this page.

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