“home to more than 117 known caves!”
The Carlsbad Caverns National Park features rocky slopes and canyons, cactus, grass, thorny shrubs, and the occasional tree, who could guess at the hidden treasures deep underground? Beneath this rugged land are more than 117 known caves - all formed when sulfuric acid dissolved the surrounding limestone. In 2003, a park employee found a piece of a stone scraper within view of Carlsbad Cavern's entrance that goes back to Ice Age Indian hunters. In 2004, archeologists found fragments of two spear points of the Midland-style Paleo Indian projectile points of some 10,000 years ago. The park’s cultural resources represent a long and varied continuum of human use starting in prehistoric times, and illustrating many adaptations to the Chihuahuan Desert environment. Human activities, including prehistoric and historic American Indian occupations, European exploration and settlement, industrial exploitation, commercial and cavern accessibility development, and tourism have each left reminders of their presence, and each has contributed to the rich and diverse history of the area.The park has two historic districts on the National Register of Historic Places—the Cavern Historic District and the Rattlesnake Springs Historic District. The park museum, including the park archives, contains about 1,000,000 cultural resource specimens that are being preserved and protected for future generations. Prior to the evening bat flight, a program is given at the cavern entrance by a park ranger. The starting time of the talk varies with sunset-it is best to call the park at 575.785.3012 or check for the exact time. Programs may be canceled in the event of inclement weather. Bat flight programs are scheduled from Memorial Day weekend through mid to late October. There is no charge for the bat flight program. In late October or early November, the bats migrate to Mexico for the winter; they return in April or May, depending on the weather.
Very impressive site. Make sure you take comfy shoes because there is a ton of walking. Make sure you can walk at least 4 miles. We saw a couple of older people having a difficult time so it's something to take into consideration if you want to walk the whole thing. There is also the option of taking the elevator down and that would suit some people better. The caverns are quite impressive. I loved them and had never seen anything like that. My husband has been 3 times and still loves them. The bat show in the evening wasn't so impressive like we expected. We waited around for it and we saw a few bats filter out but not a massive wave of them but then maybe we expected too much. Overall it was a great attraction and hope to take our kids one day.
We just went and it was great! Best part of our trip. We did the natural entrance in, walked the big room, then took the elevator up. It took about 3 1/2 hours total. The King's Palace tour was sold out for that day and the next, I didn't feel it was that busy so I would call ahead if you plan on doing a tour. We took our dog, pets are not allowed to stay in your vehicle if the temp is above 70 degrees. We have a Great Dane, their cages are not huge he was only able to enter and lay down but I know he was more comfortable then being left in the heat. It only cost $10.00 to kennel him. The entrance fee was $10.00/ adult, kids are free and the pass is good for three days.
We really enjoyed our trip to Carlsbad Caverns. Our group included 3 adults, 5 teens and an 11 year old and everyone was entertained. Unfortunately the park should have transitioned to summer hours, but the transition was delayed due to staffing issues. This mean that the natural entrance closed an hour and a half early so we missed the extra hike and used the elevator into the Big Room. Despite that snag, we still had an excellent time. The walk was about 1.5 miles but there is an optional short cut. I would definitely recommend this trip to anyone.
My cousin and I are going on a road trip throughout southwest USA and this was our second stop. First off, upon arrival you pay and then get "elevatored" down 750 feet which is pretty damn far down. You then take a trail around the cavern. It is quite manageable for anyone and wheelchair accessible. The caverns did not disappoint. It was a very unique experience and they honestly were cooler than I thought. I was thinking that it might be just a tourist trap, it was far from.
To say impressive, unique or any other additive is a understatement to my wife and I. The natural entrance was closed due to weather concerns but the elevator was the best since we spent 5+ hours in the caverns. Of course we will rest well tonight. Be ready for plenty of walking and wear layers cause it is cool. We took the elevator back up for lunch and back down again. The break will do you good.
Nice scenery leading to the cave with lots of downhill walking once inside its not to bad but your legs will get a good workout from it. Nice natuaral formations on the inside. Go early and avoid the crowds. There are kennels for your animals as well. Do not leave your animals in your car. The kennels are only $10 dollars.
Best caverns I've seen. We did the elevator entrance self tour. It was pretty easy going for us (60's) but there were a few places where the paved path was a little steep so that might be a consideration for some people. Definitely comfy walking shoes as another reviewer suggested.
Not much else I can add here, except the kids LOVED it. But then, so did we adults! They have a really basic kennel to leave your dog while touring the cave, which we had to use since we were on a family vacation with our big ole dog. Not fancy, just a kennel and water. Buster was glad we came back, but otherwise unharmed. Also, we had to take the elevator since my daughter was on crutches, but got an excellent info session from the guide riding with us. Also, the kids were amazed at how long the elevator took to get to the bottom, although they could see the rock wall flying past us in the elevator window. Even taking "the short tour" was plenty of walking for a 4 year old and an 11 year old on crutches. We started at the underground cafe where we ate some cold sandwiches, wraps and salad in the glow of little LCD lanterns on the tables. The food was not fancy or great, but we enjoyed the experience of eating so far underground. Also, if you're bringing kids along, don't forget to grab your Junior Ranger booklets and fill them out to receive badges and become official Junior Rangers. Great time had by all!
It blew me away you could walk so many miles underground. This is an impressive stop and took my family by surprise how amazing it was. We were on an RV trip in July, and this was our first stop. There were large vehicle spots for those traveling in an RV or those towing something. I would suggest getting there in the morning by 10. We had no crowds, but when we finished our touring, there were heavy lines extending in to the gift shop. There is a ton of walking, and if you choose to walk down, you can take the elevator up, or vice versa. There are benches and various spots you can sit and rest along the path. There were many people taking breaks. We definitely did not want to walk back up. if you have someone who would have trouble walking up or down a long graded path, they can still take the elevator down and tour the bottom of the cave. I highly recommend!
Situated in a beautiful landscape, the cavern elevators go 750 ft underground to reveal an enchanted alien landscape that is unlike anything you've ever seen (unless you've been there before).
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Carlsbad Caverns National Park
- Sun - Sat: 8:30 am - 5:00 pm
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