Well-known for its wonder and beauty both above and below ground, Carlsbad Caverns National Park is a refreshing spot for memorable getaways. This 73 sq. mile national park in the Chihuahuan Desert, New Mexico, which features spectacular landscapes such as deep rocky canyons, high ancient sea ledges, and more than 120 caves, offers campers and visitors great opportunities to explore and have fun.
A wide range of ranger-guided tours and events are available at Carlsbad Caverns National Park to enlighten visitors about the history, features and beauty of the park, as well as how the many caves in the park were formed. Opportunities to hike, watch birds, view resplendent flora and fauna are also available.
There are no RV campsites within Carlsbad Caverns National Park as only primitive camping is allowed in the backcountry areas.
Carlsbad Caverns National Park was established in 1930.
There is only one entrance road to Carlsbad Caverns National Park - Carlsbad Caverns Highway, accessible from White’s City, Carlsbad Town, and El Paso. The entrance road extends for seven miles from the White City to the Visitor Center and Cavern entrance. There is an unpaved one-way road that leads into the park from the Visitor Center and loops back. There are no driving restrictions within the park.
Parking lots are available at the visitor center in the park, including RV parking spaces for vacationers. Overnight RV parking is not allowed in the park.
Greyhound and TNM&O offer bus services to Carlsbad.
Guadalupe Mountains National Park, located 32 miles southwest of Carlsbad Caverns National Park along US Highway 62, offers two campgrounds with 24 RV campsites (50 feet maximum) available on first-come, first-served basis.
Backcountry camps are available at Carlsbad Caverns National Park. These campsites are sited west of Rattlesnake Canyon trailhead, with the requirement that campers be at least 18 years old. The use of vehicles and RVs is not allowed in the backcountry campground, neither are pets permitted. Maximum stay is seven consecutive nights.
Star Walks and Moon Hikes are events organized in Carlsbad Caverns National Park for visitors at least six and eight years old respectively. Star Walks involves hiking half a mile, while Moon Hikes involves hiking 1.5 miles on a rugged desert trail in the park. The hike takes campers and visitors along a 200 ft change in elevation to points where the night sky and stars can be better seen, with and without the use of telescopes. All visitors who wish to participate in the program are required to register in the park.
Carlsbad Caverns National Park is a great place to explore the night sky. With the use of powerful telescopes, visitors and campers can catch the sight of galactic objects in the park. Park rangers help point out some of the objects that may not be easily spotted in outer space. The Star Parties Program is one program in the park where these sky observations are done. The event is open to all and is always educative and fun-filled.
Walk beautiful cave formations in King’s Palace in Carlsbad Caverns National Park to enjoy exciting times. If you wish, you may even challenge yourself in Hall of the White Giant or Spider Cave. These are two of the many ranger-guided tours available to visitors and campers in the park. Note that some of the tours may require you to crawl, in which case, gloves, elbow and knee pads will be provided.
For all the tours in the park, children younger than 4 years are not allowed. Higher limits may be in force along each tour.
The Visitor Center in Carlsbad Caverns National Park is a must-visit for all who wish to appreciate the history, beauty, and natural features of the park. The visitor center offers various programs and events such as exhibits and park film, as well as gift shops, restaurant, and book store. The exhibits at the visitor center help campers understand how the cavern in the park formed and provide information about the flora and fauna that call the park home. Watching the 16-minute park film “Hidden World” is a good way to begin exploring the park.
Carlsbad Caverns National Park is a premier destination to watch bats. For example, between April and October, Carlsbad Caverns is home to hundreds of thousands of Brazilian free-tailed bats. These bats usually fly out of the cavern in the evening, making for a spectacular sight. What’s more, there is a tradition in the park in which the bats are watched as they return at dawn on the third Saturday in July. Ranger programs, such as the Bat Flight Program, are organized in the park to educate visitors and campers about the bats in the park.
Carlsbad Caverns National Park offers visitors and campers the chance to explore Carlsbad Caverns along two trails – Big Room Trail and Natural Entrance Trail.
Big Room Trail is a 1.25-mile trail that offers access to the Big Room, the largest single cave chamber by volume in North America. The trail is relatively flat and offers hikers spectacular views and access to cave formations, as well as the opportunity to see a rope ladder that was used by explorers in 1924.
Nature Entrance Trail is also 1.25 miles long, but unlike Big Room Trail, is extremely steep, meaning it is more difficult to hike. Following the trail will offer hikers the chance to see formations such as the Whale's Mouth, Devil's Spring, and Iceberg Rock.