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Carlsbad Caverns National Park

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42 mi 68 km of trail 2 Featured Hikes

Gems 2 Gems Easy Trails 3 Trails Intermediate Trails 7 Trails Hard Trails 0 Trails

Visitors to Carlsbad Cavern National Park can expect a world of beauty and wonder both above and below ground. The above ground treasures of Carlsbad are the highlights of the Chihuahuan Desert including high ancient sea ledges, deep rocky canyons, and flowering cactus and desert wildlife. Hidden beneath the surface are more than 119 known caves, all of which were formed when sulfuric acid dissolved the surrounding limestone. Visitors will enjoy exploring these impressive caverns of all sizes as well as taking in the impressive landscape of the park.

To learn more about Carlsbad Cavern National Park, visit www.nps.gov.

Local Info

Visitor Centers:
The visitor center is open from 8 am to 5 pm daily and is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day.

Visiting Tips

The park is open daily except for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day. The Natural Entrance to the cave opens at 8:30 am. To learn more about operating hours for the caverns and to see current schedules, visit the park's website.

Fees & Passes
All visitors entering Carlsbad Cavern are required to purchase a ticket. Tickets are $10 and are good for three days.

Camping & Lodging

Camping at Carlsbad Cavern National Park is permitted only in the backcountry. All backcountry users are required to obtain a free backcountry use permit at the Visitor Center. There is no other camping or lodging options located in the park. For more information on backcountry camping, click here.

Outfitters, Tours, & Shuttles

Visitors can enjoy self-guided tours of Carlsbad Cavern. The basic cavern entry is by way of two self-guided routes, the Big Room and the Natural Entrance routes. For visitors interested in more in-depth tours, the park offer a variety of ranger-led tours. The ranger-guided cave tours require an additional ticket and can be purchased in advance. Reservations are highly recommended for all guided cave tours and require 48 hours advance notice. Reservations can be made online or by calling 877-444-6777. To learn more about the available tours and to see the current schedule of events, visit the park's website.

Maps & Guidebooks

To download a variety of free brochures to help plan your visit, click here.

Food & Drink

The Carlsbad Cavern Trading Company, which is open during visitor center hours and located at the west end of the building, offers a variety of sandwiches, salads, snacks, and a hot/cold food line. Bottled, fountain and hot drinks are also available. A small snack bar is also located in the underground rest area in the cavern.

Please note that any consumption of food and drink, except plain, unflavored water, is prohibited in any cave except in the underground snackbar in Carlsbad Cavern. Visitors can use the picnic tables at the east end of the visitor center parking lot or at the Rattlesnake Springs Picnic Area. There are a variety of dining options located outside of the park in the nearby town of White's City or Carlsbad.

Other Activities

When not exploring the trails and caverns of the park, visitors can also take time to enjoy the night sky programs or bat flight programs offered by the park which is host to a multitude of educational opportunities. For those looking to extend their adventures to the surrounding area, check out the opportunities for mountain biking in Carlsbad and rock climbing up the road at Last Chance Canyon or Sitting Bull Falls.

Gems in Carlsbad Caverns National Park - 2

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gem Favorite The Whale: Rock formation in Carlsbad Caverns on the way to the Big Room.

Carlsbad Cavern

(10) Whites…, NM
gem Favorite Slaughter Canyon Cave. Photo Courtesy of the NPS (Pam Cox)

Slaughter Canyon Cave Tour

(1) Whites…, NM

Featured Hikes in Carlsbad Caverns National Park - 2

Hiking Project is built by hikers like you. Add Your Hikes

Favorite Natural Entrance to Carlsbad Caverns.
Easy

Chihuahuan Desert Nature Trail

0.8 mi 1.3 km • Loop • 66 ft Ascent 20.08 m Ascent

(4) Whites…, NM
Favorite Namesake of the Rattlesnake Canyon Trail: crotalus atrox.
Intermediate/Difficult

Rattlesnake Canyon Loop

6.1 mi 9.9 km • Loop • 676 ft Ascent 205.99 m Ascent

(4) Whites…, NM

Trails in Carlsbad Caverns National Park - 8

Hiking Project is built by hikers like you. Add Your Trails

0.4 mi 0.6 km #1Slaughter Canyon Cave Trail
Intermediate/Difficult
Whites City, NM
Intermediate/Difficult
0.4 mi 0.6 km Whites City, NM
7.9 mi 12.6 km #2Yucca Canyon Trail T225
Intermediate
Whites City, NM
Intermediate
7.9 mi 12.6 km Whites City, NM
3.6 mi 5.8 km #3Old Guano Road Trail
Intermediate
Whites City, NM
Intermediate
3.6 mi 5.8 km Whites City, NM
2.9 mi 4.7 km #4Rattlesnake Canyon Trail
Intermediate
Whites City, NM
Intermediate
2.9 mi 4.7 km Whites City, NM
18.6 mi 29.9 km #5Guadalupe Ridge Trail
Intermediate
Whites City, NM
Intermediate
18.6 mi 29.9 km Whites City, NM
5.4 mi 8.6 km #6North Slaughter Canyon Trail
Intermediate
Whites City, NM
Intermediate
5.4 mi 8.6 km Whites City, NM
2.1 mi 3.4 km #7Upper Rattlesnake Canyon
Easy/Intermediate
Whites City, NM
Easy/Intermediate
2.1 mi 3.4 km Whites City, NM
1.1 mi 1.7 km #8Juniper Ridge Trail
Intermediate
Whites City, NM
Intermediate
1.1 mi 1.7 km Whites City, NM

Photos of Carlsbad Caverns National Park - 59

Hiking Project is built by hikers like you. Add Your Photos

The Whale: Rock formation in Carlsbad Caverns on the way to the Big Room.
Apr 3, 2018 near Whites…, NM
A texas horned lizard, camouflaged against the desert rocks, sits along the side of the trail. Be careful where you step, as lizards and snakes can be found throughout the day.
Apr 17, 2017 near Whites…, NM
Hall of White Giants.
Apr 3, 2018 near Whites…, NM
Yucca Canyon Trail in July
Jul 24, 2017 near Whites…, NM
Natural Entrance to Carlsbad Caverns.... only 750" under ground
Mar 9, 2018 near Whites…, NM
Natural Entrance to Carlsbad Caverns.
Mar 9, 2018 near Whites…, NM
Natural Entrance to Carlsbad Caverns.... 750 feet under ground
Mar 9, 2018 near Whites…, NM
Hall of Giants.
Apr 3, 2018 near Whites…, NM

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