Carlsbad Caverns National Park

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3225 National Park Highway, Carlsbad, NM, USA

Carlsbad Caverns National Park Reviews

kvom kvom
18 reviews
Revisiting Carlsbad Caverns Jun 13, 2015
I visited the caverns over 50 years ago, and this week I came back with my daughter. The ranger-guided tours must be reserved in advance online, and apparently fill up months in advance. The only one we were4 able to get 2 weeks in advance was the King's Palace tour. This runs twice a day and accommodates up to 50 people. We took the 10:30 tour which finishes at noon. This tour covers 4 chambers, including some of the most photographed parts of the cave. The King's Chamber previously hosted orchestra performances and movie filming ("Journey to the Center of the Earth").

Afterwards we ate a quick lunch in the underground rest area. The packaged food is not very good, but eating 750' underground is part of the experience.

Then we did the self-guided Big Room tour along a path that skirts the outside of the immense cavity. At a slow walking pace and while taking flash pictures, we spent a bit over an hour.

Finally, we took the elevator back to the surface to do the self-guided Natural Entrance tour. This was rather disappointing after the first two, since it's mainly a very long series of switchback ramps all the way to the bottom, ending up again in the rest area.

That evening we drove back from town to see the bat flight. Rather than a huge swarm coming out at once, the bats emerged in much smaller quantities and only when it was too dark to see much. However, the ranger talk about bats was interesting while waiting for the emergence.
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andrewcsikes andrewcs…
19 reviews
Really Cool Cave Nov 16, 2012
The cave was great. I thought it would be colder, but it wasn't. The staff was really friendly and helpful. The elevator operator was really funny. My kids really enjoyed the cave. They even made the comment that it was one of the coolest places they have ever been. After an hour of walking around, it became "boring" to my kids. Defiantly worth the stop. I always recommend seeing our natural land marks. There was a nice souvenir shop just outside the park entrance that is worth stopping at also.
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FarawaySage FarawayS…
2 reviews
Internal National Park Oct 30, 2010
The serene Chihuahuan Desert drive into Carlsbad National Park will surprise you in its emptiness. It was high summer and there were very, very few cars on the road. Once I'd paid to enter the caverns, I was presented with two choices: take the elevator down, down, down or enter the caves on my own. I took the second, quickly making my way ahead of the rest of the tourists.

You don't really enter Carlsbad, you PLUNGE into it. It is a huge hole in the ground. Imagine entering Hell, but just for a visit . . . spookily lit, carved out in switchback fashion so that one doesn't kill oneself in the dark. It is NOT for the faint of heart. It took a good hour for me to make my way about halfway down . . . luckily I'd purchased the headset that could tell me a little bit about what I was looking at.

The elevator ride back up (it would probably take 3 hours to hike back up and you are not allowed to do it without a permit) takes about a minute and a half through solid cut rock. There is a guide inside to make you feel a bit more at ease.

Yes, you will smell bat guano everywhere. There are cave birds but all of the bats were down in Mexico. It was an eerie experience because you feel completely enveloped in nature but not in a way that one is used to.

When the bats are there, it is wise to get a rabies vaccination, as you can "inhale" rabies through the moist bat air, something I HAD NEVER EVEN HEARD OF. But with millions and millions of creatures living down there in the winter, not completely surprising. Glad I went when they were out of town!!!
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freespirit3 freespir…
52 reviews
Carlsbad Caverns National Park Jun 12, 2009
To the bat cave . . .

Oh wait that is only at night, and quite a spectacle to see as the thousands of bats cover the night sky as they leave in search of food.

During the daytime is when MOST people start their tour of Carlsbad Caverns. However technically the caverns are located in White City about 13 miles south of Carlsbad, NM.

For a small admission fee (good for 3 days) you are wisk down a 750 ft decent in the glass elevator towards the big room. This section of the cave takes approx. 1.5 hrs on paved, lighted trails to see.

The cave is truly amazing with all the various stalactites, stalagmites, Columns, Popcorn, not to mention the other various formations. Kind of an underground wonder that eludes a sense of peace and respect for the earth and all its wonders.

If you have more time there are various options that allow for more in depth exploration of the cave including Kings Palace, Left Hand Tunnel, Slaughter Canyon Cave, Lower Cave, Spider Cave, and the belly crawl through the Hall of the White Giants.

Take some time and explore this great natural wonder. You won't regret it.
Carlsbad Caverns National Park
Entrance to the Bat Cave (Batman …
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freespirit3 says:
That would be ALOT of fun. She would love it!
Posted on: Jun 27, 2009
Africancrab says:
Please let me know, I should like to make the trip and perhaps bring Desire with.
Posted on: Jun 27, 2009
freespirit3 says:
I may be headed back next year around the same time since my son really wants to go back again. I'll keep you posted.
Posted on: Jun 27, 2009
sapphiresunbeam sapphire…
3 reviews
Transported to an Underground Universe Sep 06, 2008
I spent over five hours in Carlsbad Caverns, after sleeping in the Carlsbad Walmart parking lot. With barely any sleep, I was still able to maintain a fascination with this beautiful underground world. I traveled here by myself, and found it extremely helpful to pay the five dollars to listen to the self-guided tour (a black speaker you hold to your ear and press buttons on). I was fascinated by everything. I was especially interested in the ways that we, especially as Americans, are completely out of tune with the world around us. It took hours for me to fully realize the extent of the beauty around me - it was like I knew I was supposed to be impressed, but I couldn't FEEL it. I have been so desensitized by society. And this is coming from a highly sensitive, very conscious person! So it was a great lesson for me to go to Carlsbad and experience the underground caverns - it taught me much about myself, and about this entire world beneath the earth we walk.
1 / 1 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
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alyssa_ob alyssa_ob
244 reviews
Gigantic caverns with easy access Feb 15, 2008
Carlsbad is a sulfate dissolution cave - most caves are carbonate dissolution - so that makes it unique and accounts for its great size and large rooms. The sulfate comes from the hydrogen sulfide gas from oil and natural gas reservoirs in the area. Most of the cave is dry and inactive (its in a desert, so not much water) and only about 5 % of the formations are still actively growing.

The formations include stactites (stick tight to the cieling), stalagmites (might get to the cieling), columns (they joined), soda straws, bacon strips, flowstone, draperies and lily pads. The features were very large and there were millions of stalactites on the cieling. But most were dry and dull.

The natural entrance is a fabulous mile hike down a steep trail (paved with handrails) and very dimmly lit. If you happen to have a flashlight, you might want to bring it with. They don't recommend the trail if you have bad knees. Not many people were on this trail - I only met a few. You can also take an elevator down (and back up).

This cave is different from most - you can take the self guided tour along a paved trail with handrails. The mostly level trail is approximately 1 mile long and winds around the Big Room, which is equal in size to approximately 6 (American) football fields. An audio guide makes the tour more interesting, if you have the extra time or interest.

They also offer adventure tours and guided tours, but the adventure tours sell out a month in advance!


The visitor center was going through a reconstruction and the ticket office and gift shop and food place were all located in trailers in the parking lot. You buy your ticket up in a trailer before entering the cave.

Apparently they don't let you enter through the natural entrance after 2 pm because it takes most people 3 hours to do the natural entrance and self guided tour. The natural entrance is a 1/4 mile walk from the visitor center to the ampitheather where you can watch the bat flight. The bats winter in Mexico, so they only fly out of the cave between March and October. The bat flight programs start around May, though, so ask before planning on going to that.

The cave entrance fee is $6 and is good for 3 days! This cave is perfect for those who are not overly adventurous or have health concerns that prevent them from a more rigorous cave tour.
bat watching ampitheater and entra…
bat cave
The Green Room
Cave formations
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Africancrab says:
Great review:)
Posted on: Jun 27, 2009
Sunflower300 says:
Great review. I would love to see this.
Posted on: Jun 26, 2008
X_Drive X_Drive
836 reviews
What has to be the Best Cave in the World! Apr 15, 2008
Unlike many of the caves you have seen before in different parts of the world the caves of Carlsbad Caverns National Park were formed when sulfuric acid dissolved the surrounding limestone, creating some of the largest caves in North America. There are more than 300 such caves in the southern New Mexico and west Texas area. 113 of those caves are in the National Park.

Due to the steepness and length of the natural entrance trail an elevator has been installed, for those that wish to take it, that takes you down about 750 feet where easy access to the “Big Room” is. There are several options when purchasing your admission, including some trails that take much longer, are harder to make your way through and even some where crawling is the only way through.

We did the old folks style trail, which meant the elevator down. Then about an hour along a fairly level mile long pathway with metal round handrails. A few steps, but nothing steep or strenuous. But what a mile it was! The Big Room here is so uch larger than you could imagine. I would think in some places the ceiling is 300 feet up, possible more.

A few people have asked about bats and there are bats in the cave entrance area. And each evening in the summer at sunset the bats exit the cave in a flight to find insects for dinner. A park ranger holds a program at the entrance, but NO cameras or camcorders are allowed. The pre dawn return of the bats is nearly as impressive with bats diving into the cave from every direction at speeds of 25 mph. Down in the Big Room you will not find bats at all. It is too far down for them to go, according to the Park Ranger.

Beginning approximately July 1, 2008 the new Visitors Center will be open.
This area was named "Chinese Theat…
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Africancrab says:
Great review, wow. I just read yours and Robyn's review and I sure want to visit the caves.
Posted on: Jun 27, 2009
radarasu says:
Great review and photos of the caverns!!! Hopefully I will make it there someday also.
Posted on: Jun 23, 2008
jennjeff1 says:
Roger, you say "A park ranger holds a program at the entrance, but NO cameras or camcorders are allowed." Is this policy apply for the whole Carlsbad Cave system or just the entrance area where the bats are located? Thanks! ~Jeff
Posted on: Jun 23, 2008
pudwell pudwell
18 reviews
If your in the neighborhood, check it out Jul 05, 2008
Back in April of 2007 I had a chance to visit Carlsbad Caverns. The desert area surrounding the caverns is a beautiful sight in and of itself. When I went I took the tour leading down the steep winding path from the natural entrance. The formations are truly incredible, and it is definitely worth going if you are ever in the area. I could try to describe the formations but word would do no justice, I therefor must leave you some pictures.

The next time I go I will have to check out the bat flight and some of the other cavern tours.
The Whale's Mouth
View on the Drive back to the High…
The Hall of Giants
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WaltJake WaltJake
53 reviews
Feb 18, 2007
This is an awesome cave too see stunning formations, rooms, stalactites and stalagmites, it rivals Mammoth Cave in Kentucky....but if you really want a treat, get there in time for the bat show that starts around sunset! Millions of small bats pour out of the cave mouth like thick smoke, in the nightly hunt for insects...it is really amazing to watch! Don't worry, the bats won't hurt you...they only want bugs. Great for kids and fun for all!

Another plus, if you are camping- hardly any flies or mosquitos...the bats have eaten them all!
1 / 1 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
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breath1724 says:
heading to Carlsbad next week-do you know if the bats will still be there?
Posted on: Nov 05, 2007
homeres homeres
63 reviews
Caving for the Yuppie or the City Slicker Apr 26, 2007
Carlsbad Caverns is one of those wonders in the world that you overlook but it is figuratively...'A Hole in the Ground'

I liked it! We drove from the southern part of New Mexico, Las Cruces,and being from the East Coast and living majority of my life in the inner-city this is a natural wonder. It was refreshing, this trip was the beginning of my transition from in-doorsy to out-doorsy. The place is cool and i am not a caving expert but if you like dark places---this is one spot to see in New Mexico.

It is a true natural wonder, be advised if you get clausterphobia...it can get tight so bring someone with you!!!

There are several big rooms to chose to wander around. We chose the Big Room and took well over an hour to complete the walk. I dont think it would be a good idea for elderly family members to do the walk, there are severe places that are slippery.

It is hard for me to go in-depth about a cave, you have to explore it for yourself and get familar with those terms 'stalagmites' and 'stalatites'...maybe i made those up! lol. Carlsbad is part of our history and has been there for thousands of years!
entrance to the bat cave, lol, but…
ok the figure on the right, ive go…
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photo by: Africancrab