Carlsbad Caverns Are Calling

carlsbad cavernCarlsbad Caverns National Park is a United States National Park located in the Guadalupe Mountains in southeastern New Mexico. This natural wonder offers some of the most stunning spelunking available anywhere. From stalactites to stalagmites, and the beautiful cave swallows that reside near the entrance, this stunning geological wonder will delight both young and old alike.  The primary attraction of the park is the show cave, Carlsbad Cavern. Carlsbad Caverns National Park is open every day of the year except Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day. Visitors to the cave can hike in on their own through the natural entrance, or take an elevator from the visitor center. Carlsbad Cavern includes a large cave chamber, the Big Room, a natural limestone chamber that is almost 4,000 feet long, 625 feet wide, and 255 feet high at the highest point. It is the fifth largest chamber in North America and the twenty-eighth largest in the world. Visitors to the Cavern can choose to embark on a self guided journey, or you can make a reservation for one of many ranger guided tours available daily. Click here to see the schedule of ranger guided tours that are available, listed from easiest to most difficult. Whether it’s walking among beautiful cave formations in the King’s Palace or challenging yourself to a tight belly crawl in colorful Spider Cave, taking a ranger-guided cave tour can be a truly rewarding experience. Carlsbad Caverns National Park offers numerous ranger-guided cave tours into areas other than the self-guided routes. It should be noted that children under 4 years old are not allowed on any of the ranger guided tours, and other age limits apply depending on the tour, but you are welcome to take children of any age with you on your own self guided tour. Another note about the little ones – no strollers are allowed in the caves, so be prepared to carry your littles in a backpack if necessary. Carlsbad Caverns Nat’l Park has a lovely gift shop, and also has dining  available at Carlsbad Caverns Trading Company, located at the west end of the building, past the gift shop. Visitors to the Trading Company may choose a sandwich, salad, yogurt, or other snack from the grab-and-go coolers or have a salad, sandwich, or meal made to order at the hot/cold food line. A variety of bottled, fountain and hot drinks are also available. If you bring your own food, the park offers picnic tables at the east end of the parking lot.

The park entrance is located on US Highway 62/180, approximately 18 miles southwest of Carlsbad, New Mexico. Carlsbad Caverns National Park participates in the Junior Ranger Program.The park has two entries on the National Register of Historic Places: The Caverns Historic District and the Rattlesnake Springs Historic District.  Approximately two thirds of the park has been set aside as a wilderness area, helping to ensure no future changes will be made to the habitat. A pass for the park is $10 per adult and kids under 15 years old are free. Each pass is good for three days, so if you aren’t done exploring, you are welcome to come back! The park will also observe free entry days on the following dates in 2015:

  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday – January 19

  • Presidents Day Weekend – February 14-16

  • National Park’s Week Opening Weekend – April 18-19

  • 99th Birthday of National Park Service – August 25

  • National Public Lands Day – September 26

  • Veterans Day – November 11

While there is no lodging or camping on site, there is a great RV park just 7 miles away, at White’s City RV Park. White’s is a very large park, and it has all the necessities including water, sewer, and electric hookups as well as free Wi-Fi. All spots are pull-thrus and can accommodate most any size RV or trailer. This large property has beautiful pine trees surrounding it as well as covered picnic tables, BBQ grills, and fire rings. Laundry and vending machines, as well as recently remodeled showers, bathrooms, are also available on site. The park is well managed and maintained and receives high customer ratings on many travel sites.  The park doesn’t take reservations, but you can call them at (575) 785-2291 for rates and more information. White’s is in walking distance of a water park, restaurant, grocery store, and arcade. With winter upon us, now may be just the right time to plan a trip to Carlsbad Cavern’s and enjoy some crisp, New Mexico air and sunshine. This area experiences nearly 300 days of sunshine per year!  Have you every visited the caverns? We would love to hear about your experience and you can also share your photos with us here or on our Facebook page! We love to hear from you!

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