• Photo of the steep natural entrance of Carlsbad Caverns

    Carlsbad Caverns

    National Park New Mexico

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  • Scenic Loop Road Closed

    The 9-mile scenic Loop Road (Desert Drive) is closed due to flood damage. The road will reopen as soon as repairs are done. This scenic road does not affect access to the visitor center or the cave.

  • Rattlesnake Springs Area Closed

    Rattlesnake Springs area will remain closed through the weekend (9-28-14) due to hazardous road conditions and downed trees caused by torrential rains.

  • All Camping Suspended Until Further Notice

    All camping in the park has been suspended until further notice due to flood damage on backcountry roads and trails.

Wildflowers

Orange butterflyweed (Asclepias tuberosa) isn’t just an important nectar source for this mix of butterflies—it also is a primary food for the caterpillar of the monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) and its relatives. It is among the park’s perennial plants that blooms reliably in the fall.
Orange butterflyweed (Asclepias tuberosa) isn’t just an important nectar source for this mix of butterflies—it also is a primary food for the caterpillar of the monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) and its relatives. It is among the park’s perennial plants that blooms reliably in the fall.
NPS Photo by Donna Laing
 

Carlsbad Caverns National Park has lush vegetative cover when compared to the drier deserts to the west. Woody plants predominate. Unlike Death Valley, for instance, there is almost no bare ground that can suddenly flush with annual wildflowers in an unusual rainy period. While this park's wildflowers are not always as dramatically eye-catching, they are quite beautiful and abundant, with both annuals and perennial plants represented. The huge variety of plants and the mild climate can result in delightful flower surprises in almost any month of the year-especially if you look closely! The tall Torrey yuccas often put up their large white flower clusters in late winter. At the same time, the secretive desert anemones, which spend most of the year hidden underground as tubers, send up delicate flower stalks each topped with one white flower.

If summer rains materialize, there will be sudden appearances of many interesting flowers, such as the large blue flowers of Lindheimer's morning glory vine and the tiny red flowers of another morning glory called scarlet creeper.

In dry years, the park's perennial plants (including shrubs and trees) provide the most reliable flowering. But, even in very dry years some of them do not flower or bear fruit.

See the park's plant list for all the names.

Did You Know?

Soda straws in Carlsbad Cavern.

Most of the formations—or speleothems—found inside Carlsbad Cavern today were active and growing during the last ice age when instead of having a desert above the cave, there were pine forests.