Cave Lighting Project
We are undergoing a year-long lighting project in the cavern. Please be aware of caution tape along pathways inside the cave and use due care.
Scenic Loop Road Closed
The 9-mile scenic Loop Road (Desert Drive) is closed due to weather damage. The road will reopen as soon as repairs are done. This scenic road does not affect road access to the visitor center or the cave.
On October 25, 1923, President Calvin Coolidge signed a proclamation creating Carlsbad Cave National Monument to protect Carlsbad Cavern and the area around it—nearly 720 acres—for its “extraordinary proportions and… unusual beauty and variety of natural decoration…”
In 1930, the monument was designated as Carlsbad Caverns National Park by Congress. Today, the park encompasses over 46,000 acres and 119 known caves, including Lechuguilla Cave, one of the longest caves in the world and one of the deepest in North America. In addition to its many caves, the park contains one of the few protected portions of the northern Chihuahuan Desert ecosystem. Much of the park’s backcountry—over 33,000 rugged acres—was designated Wilderness in 1978 for its outstanding opportunities for solitude and primitive recreation. In 1995, the park became a World Heritage Site.
One of the deciding factors to include Carlsbad Caverns National Park as a World Heritage Site was Lechuguilla Cave and all of the scientific discoveries made there since 1986. That, along with the park’s other geological and biological features, plus the overall size, beauty, and significance of Carlsbad Cavern, convinced the World Conservation Union and World Heritage Committee that the park met the criteria for designation.
The purposes for which the park was established as articulated in the 1923 Enabling Legislation, the 1978 Wilderness designation, and the 1996 General Management Plan guide management at Carlsbad Caverns National Park include:
Did You Know?
The 120 caves of Carlsbad Caverns National Park were carved out not by running water and streams like many limestone caves in the world, rather these caves were dissolved by very aggressive sulfuric acid.