• Photo of the steep natural entrance of Carlsbad Caverns

    Carlsbad Caverns

    National Park New Mexico

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  • 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.

Laws & Policies

Superintendent's Compendium 2014 of Designations, Closures, Permit Requirements and Other Restrictions Imposed Under Discretionary Authority.

In accordance with regulations and the delegated authority provided in Title 36, Code of Federal Regulations (36 CFR), Chapter 1, Parts 1-7, authorized by Title 16 United States Code, Section 3, the following regulatory provisions are established for the proper management, protection, government and public use of those portions of Carlsbad Caverns National Park under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service. Unless otherwise stated, these regulatory provisions apply in addition to the requirements contained in 36 CFR, Chapter 1, Parts 1-7.

The Compendium is a collection of rules and regulations specific to Carlsbad Caverns National Park. These rules are set up to ensure the safety of everyone who enjoys our park.

 

Firearms

As of February 22, 2010, a new federal law allows people who can legally possess firearms under applicable federal, state, and local laws, to legally possess firearms in Carlsbad Caverns National Park.

It is the responsibility of visitors to understand and comply with all applicable state, local, and federal firearms laws before entering this park. As a starting point, please visit our state’s website. [New Mexico Department of Public Safety]

Federal law continues to prohibit firearms in certain facilities, such as park visitor centers. These facilities are posted with appropriate notices at public entrances. At Carlsbad Caverns, firearms are not allowed in the Visitor Center, including the restaurant, gift shop, and kennel, the park’s maintenance yard, park office buildings, or inside caves where guided tours occur, including Carlsbad Cavern, Slaughter Canyon Cave, and Spider Cave. The new federal law has no effect on existing laws and regulations regarding the use of firearms in national parks or hunting. Hunting, target shooting, and any other use of firearms are not allowed in Carlsbad Caverns National Park.

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.