• 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.

Summer Hours Announced at Carlsbad Caverns

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Date: May 9, 2006
Contact: Bridget Litten, 505.785.3024

With summer just around the corner, Carlsbad Caverns National Park will be switching over to its summer schedule on Saturday, May 27. These expanded hours will remain in effect through Labor Day, September 4. “On a typical summer day in the Chihuahuan Desert, temperatures can soar over 100°F,” said park superintendent John Benjamin. “Carlsbad Cavern, on the other hand, is a comfortable 56°F year-round. It’s a great way to beat the heat!”

With the park’s expanded hours, the visitor center will be open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. The park offers two self-guided and six guided tours of Carlsbad Cavern and other park caves. The self-guided Natural Entrance route will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The self-guided Big Room route will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. The ranger-guided Kings Palace tour is offered at 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. Tour times are established to allow ample time for visitors to exit the cave before the 7 p.m. closing.

For visitors who are a bit more adventurous, ranger-guided tours through undeveloped portions of Carlsbad Cavern, Slaughter Canyon Cave and Spider Cave provide opportunities to get off the beaten path and away from the crowds that are common in the summer. Flashlight trips through Slaughter Canyon Cave are led daily at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. A lantern tour of Left Hand Tunnel is available everyday at 9 a.m. The Lower Cave tour is offered Monday through Friday at 1 p.m. Two strenuous wild caving trips, Hall of the White Giant and Spider Cave, are offered on Saturday at 1 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m. respectively.

While there are no group size limits or reservations needed for the self-guided tours, there are limits and restrictions for guided tours. Reservations are required for guided tours and can be made at reservations.nps.gov or by calling 1.800.967.2283. The entrance fee—which allows access into the self-guided portions of Carlsbad Cavern—is $6 for adults; children 15 and under are free, but must be accompanied by an adult. Ranger-guided tour fees range from $7 to $20 for adults and $3.50 to $10 for children depending on the tour.

Evening bat flight programs at the Natural Entrance Amphitheater begin on May 14 and will continue through mid-October or until the bats migrate to Mexico for the winter. The programs are free and begin at dusk—the exact starting time may be obtained by calling 505.785.3012.

For additional information, call 505.785.2232, or visit the park’s website at www.nps.gov/cave/.

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.