Off-Season Hours at Carlsbad Caverns National Park
Contact: Bridget Litten, 505.785.3024
Superintendent John Benjamin announced today that Carlsbad Caverns National Park would return to its normal operating hours on Tuesday, September 4. Benjamin noted, “With schools back in session and much of our summer workforce already gone for the season, we need to adjust the hours we are open and our tour schedule.”
Beginning on September 4, the park’s visitor center will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (MDT) and will continue to offer a variety of self-guided and guided cave tours. The self-guided Natural Entrance route will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. The self-guided Big Room route will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The ranger-guided Kings Palace tour will be offered at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. daily. Tour times are established to allow ample time for visitors to complete their tour before the visitor center closes at 5 p.m.
For visitors wishing a trip off the beaten path, ranger-guided trips are offered in undeveloped areas of Carlsbad Cavern and in other park caves. Flashlight trips through Slaughter Canyon Cave are led on Saturday and Sunday at 10 a.m. Lantern tours of Left Hand Tunnel are available daily at 9 a.m. Lower Cave tours are 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.
There are no group size limits or reservations needed for the self-guided tours; however, there are limits and restrictions for guided tours. Reservations are required for guided tours and can be made online at www.recreation.gov or by calling 1.877.444.6777. 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 will continue through mid-October or until the bats migrate to Mexico for the winter. These programs are free and begin around sunset—call 505.785.3012 for the starting time of each evening’s program.
Construction on the park visitor center began in July; however, there have been no interruptions in park ranger-guided or self-guided cave tours, or the evening bat flight program. However, for safety and security during the renovation, the park entrance gate at Whites City is closed from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., while the park is still giving bat flight programs, and from 6:30 p.m. to 6 a.m., the rest of the year.
For additional information, call 505.785.2232, or visit the park’s website at www.nps.gov/cave/.
Did You Know?
The limestone rock that holds Carlsbad Cavern is full of ocean fossil plants and animals from a time before the dinosaurs when the southeastern corner of New Mexico was a coastline similar to the Florida Keys.