• Photo of the steep natural entrance of Carlsbad Caverns

    Carlsbad Caverns

    National Park New Mexico

There are park alerts in effect.
hide Alerts »
  • 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.

Off-Season Hours at Carlsbad Caverns National Park

Subscribe RSS Icon | What is RSS
Date: August 29, 2007
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 Hall of Giants in Carlsbad Cavern.

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.