• Photo of the steep natural entrance of Carlsbad Caverns

    Carlsbad Caverns

    National Park New Mexico

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  • 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.

  • All Camping & Backcountry Caving Suspended Until Further Notice

    All camping and backcountry/recreational caving in the park has been suspended until further notice due to flood damage on backcountry roads and trails.

Fee Free Week

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Date: April 18, 2013

Fee-Free Week is April 22-26 at Carlsbad Caverns National Park

CARLSBAD, New Mexico - Entrance fees will be waived at Carlsbad Caverns National Park for the week of April 22-26 in honor of National Park Week. The fee-free period applies at National Park Service (NPS) sites that charge admission. The National Park System now has 401 national park units, which include monuments, seashores, battlefields, historic homes, archeological sites, and other spectacular natural and cultural areas. The NPS is proud to join once again with the National Park Foundation, the official charity of America's national parks, to present National Park Week, a presidentially proclaimed celebration of our national heritage.

At Carlsbad Caverns free park entry includes the self-guided Big Room and access to the world-famous caverns via the elevator or a 1-mile walk down the natural entrance. Additional fees and reservations are required for special ranger-guided tours in the caverns. Special tours include King's Palace, Left Hand Tunnel, Lower Cave, Spider Cave, Hall of the White Giant and Slaughter Canyon Cave with fees ranging from $3.50 to $20.

Winter hours will still be in effect at the Caverns during National Park Week, with the visitor center open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Last entry into the cave via the natural entrance is 2 p.m. and last entry via the elevators is 3:30 p.m. Summer hours this year begin May 24 and run through Sept. 2, with the visitor center open 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. (last summer season entry via natural entrance is 3:30 p.m. and via the elevator at 5 p.m.).

Due to ongoing renovation of the cavern's elevators, visitors are encouraged to plan more time for their visit as lines may form and the wait could be up to an hour and a half. Outside the caves, surface activities in the park such as birding and hiking are always free. The Desert Loop Drive, a 9-mile, one-way scenic desert route is open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and not recommended for low-clearance vehicles due to uneven and rocky road surfaces.  

For more information about park hours or cave tours, call 575-785-2232 or visit www.nps.gov/cave.

- www.NPS.gov-

Did You Know?

Jim White in Carlsbad Cavern.

Jim White is the cowboy credited with being the premier explorer of Carlsbad Cavern. He began to explore the cave as a teenager in 1898, using a handmade wire ladder to descend 60 feet into the cave. For more than a decade, he couldn't convince many locals that there was much to Carlsbad Cavern.