• Photo of the steep natural entrance of Carlsbad Caverns

    Carlsbad Caverns

    National Park New Mexico

There are park alerts in effect.
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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.

Backcountry Permits

**The 9-mile scenic Loop Road is closed due to flood damage until further notice. No backcountry camping permitted in that area until the road is reopened.This is a scenic side road and does not affect access to the cave.**

Camping at Carlsbad Caverns National Park is permitted only in the backcountry. All backcountry users are required to obtain a free backcountry use permit at the Visitor Center.

Backcountry camping permit Terms and Conditions:

  • Backcountry camping is only allowed west of Rattlesnake Canyon trailhead off the Desert Scenic Loop Road and south of the Guadalupe Ridge Trail to the park boundary for approximately two miles, after which camping is allowed both north and south of the trail.
  • Campsites must be located at least 100 feet off established trails, 300 feet from any water source or cave entrance and a half mile or 2,600 feet from any road or parking lot.
  • Backcountry camping groups are limited to 10 people. Larger groups must hike and camp at least one-quarter mile apart in separate areas.
  • The permit holder must be 18 years of age or older.
  • The maximum stay is seven consecutive nights.
  • Vehicle or RV camping is prohibited. Camping is not allowed in any other area, including along any roads, in any parking lot or trailhead.

A few other things to keep in mind:

  • Do not disturb or collect any plants, animals, minerals, or cultural artifacts.
  • Entering backcountry caves without written permission of the Superintendent is prohibited.
  • Saddle and stock use is permitted, in designated areas, under special rules and regulations. Advance arrangements are required.
  • Please report all accidents, fires, injuries, lost persons, or other emergencies to a park ranger.
  • Mountain bikes and motorized vehicles are prohibited on all park trails.
  • Lock your vehicle and take valuable items with you.

Did You Know?

Permian ocean bottom.

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.