• 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.

Backcountry Permits

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

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?

The natural entrance of Carlsbad Cavern.

In 2003, a park employee found a piece of a stone scraper within view of Carlsbad Cavern's entrance that goes back to Ice Age Indian hunters. In 2004, archeologists found fragments of two spear points of the Midland-style Paleo Indian projectile points of some 10,000 years ago.