• Photo of the steep natural entrance of Carlsbad Caverns

    Carlsbad Caverns

    National Park New Mexico

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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.

  • Road Resurfacing Project

    Possible 15 minute traffic delays due to road resurfacing project in the park.

Big Room Self-Guided Tour

The Hall of Giants in the Big Room of Carlsbad Cavern.
The Hall of Giants in the Big Room of Carlsbad Cavern.
NPS Photo by Peter Jones.
 

The basic tour through Carlsbad Cavern is the Big Room route, a one-mile, self-guided underground walk around the perimeter of the largest room in the cave, the Big Room. An audio guide notably enhances the tour. Taking approximately 1½ hours, this circular route passes many large and famous features including Bottomless Pit, Giant Dome, Rock of Ages, and Painted Grotto. Highly decorated and immense, the Big Room should be seen by all park visitors.

Access to the Big Room is provided by elevators located in the visitor center. The relatively level and well-lit trails make this the ideal tour for visitors with limited time or walking difficulties. Approximately two-thirds of the Big Room is accessible to people using wheelchairs with assistance, an access guide is available at the visitor center information desk. Baby strollers are not permitted in any part of the cave. Bring a baby backpack if you need to carry your child.

Just how BIG is the Big Room? The Atlas of Great Caves of the World by Courbon, Chabert, Bosted & Lindsley published in 1989 states that the floor area of the Big Room in Carlsbad Cavern is 33,210 square meters. 33,210 sq. meters equals approximately 357,480 sq. ft. A football field is 360 feet long (including the end zones) by 160 feet wide or equal to 57,600 sq. ft. By dividing 57,600 sq. ft. into 357,480 sq. ft., you roughly get that 6.2 football fields would fit into the Big Room. In acres, one acre is equal to 4,840 sq. yards or 43,560 sq. feet. Divide 43,560 sq. ft into 357,480 sq. ft. and we find that the Big Room is 8.2 acres in size (more or less).

Anyone under 16 must be accompanied by an adult.

When: Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend hours—8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Early September to late May hours—8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Closed December 25.

Cost: Adults – $10; Children 15 and under – Free; Annual Pass, Senior Pass, Access Pass and Volunteer Pass – Free for the cardholder plus plus three adults.

All visitors who enter Carlsbad Cavern—for any tour—are required to purchase an Entrance Fee ticket. This ticket is good for 3 days.

Did You Know?

Evening bat flight at Carlsbad Caverns National Park.

Nearly 400,000 Brazilian (more commonly called Mexican) Free-tailed bats call Carlsbad Cavern home in the summer... and all they want to do each night is eat bugs... several tons of them!