• 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.

Natural Entrance Self-Guided Tour

The Natural Entrance Route just before entering the twilight zone.
The Natural Entrance Route just before entering the twilight zone.
NPS Photo by Peter Jones.
 
The Natural Entrance route is a self-guided tour available to visitors with plenty of time and in good physical condition. This 1¼-mile tour follows the traditional explorer’s route, entering the cavern through the large historic natural entrance. The Natural Entrance route descends more than 750 feet into the earth following steep and narrow trails through a tall and spacious trunk passage called the Main Corridor. The route culminates in the underground rest area, near the elevators and Big Room route starting point. Visitors in good health who plan to take both self-guided tours may enjoy starting with the Natural Entrance Route. Highlights along this route include Bat Cave, Devil’s Spring, Green Lake Overlook and the Boneyard, a complex maze of highly-dissolved limestone rock reminiscent of Swiss cheese. Visitors should watch for Iceberg Rock, a single 200,000-ton boulder that fell from the cave ceiling thousands of years ago.

Anyone under 16 must be accompanied by an adult.

When: Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend hours—8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Early September to late May hours—8:30 a.m. to 2 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?

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.