• Photo of the steep natural entrance of Carlsbad Caverns

    Carlsbad Caverns

    National Park New Mexico

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.

Browse photographs of the Natural Entrance trail in our photo gallery.

Natural Entrance Hours
Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend: 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Early September to late May: 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Closed New Year's Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas Day.

All visitors who enter Carlsbad Cavern—for any tour—are required to purchase an Entrance Fee ticket. This ticket is good for 3 days.
Anyone under 16 must be accompanied by an adult.

Did You Know?