• 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.

Other Special Uses

Weddings, other special events, First Amendment activities, and any potential ground-disturbing activities in the park require the issuance of a special use permit.

How to Apply
Complete Form 10-930 [50k PDF File] and return it to the address on the form with a check for $100.00 made payable to the National Park Service. Please allow at least two days for processing.

Weddings
Weddings are not permitted in the cave. Weddings may be permitted in the amphitheater at the Carlsbad Cavern entrance; if scheduled at times when the ceremony does not interfere with programs, cave entry, or bat flights. Other proposed areas on the surface may be considered if the conditions mentioned below are met.

Conditions for wedding ceremonies include:

  • The total number in the wedding party will not exceed 20 people.
  • Regular user fees will be paid for each member of the party-if they plan on entering the cave.
  • No music, either instrumental or vocal, will be allowed.
  • The event must occur totally within normal operating hours.
  • Floral arrangements, candleholders, or other props shall be small, kept to a minimum, or not used.
  • The requesting party is responsible for obtaining the minister, judge, or magistrate to conduct the ceremony and for meeting all of the civil law requirements of the State of New Mexico and Eddy County. (A marriage license must be obtained in advance from the County Clerk's Office, which is open from 8:30 to noon and from 1 to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Parties must be 18 years old without parental consent, or 16 years old with parental consent. A blood test and doctor's certificate, which can be from another state, is also required to obtain a license.)
  • Publicity of the ceremony will be kept to a minimum.

Ground-Disturbing Activities
Contractors/partners requesting to perform work at Carlsbad Caverns National Park are required to obtain a permit prior to starting work. It generally will take about 3 weeks to obtain the permit, though some may be faster. For example, simple plans with very low potential for impacts to National Park Service resources may require less time to permit.

The park requires responses to a checklist of information that must be completed to allow park staff to properly evaluate the requested use. The park will use this information to determine the appropriate analysis, environmental, and cultural documents required under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA).

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.