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.
Scenic Loop Road Closed
The 9-mile scenic Loop Road (Desert Drive) is closed due to weather damage. The road will reopen as soon as repairs are done. This scenic road does not affect road access to the visitor center or the cave.
Self-Guided Cave Tours
Entry into the cavern is by way of two different self-guided routes—the Big Room Route and the Natural Entrance Route. The Natural Entrance Route is a steep, 1.25 mile, 750 foot descent down switchbacks into the cave. This entrance is not wheelchair accessible. The Big Room Route allows for wheelchairs in the areas that are not steep ascents/descents (certain inaccessible areas have pinch points). Tickets are sold at the visitor center each day, except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day. Entrance fee tickets are good for three days, but do not include guided or other special tours. Summer hours are in effect from Memorial Day through Labor Day.
Did You Know?
Most of the formations—or speleothems—found inside Carlsbad Cavern today were active and growing during the last ice age when instead of having a desert above the cave, there were pine forests.