• 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.

  • 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

The Chinese Theater in the Big Room of Carlsbad Cavern.
The Chinese Theater in the Big Room of Carlsbad Cavern.
NPS Photo by Peter Jones.
 

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?

Soda straws in Carlsbad Cavern.

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.