• Photo of the steep natural entrance of Carlsbad Caverns

    Carlsbad Caverns

    National Park New Mexico

There are park alerts in effect.
hide Alerts »
  • Scenic Loop Road Closed

    The 9-mile scenic Loop Road (Desert Drive) is closed due to flood damage. The road will reopen as soon as repairs are done. This scenic road does not affect access to the visitor center or the cave.

  • All Camping & Backcountry Caving Suspended Until Further Notice

    All camping and backcountry/recreational caving in the park has been suspended until further notice due to flood damage on backcountry roads and trails.

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.

Sept - May ~ Big Room Hours (for entry): 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

June - August ~ Big Room Hours (for entry): 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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.