• 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.


    The park is closing early today, at 1:00 p.m. (9-12-14) due to potential flash road flooding. Please check our general information line for updates for the weekend at 575/785-2232.

Slaughter Canyon Cave Tour

Among the things you'll see in this well-decorated backcountry cave is evidence of past guano mining.
Among the things you'll see in this well-decorated backcountry cave is evidence of past guano mining.
NPS Photo by Peter Jones.
Slaughter Canyon Cave is a strenuous adventure tour. Ranger-guided tours of Slaughter Canyon Cave take you into an underground wilderness without electricity, paved walkways, or modern conveniences. In this wild cave, darkness is broken only by the flashlights and headlamps of rangers and tour members. Highlights of the tour may include the 89-foot high Monarch, one of the world's tallest columns; the Christmas Tree, a sparkling, crystal-decorated column; and the Chinese Wall, a delicate, ankle-high rimstone dam. Old bat guano mining excavations attest to the human history and impact in the cave.

Reservations are required for Slaughter Canyon Cave. Make reservations by calling 1.877.444.6777 or visit Recreation.gov.

Cost: Tickets are $15.00 for adults and $7.50 for children, Senior and Access Pass holders.

Duration: 5 1/2 hours (8:30 am - 2 pm)

When: 8:30 a.m. Friday (not offered in November, December)

Where: The tour meets at the VISITOR CENTER.

*Participants will caravan to the cave after a brief orientation. Carpooling is encouraged.

The strenuous half-mile hike to the cavern entrance takes 30 to 45 minutes. The cave trails are narrow, uneven, and very slippery.

Requirements: Three (3) AA batteries.

Sturdy hiking shoes, drinking water, sunscreen and a hat are recommended.

Walking sticks are allowed on the hiking trail to the cave entrance, however, NOT allowed inside the cave.

All tour participants must be age 8 or older. Anyone under 16 must be accompanied by an adult.

In an effort to prevent White-Nose Syndrome at Carlsbad Caverns National Park, tour participants will NOT be allowed to enter cave areas with shoes, clothing, and/or equipment until they have been screened and decontaminated.

Did You Know?

Lake Chandelier in Lechuguilla Cave in Carlsbad Caverns National Park.

Scientists are studying "extremophile" microbes in the highly protected and almost pristine Lechuguilla Cave that are leading scientists towards generating a possible cure for cancer.