National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior

HDP banner
find a parknatureworking with communitiesget involvedteacherskidsabout us

Fly-through of Historic Carlsbad Caverns Stairs

A team from the HDP office, consisting of HABS architect Mark Schara, HAER architect Jeremy Mauro, HABS historian Lisa Davidson, and HAER photographer Jet Lowe, traveled to Carlsbad, New Mexico, 29-31 January 2013, to document the historic stairs in Carlsbad Caverns National Park.

Beginning in 1925, the newly-established park undertook the construction of a system of wooden staircasess in order to enable visitor access to the caverns. Within a decade, however, the park had begun the construction of a sequence of paved paths and switchback ramps as a more pedestrian-amenable replacement to the stairs, which were subsequently abandoned and eventually, for the most part, removed. The six flights of stairs documented by the HDP team, located on the east side of Iceberg Rock, are the last surviving portion of the original stair system.

Over the years the high humidity level in the caverns (close to 100%) has fostered the growth of mold on the stairs. The mold has caused the wood members to deteriorate, to the point that the stairs are no longer safe and have been condemned. Following the completion of the HABS documentation project, the stairs will be demolished. The project was sponsored by Carlsbad Caverns National Park.

This fly-through of the Carlsbad Caverns stairs is comprised of multiple individual scan stations using an HDR Pano Photo textured point cloud rendered in Pointools. The fly-through video animation was produced by Jeremy Mauro, HAER Architect.

Learn More...