Cave Tours

Travel by candlelight on the Left Hand Tunnel Tour.

NPS Photo by Peter Jones.

  • The cavern climate is cool and averages about 56°F (13°C) year-round. You may want to bring a light jacket or sweater. Comfortable, rubber-soled shoes with good traction are appropriate.
  • You may carry plain water with you, but no food, gum, shelled sunflower seeds, or tobacco/vapor products of any kind are permitted.
  • You may take pictures and use flash. Tripods are permitted on self-guided tours only.
  • Use of drones in the cavern is strictly prohibited.
  • If you'd like to bring a flashlight, that's perfectly fine--you might see things you would not normally see!
  • Anyone under 16 must be accompanied by an adult 18 years of age or older.
  • Strollers: Strollers, baby carriages, and similar devices are prohibited in all caves except as necessary for children with mobility issues within the wheelchair-designated portions of the Big Room of Carlsbad Cavern.
  • Segways: Segways and similar large mobility devices are prohibited in all caves. Cave conditions pose an unacceptable hazard to the safety of the operators of such devices; due to narrow trails, cave ceiling variations, and steep inclines.
  • Wheelchairs and Devices That Aid Walking: Wheelchairs, walkers, scooters, and similar devices are permitted within the wheelchair-designated portions of the Big Room only. They are not allowed on the Natural Entrance Trail due to the steep grade, any other areas of the cavern, or other caves.
  • Canes/Walking Aides: The possession and/or use of a recreational walking stick within the cavern is prohibited. Visitors with limited mobility in medical need of walking assistance are permitted to use walking sticks on the paved trail and are required to have a rubber or soft tip.

Please note: If you have been in any cave in the past 10 years with the same shoes/ equipment you are bringing to Carlsbad Caverns, we will be asked to clean your items to protect our bats from the spread of a highly contagious and fatal bat fungus (White-nose Syndrome). For more information about the disease and park policies, click here.

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There are two ways to see the cavern:

1. Self-Guided Tours (at your own pace)

Self-guided tours consists of two choices: The first choice is to walk down the 1.25 mile (2 km) Natural Entrance Trail, 750 feet (229 m) into the cavern. The trail is a steep, asphalt, switchback route that winds down into the Big Room. This trail is not recommended for those with heart or respiratory issues.

The second self-guided tour is walking in the "Big Room," another 1.25 mile (2 km) path that takes you through a very large cave chamber. You may access the Big Room by walking down the Natural Entrance or taking the elevator into the cavern.

Entrance tickets are not sold in advance for self-guided tours. You must purchase entrance tickets at the visitor center upon your arrival. Entrance tickets are good for three days, but do not include guided or other special tours. More...

2. Ranger-Guided Tours

Reservations are highly recommended for all guided cave tours and require 48 hours advance notice by calling 877.444.6777 or An entrance ticket is required in addition to the guided tour fee for King's Palace, Left Hand Tunnel, Hall of the White Giant, Lower, Spider, and Slaughter Canyon caves. Please pick up your ticket at the visitor center 30 minutes prior to your tour. Note: Children under 4 years old are not permitted on any of the guided tours offered at Carlsbad Caverns. Minimum age requirements differ for each tour. More...

Last updated: December 8, 2017

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3225 National Parks Highway
Carlsbad, NM 88220


(575) 785-2232

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