Lower Cave Tour

Photo of the Texas Toothpick in Lower Cave.
The Texas Toothpick is one of many formations you'll see on the Lower Cave Tour in Carlsbad Cavern.

NPS/Peter Jones

In 1924, National Geographic expedition members wrote about the wonders of Lower Cave. Visitors today can see the evidence left behind from those and other explorers. Highlights of this tour include "The Rookery," with countless nests of cave pearls, the "Colonel Boles Formation," and an incredible diversity of cave formations that compete for your attention everywhere you look. Included in the tour is a descent of sixty feet of ladders and a knotted rope to hang onto as you slowly walk backward down a slope at the tour entrance.

Reservations are required for the Lower Cave tour. To make reservations call 877-444-6777 or visit Recreation.gov.

Cost: $20 for adults and $10 for children, Senior and Access Pass holders. Tour participants must also purchase an entrance fee ticket.

Duration: 3 hours

When: Check tour schedule chart for tour times throughout the year.

Where: Tour departs from the visitor center theater.You will receive an orientation before you venture into the cave.


Ages 12 and over. Anyone under 16 must be accompanied by an adult. Participants must be able to safely negotiate cave passages containing fragile formations without harm to the cave, themselves, or others.

Closed-toed shoes or hiking boots required. For safety, sandals, flip flops, or similar shoes are not permitted.

Backpacks, fanny packs, bags, and similar items are NOT allowed on this tour for safety and to protect the cave formations.

Please bring three AA batteries.

The park will provide helmets with lights and gloves.

Maximum Group Size: 12

Last updated: June 8, 2018

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

3225 National Parks Highway
Carlsbad, NM 88220


(575) 785-2232

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