Visitor Center and Cavern Reopen

Icons showing to social distance, wear facing cover, wash hands often, and sneeze and cough into your elbow.

Following guidance from the White House, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and state and local public health authorities, Carlsbad Caverns National Park is increasing recreational access and services. The National Park Service (NPS) is working service-wide with federal, state, and local public health authorities to closely monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and using a phased approach to increase access on a park-by-park basis.

As of Tuesday, June 16, Carlsbad Caverns National Park has REOPENED the following:

  • Visitor Center
    Open from 8 am to 5 pm daily.

    For social distancing, entrance tickets to the cavern are limited to 575 visitors per day and available on a first-come, first-served basis at the visitor center. ARRIVE EARLYEntrance tickets have sold out by 9:30 am.

    Visitors will enter the cavern based on the time indicated on the entrance ticket. Entrance is setup to allow 25 visitors to enter the cavern every 15 minutes. The first cavern entry is at 8:30 am and the last entry at 2 pm. Last entrance ticket sold at 1:45 pm, but may sell out earlier based on first-come, first-served.

    Visitor center capacity has also been reduced and visitors may have to wait to enter the facility.

  • Cavern
    Open from 8:30 am to 2 pm daily.

    For social distancing, only one-way traffic will be permitted in the cavern. Visitors will enter the cavern by hiking the Natural Entrance Trail to the Big Room Trail and then exit by elevator.

  • Elevators
    Due to one-way traffic for social distancing, visitors may only use the elevators to exit the cavern. Due to the limited ability to social distance in elevators, it’s recommended that only one family or those traveling together per elevator.

The following areas continue to be OPEN:

  • All desert trails

  • All park roads

For the protection of the bats, the following area is CLOSED from 5 pm to 8 am each day:

  • Bat Flight Amphitheater.
    The bat flight can still be viewed from the east parking lot, past the visitor center, around sunset each evening. A ranger presented Bat Flight Program can be listened to by tuning to 99.5 FM. Click for current program time.

With public health in mind, the following are SUSPENDED at this time:

  • Ranger-guided tours

Limited food options are available at the Carlsbad Caverns Trading Company restaurant until 3 pm. Sandwiches and drinks may be available at the underground snack bar. Check at the restaurant or gift shop to confirm availability or call 575-785-2281.

The health and safety of our visitors, employees, volunteers, and partners continues to be paramount. At Carlsbad Caverns National Park, our operational approach will be to examine each facility function and service provided to ensure those operations comply with current public health guidance, and will be regularly monitored. We continue to work closely with the NPS Office of Public Health using CDC guidance to ensure public and workspaces are safe and clean for visitors, employees, partners, and volunteers.

While these areas are accessible for visitors to enjoy, a return to full operations will continue to be phased and services may be limited. When recreating, the public should follow local area health orders (cv.nmhealth.org/), practice Leave No Trace principles, avoid crowding, and avoid high-risk outdoor activities.

The CDC has offered guidance to help people recreating in parks and open spaces prevent the spread of infectious diseases. We will continue to monitor all park functions to ensure that visitors adhere to CDC guidance for mitigating risks associated with the transmission of COVID-19, and take any additional steps necessary to protect public health.

Details and updates on park operations will continue to be posted on our website www.nps.gov/cave and social media channels. Updates about NPS operations will be posted on www.nps.gov/coronavirus.

Frequently Asked Questions

Last updated: July 18, 2020

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

3225 National Parks Highway
Carlsbad, NM 88220

Phone:

(575) 785-2232

Contact Us