Slaughter Canyon Cave Tour

Photo of the Mushroom cave formation in Slaughter Canyon Cave
Slaughter Canyon Cave is home to massive formations such as the Christmas Tree, the Monarch, and the Mushroom (pictured here).

NPS / Pam Cox

Slaughter Canyon Cave is a moderately strenuous adventure tour. This tour will take you into an underground wilderness without electricity, paved walkways, or modern conveniences. The cave trails are narrow, uneven, and very slippery. 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 the Slaughter Canyon Cave Tour. Make reservations by calling 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:
5.5 hours

When:
Check the tour schedule posted online.

Where:
The tour meets at the visitor center where you will caravan in your vehicle.

The strenuous half-mile hike up to the cave entrance takes 30-45 minutes.

Age Limit:
Minimum age is 8 years old. Anyone under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult.

Requirements:

  • You will receive a mandatory safety orientation before you venture into the cave.
  • Hiking boots or hiking shoes with good aggressive tread are required. Hiking boots with ankle support are recommended. Boots with zippers will not be permitted on the tour. No sandals, flip flops, tennis shoes, or similar. You will not be allowed to participate in the tour if you are not wearing proper footwear—no exceptions. Click for more details.
  • It is strongly recommended you bring water and snacks for the trail, as well as a hat and sunscreen.
  • Walking sticks, backpacks, fanny packs, bags, and similar items are allowed on the hiking trail to the cave entrance, but NOT allowed inside the cave. There is an area for safe storage of your personal items inside the cave.
  • The park will provide helmets, headlamps, and gloves. Due to the possibility of carrying the lethal fungus that causes White-nose Syndrome in bats, we do no allow anyone to use their own personal caving gear.

Maximum Group Size: 16

Note: Caving is inherently risky and cave rescues are difficult, dangerous, and take hours to accomplish.

Last updated: November 2, 2018

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

3225 National Parks Highway
Carlsbad, NM 88220

Phone:

(575) 785-2232

Contact Us