All caves are closed for visitor safety and resource protection until further notice.
Lava tube caves await your careful exploration with their fascinating geology, hidden ice formations, sun gardens, and elusive bat residents. The only requirements to explore these underground ecosystems are a free caving permit and proper equipment. Cave access varies throughout the year, so always check any park alerts before your visit and speak with a park ranger for the most recent updates.
Five caves are open to the public for cave exploration. Junction Cave and Xenolith Cave (pronounced ZHEE-no-LITH) are available at the El Calderon Area. Big Skylight, Giant Ice, and Four Windows Caves are available at the Big Tubes Area.
Caving Permit Information
A free caving permit may be obtained in person at the El Malpais Visitor Center and at the El Morro Visitor Center. Permits are valid for up to seven days after the date it is issued.
The first step of bat etiquette while caving is if you see a bat, leave it alone. Do not shine lights directly on it, do not touch it, and do your best not to wake it up. If the bat starts to move because of your continued activity, quietly exit the cave. If a bat begins to or is already flying around, quietly make your way back to the mouth of the cave as soon as you can.
Last updated: October 4, 2020