Remember that when you leave this Earth, you can take with you nothing that you have received, only what you have given, a full heart enriched by honest service, love, sacrifice and courage. -St. Francis of Assisi

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Carlsbad Caverns National Park

March 9, 2012

When you are checking in at the Visitors Center, they ask if you want to walk down through the 'Natural Entrance' or take the elevator.  The walk is 750' down, one mile, with a lot of steep switchbacks and they say it takes an hour. You will end up in the "Big Room" to walk around for another 1 1/2 hours.

At first, I could not decide.
I sat on a bench thinking about it and
Then I went for it.......

I walked down, it took me about 45 minutes.

I did stop along the way to take pictures, but I was walking faster than others and passed some groups of people.  The signs say it is slippery, it was not today. There are handrails all the way down, the path is paved all the way down, looks like asphalt.

going down.....

still going down.....

I have been in many small caves where you walk on dirt, sand and rocks.  This cave is not like that at all.  The entire route of the self-guided tour is paved. You can even use a wheelchair or motorized scooter in parts of the cave.

You can sign up for some other tours that take you farther into the cave and there are caverns in this cave system that are not open to the public.

Although it amazing to be walking around underground, this is not a "pretty" cave. There are no crystals, it is mostly limestone.  I am not overly excited about caves, but I was passing by the area and I have a National Parks Pass, so it did not cost me anything to go through the cave. It was a good way to get my workout for the day.

I can't imagine walking through this cave on a busy summer day, with a lot of crowds.  Today was a good day to walk through the cave, there were not a lot of people around. I was told it would take one hour to walk down and 1 1/2 hours to complete the tour inside the cave. It took me a total of 1 1/2 hours for everything.

The walkway has handrails on both sides and it only wide enough for 2 people side by side. During a busy season, you would probably have to wait for slow moving people.  There are several wider areas with stone benches where it would be easier to pass others.

All in all, I was glad that I stopped here. I was glad that I decided to walk down, I think the walk down is more interesting than the other areas of the cave.

* * * * *
In May and June 2010, lightning ignited wildfires at both Carlsbad Caverns and Guadalupe Mountains National Parks.  The largest fire at Carlsbad Caverns National Park was the New Fire. It burned over 17,000 acres and had over 400 personnel assigned to the fire during the height of the fire.

As soon as I drove through the gates of the park, I could see evidence of this fire, all along the 7 mile road to the Visitors Center.


  1. You've got some interesting photos of the cave. Seems like they have done a lot to make it accessible. I'm glad I saw your pictures because I don't do caves LOL!!

  2. I've often wondered if we should make a real effort to get there to see the caves so I appreciate your post. Not sure I would like this one.

  3. My opinion of Carlsbad Caverns was much different than yours. I thought it was wonderful, and yes, I did the walk down. It was some years back, but was a most memorable occasion for me.

  4. Teri, don't miss the Living Desert State Park at the north side of Carlsbad.

  5. I don't do caves either. We have a man made one at the Desert Museum and its beautiful. Next winter I will try to do Kartchner but not sure if I can handle it. Nice pictures.

  6. Carlsbad is really over commercialized for a national park. Kartchner in southern AZ is highly decorated but is a State Park and very high priced for tours. You are making good time.

  7. My take was also different than yours. I loved it, but I like to go spelunking. Wet caves are my favorites so far. Wasn't too thrilled about the dry cave in Arizona probably because it was hot and dusty.

  8. I went to Carlsbad Caverns back in the 1980s and I remember it being more colorful. I was fascinated with the different colors. Maybe it was done with lights... I did enjoy it. I took the walk down and the elevator up.

  9. an elevator in a cave? strange is that!..nice pictures of the inside!!..

  10. Did you get to see the bats come out? That's the thing I really want to see at Carlsbad.


  11. I love Carlsbad and also White Sands. Keep on having fun!

  12. If we ever get there, I think I will also opt for the walk down. Thanks for the information.


Hi, I welcome your thoughts and comments.

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