Will Rogers quote about Carlsbad CavernsLocated in southeastern New Mexico, in the Chihuahuan Desert, Carlsbad Cavern is an immense subterranean wonder. Recognized as a National Monument in 1923, a National Park in 1930, and as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1995, the extensive network of caves attracts 40 million visitors yearly. Will Rogers aptly described Carlsbad Cavern as the “Grand Canyon with a roof on it.”

The park above ground covers 73 square miles, protecting 119 caves (so far) beneath the surface. Though the caverns have been explored for over a century, with forty miles of passages and caverns surveyed, scientists continue to find new rooms and passages. The total length of the caverns is unknown. No one knows how many caves there are or how deep the caverns descend into the earth.

From 1923-1932, visitors to the caverns had to walk 750-feet below the surface on a switchback ramp, returning on the same path. Before that, access involved going down on a rope, in a bat guano bucket, making any other form of access more appealing. Regardless, walking back out was too much for many of the visitors so the national park service opened a large visitor center with two elevators to shuttle visitors in and out of the caverns in 1933. They dug the tunnels for the elevators from the top and bottom simultaneously, meeting in the middle, which was quite an engineering feat at the time. Early facilities included a cafeteria, waiting room, museum, and first aid area.

Today, visitors can hike to the Big Room from the natural entrance.The steep 1.25-mile, partially paved trail descends to the Big Room. Alternately, guests can take the elevator down to the Big Room from the visitor center. Most people who hike in take the elevator back to the surface.

The Big Room

The largest and most well known cave is the Big Room, aka The Hall of Giants, a 14-acre chamber that is 4000 feet long, 625 feet wide, and up to 255 feet high, with a 1.25-mile paved loop trail that takes about an 1-1.5 hours to complete. The trail gets wet and can be slippery and difficult to navigate. For folks with mobility issues, it would be a good idea to accompany someone who can help as needed.

The Big Room is the fifth largest chamber in North America and the 28th largest in the world. With a floor space of 357,469 square feet, the Big Room features thousands of rock formations and delicate sculptures, including columns, helictites, cave bacon and popcorn, tubes, spires, fossils, ribbons, drapes, curtains, stalagmites, stalactites, totem poles, flowstone, soda straws, and more.

Tip: There is a shortcut on the Big Room Trail which shortens the hike to 45 minutes.

The Exploration Continues

Carlsbad Caverns is one of the few National Parks in the country where park staff can reliably expect to discover something new and extraordinary periodically. Exploration and research is ongoing.

Cave exploration can’t be done with satellites or GPS. It generally requires the traditional approach…humans who are willing squirm through very tight spaces in the dark. However, ingenuity and determination have also led to new discoveries.

In 1985, after years of failed attempts, Jim Goodbar and Mike Queen used helium-filled balloons and a balsa wood loop to attach a rope to a stalactite at the top of the Big Room, climbing it to explore a previously inaccessible part of the cave. They discovered two new rooms, naming them the Spirit World and the Balloon Ballroom.

Lechugilla Cave

Lechugilla Cave is one of the crown jewels of the cavern, discovered in 1984. Access is limited to scientific expeditions to protect it. Research is ongoing. Located on the northern border of the park, the cave is known for its delicate, awe-inspiring formations and pristine environment, including geologic treasures, like underwater formations that are unique to Lechugilla. Some of the rooms are over 500 feet tall according to Live Science. Scientists also discovered antibiotic-resistant bacteria, which suggests that antibiotic resistance is ancient and widespread in bacteria. Congress passed legislation in 1993 to establish a 10-square mile protection zone around the cave.

As of today, 150 miles of passages and rooms have been explored and mapped to a depth of over 1600 feet, making Lechugilla the second deepest limestone cave in the U.S. and the 8th longest explored cave in the world. That could change, because research and mapping is ongoing, with more amazing discoveries to come.

More Caves & Passages

Several more areas of the cavern have been explored in the years since, including a mile long series of small passages in the ceiling of the New Mexico Room, later named “Chocolate High.

A cave tech exploring the Spirit World area discovered a new chamber hundreds of feet up from the main area on October 31, 2013. Named “Halloween Hall” based on the date of discovery, the chamber’s diameter is about 100 feet, with more than 1,000 bat bones discovered in the room.

A team of female explorers squeezed through a tiny passageway in the fourth-largest room, the Mystery Room, to discover never-before-surveyed areas of the cavern in 2018. Calling themselves the Twisted Sisters, they have left their mark by adding names to the map of the Cavern, like the Tomb of the Sky Bears, Ladies’ Lament, and Wriggler’s Relief. They also mapped the second-deepest part of Carlsbad Cavern, Lake of Muddy Misery, which is only 13 feet higher than Lake of the Clouds, another fasination room in the cave system.

History of Carlsbad Cavern

Pictographs near the entrance to Carlsbad Cavern provide evidence that Native Americans knew of the site 14,000+ years ago, but it wasn’t until the 1880s that nearby settlers rediscovered the location.

Guano mining occurred in the pit below the entrance in the 1910s for shipment to the citrus groves of southern California. Guano is a potent fertilizer. One of the guano miners, James White, claims to have discovered the cavern. He was certainly one of the first tour guides, leading cave tours lit by kerosene lanterns. Visitors were lowered 170-feet into the cavern in giant bat guano buckets. He also led early scientific expeditions into the caves, including a major expedition conducted for the U.S. Geological Survey in 1924, one year after Carlsbad Cavern was recognized as a National Monument.

Jim White’s Story

Jim White discovered the cavern accidentally. He was riding his horse across the Chihuahuan Desert in 1898 around dusk when he saw what looked like thick, dark smoke in the distance. He rode towards it to investigate. The plume of smoke turned out to be thousands of bats emerging from the gaping mouth of a large cave.

Jim decided to explore, creeping along ledges, shimmying past numerous yawning portals, in awe of the geological features that looked like the bowels of the earth were melting. His initial sojourn into the cavern was cut short when his kerosene lamp ran out of fuel, leaving him to find the refill in pitch black darkness. However, that first glimpse was just the beginning and he returned to the cave with a friend, known only as “pothead”, to try to map the cave over the course of three days. Their resources were limited: food, water, homemade torches, rope, wire, a hatchet, and some string. Despite rudimentary tools, they found the massive chamber known today as “The Big Room,” amazed at the size, variety, and density of formations.

That first attempt to map the cavern was followed by many more. In fact, White named many of the rooms, including the Big Room, New Mexico Room, Kings Palace, Queens Chamber, Papoose Room, and Green Lake Room. He also named many of the cave’s more prominent formations, like the Totem Pole, Witch’s Finger, Giant Dome, Bottomless Pit, Fairyland, Iceberg Rock, Temple of the Sun, and Rock of Ages.

Geology of Carlsbad Cavern

About 250-265 million years ago, during the Permian period, a shallow sea covered southeastern New Mexico. There was a massive, horseshoe-shaped limestone reef near the shore, the Capitan Reef, which covered a swath of southeastern New Mexico and west Texas. The sea evaporated and the reef was buried under thousands of feet of sediment, laying the building blocks for what would eventually become the Guadalupe Mountains and Carlsbad Cavern.

Flash forward to the Neogene Period, about 15-20 million years ago. Intense earthquakes and volcanoes created the landscapes that we love today; including the Colorado Plateau uplift, the Rio Grande rift zone, and the enormous Basin and Range Province, which encompasses much of the inland Western United States and extends into northwestern Mexico. The Guadalupe Mountains formed during the Neogene period of uplift.

Acidic Artistry

Most caves form when carbonic acid dissolves limestone. Carbonic acid forms when carbon dioxide emitted by plant roots mix with groundwater. However, the gypsum deposits in Carlsbad Cavern indicate that sulfuric acid is responsible for the magnificent collection of caves in the Guadalupe Mountains, because gypsum is created by a reaction between sulfuric acid and limestone.

Where did the sulfuric acid come from? Rich petroleum reserves characterize the Permian Basin. The deposits are deep in the ground, below the limestone of the Capitan Reef. Hydrogen sulfide gas is plentiful in petroleum-rich rock. As the gas migrated towards the surface, it was oxidized by groundwater, creating sulfuric acid. The acid seeped into cracks and fissures in the limestone, dissolving the rock to carve a honeycomb of chambers and passages. The sulfuric acid gradually drained from the caves and passages. Once the caves were dry, and relatively empty, enormous formations, known as speleothems, began to form. The word speleothem, derived from Greek, literally means “cave deposits,” which encompasses stalagmites, stalactites, and a host of other delicate and surreal stone sculptures. The impressive variety of speleothems in Carlsbad Cavern make it one of the most magnificent cave systems in the world.

Carlsbad Caverns
Photo: Marc Jones


Erosion above ground eventually led to the collapse of a cave near the surface, creating the natural entrance to the cavern. As water from rain and snowmelt seeped into the limestone chambers, it picked up carbon dioxide emitted from the roots of plants. The mineral rich droplets of water left trace deposits of calcium carbonate behind. Over thousands of years, these deposits formed stalactites that hang from the ceilings of the cavern like hundreds of fangs, usually with sharp, pointed tips. The water droplets that fell to the floor of the caves also left mineral deposits that accumulated, eventually forming stalagmites, which usually have rounded or flattened peaks. To make the distinction easy, think of the “c” in stalactites as “ceiling” and the “g” in stalagmites as “ground.”

Towering columns formed over thousands of years, as stalagmites and stalactites fused, with some columns over 60-feet tall in Carlsbad Cavern. However, you can’t determine the age of a formation based on the size. The growth rate varies based on environmental factors, like air temperature and rainfall, because higher temperatures increase carbon dioxide levels in the soil.

The various colors of the speleothems in Carlsbad Cavern are based on the trace minerals in the water. Regardless of individual ages, these formations take shape over thousands of years. They are delicate, easily damaged by the natural oils in our skin, and easily broken. If you want to protect the Carlsbad Cavern for future generations, do not touch the speleothems.


Carlsbad Cavern National Park

727 Carlsbad Cavern Highway
Carlsbad, New Mexico 88220
(877) 444-6777

Carlsbad Cavern has two entries in the National Registrar of Historic Places — the Rattlesnake Springs Historic District above ground and the Cavern Historic District below ground. The Visitor Center features exhibits about the cavern’s history and the park’s wildlife. Carlsbad Cavern Trading Company has a gift shop, cafeteria, and a bookstore at the surface, as well as snacks and gift service in the underground lunchroom.

Budget a day to explore the cavern and another half day if you are planning to visit other sites in the area, like Living Desert State Park or Sitting Bull Falls Recreation Area (more info below). Most visitors will only need 3-4 hours to complete the self-guided tour through the cavern. Photographers and geology enthusiasts may need more time, but 5-6 hours is probably standard for most guests.

Mailing Address
3225 National Parks Highway
Carlsbad , NM 88220
(575) 785-2232

Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce
302 South Canal Street
Carlsbad, New Mexico 88220
(866) 822-9226

Bat Flight Information
(575) 236-1374


20 miles southwest of Carlsbad and 145 miles northeast of El Paso, Texas. Take US Hwy 62 to White’s City, then follow Carlsbad Cavern Highway 7 miles to the visitor center.

Slaughter Canyon: Turn west on County Road 418, which is about 5 miles south of Whites City. Drive 11 miles on the partially paved road to the parking lot.

Carlsbad Cavern Map (pdf file)

Carlsbad Caverns
Photo: Marc Jones




The Visitor Center is open from 8 AM – 7 PM. The Cave is open from 8:30 AM – 5 PM. Last entrance tickets sold at 2:15 PM. Visitors are not allowed to hike down from the natural entrance after 2:30 PM. Elevator access runs until 3:30 PM. Hikers have to exit the cave by 3:30. Guests exiting via the elevators have to exit by 4:45.

The main cavern gets crowded in the summer months and on major holiday weekends, though summer is the best time to watch the bat flight. The park is less crowded during the winter months and the topside temperatures are much more pleasant.

The park offers free admission on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the first day of National Park Week, in August on the anniversary of the Great American Outdoors Act, in September for National Public Lands Day, and on Veterans Day. The Visitor Center and cavern are closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day.

Carlsbad Caverns
Photo: Marc Jones

FYI: Carlsbad Cavern is close to the edge of a time zone so your cell phone may experience some schizophrenia. If you happen to show up at the wrong time due to time zone tech glitch, you will arrive an hour earlier than you intended.


There is no fee to enter the park. The only fees are the Cave Entrance Fee and fees for guided tours. If you have an America the Beautiful Annual Pass, which costs $80 for most adults, you can enter for free. Ranger-led tours cost extra, usually between $7-$20 for adults and $3.50-$10 for children, seniors, and pass holders.

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, all visitors must make reservations for timed entry into Carlsbad Cavern. The entry times are based on a 60-minute window beginning with the start time that you select. For example, 8:30 AM reservations need to enter the cave between 8:30-9:30 AM. However, there is no time limit once you enter the cavern.

Reservations are available 30 days in advance and up to 48-hours before the tour date, but they cannot be made at the park. Book online or call (877) 444-6777 to make reservations. Confirmation emails for self-guided tours must be presented upon arrival. However, the cell phone coverage is sketchy. Save the confirmation email to your phone or print it out. There are no refunds for Self-Guided Tour reservations.

Individual – $15 per Adult (16+), $80 Inter-agency Annual Pass, free for children ages 15 and under.

Carlsbad Caverns
Photo: Marc Jones
Recommended Attire, Equipment, Etc.

Wear comfortable, closed-toe walking shoes with good traction and consider bringing a light jacket or sweater as the year-round temperature in the cave is 56ºF and it always feels damp. You can bring a flashlight or headlamp, though you don’t really need it for the self-guided tour, because the cavern is dimly lit. Don’t leave valuables in your vehicle.

Photographers should bring back up batteries and/or a power bank. There’s lots of photo fodder to fill up your SD card. Tripods are handy on the self-guided tours, but they aren’t allowed on the guided tours.

  • To prevent littering and cave contamination, Carlsbad Cavern does not allow eating, drinking, smoking or vaping in the cavern. They will let you take plain water in. Food and beverages can be consumed in the underground snack bar or above ground.
  • Baby strollers are not permitted in the cavern.
  • Hiking poles are not permitted in the cave.
  • Photography, including using a flash, is allowed in the cavern; however, flash photography is not allowed during the Bat Flight Program. It disturbs the bats.
  • The use of drones is prohibited within Carlsbad Cavern National Park.
  • Firearms and hunting are prohibited.
  • Camping is allowed in designated wilderness areas only. You need a permit from the visitor center for backcountry camping.
  • There is no overnight vehicle or RV camping in the park.
  • Driving off established roads is prohibited.
  • Campfires are not permitted within the park.
  • Entering backcountry caves without written permission is prohibited.
  • Horses are only allowed in designated areas.
  • Collecting, destroying, or defacing any cultural feature, mineral, plant, or wildlife is prohibited.
  • White-Nose Syndrome is killing bats in North America. To prevent it from spreading to the bats in the cavern, do not wear shoes, clothing, or bring any gear into any cave at Carlsbad Cavern National Park that were in another cave. All visitors who enter the cavern are required to walk on bio-cleaning mats after exiting.
Carlsbad Caverns
Photo: Marc Jones

Pets are not allowed in the cavern or on any of the trails throughout the park. However, service dogs are permitted in the Bat Flight Amphitheater and the Big Room, as well as on the Natural Entrance trail and the King’s Palace tour.

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, therapy or emotional support dogs are not considered service animals and the park will not permit them in the cavern. They don’t allow guests to leave pets unattended in a vehicle, which wouldn’t be safe anyway. The park provides kennels for $10 per day in an air-conditioned room, but pets aren’t attended so you will need to provide food and take your critter for a potty break before you drop them off. You are welcome to bring their bedding and toys.

If your pet is too anxious to leave in a kennel for a few hours, it would be wise to arrange for doggy daycare in Carlsbad.


Carlsbad Cavern National Park is located in the Chihuahuan Desert. Summers are hot with temperatures between 90°F and low 100s °F. Spring (March – May) is often windy, usually with pleasant, mild temperatures. Rain is common in the late summer/fall (August-September). It can get cold in the winter, with occasional snow and icy conditions; however, most of the year the skies are clear and sunny. The weather underground is a constant 56°F with about 90% humidity.

Flora & Fauna in the Park

Despite its location in the arid Chihuahuan Desert, Carlsbad Cavern National Park supports a remarkably diverse variety of plant and animal species, including some that are unique to the park. The native flora includes yucca, ocotillo, Texas black walnut, and desert willow.

According to the National Park Service, there are 67 species of mammals found at the park, including 17 species of bats (3 species of free tailed bats), 2 types of foxes, raccoons, javelina, mule deer, coyotes, mountain lions, bobcats, ringtail cats, and more. There are 357 bird species, as well as 55 reptile and amphibian species, including 3 species of rattlesnake, a gecko, and 8 species of horned or spiny lizards. There are only 5 known species of fish found in the limited water sources around the park, but they have documented 600 species of insect, with new ones being discovered regularly.

Carlsbad Cavern
Photo: Marc Jones

Ranger-Led Cave Tours | Temporarily suspended due to Covid

Treat your inner geology geek to one of the many ranger-led cave tours. The guided tours provide fantastic opportunities to explore the cavern beyond the 3 miles set aside for visitors. Gloves, knee and elbow pads will be provided if crawling is required on the tour. They Park Service provides required equipment to minimize the risk of transferring White-Nose Syndrome from another cave. Children under the age of 4 are not permitted on the ranger-guided tours. Other age limits may apply depending on the tour.

Availability is limited. Reserve early. All tour tickets must be picked up at the visitor center at least 30 minutes prior to the tour. A general entrance ticket is required in addition to the guided tour fee for King’s Palace, Left Hand Tunnel, Hall of the White Giant, Lower, Spider, and Slaughter Canyon caves. You can pick up ticket at the visitor center 30-minutes prior to the tour.

Left Hand Tunnel Tours

Rangers guide guests on a primitive, unpaved trail in an undeveloped portion of the cave. This is a great tour for folks who want to explore more rugged areas of the cavern and have an experience akin to the original explorers. Candle-lit lanterns are provided.

Hall of the White Giant

This is a 4-hour tour. The Hall of the White Giant is spacious, but the trek to get there involves trekking up steep slopes and wriggling through narrow passages.

King’s Palace

At 830 feet below the surface, the King’s Palace is located at the deepest point of the cavern open to the public. It contains more stalactites and stalagmites than any other part of the cavern, making it a visual smorgasbord for geology enthusiasts. The tour takes about 1.5 hours and goes through four chambers, including the Green Lake chamber, named for a shallow, vibrant green pool of water in the middle of the room.

Slaughter Canyon Tours

Slaughter Canyon is a few miles from the main cavern. Access to the cave is prohibited unless you accompany a park ranger on one of the guided tours. The tour includes a scenic hike to the cave opening. The trail passes several interesting formations, including the Monarch, one of the world’s tallest columns at 89-feet (27-meters) and a rimstone dam formed by the accumulation of calcium carbonate, one of the major building blocks of the geologic magic below ground. The Slaughter Canyon Cave contains some of the most unusual geologic formations in the park.

This tour involves a 5.3 mile hike round trip to the cave, as well as a 1-mile in and out trail inside the cave.

Spider Cave

Rangers guide visitors through a maze of tunnels, where guests climb and crawl through undeveloped parts of the cavern amidst spectacular formations.

Star Walks, Moon Hikes and Star Parties

The park offers four star gazing opportunities for visitors during the summer months. Astronomers set up telescopes to allow guests to observe planets and star clusters. The program starts after the evening bat flight. Check their website for dates, times, and details.

Carlsbad Cavern
Photo: Marc Jones
Carlsbad Cavern Bat Flight Program

The bat flight program is available from April through mid-October. In total, 17 species of bats have been documented at the park. The most common species is the Mexican free-tailed bats. Up to 400,000 bats emerge as a group from the cavern at dusk to feed on insects. They return to the cave between 4-6 AM. Once a year, the park hosts a bat breakfast, where guests can eat breakfast and watch the bats return to the cavern.

400,000 may seem like a lot of bats, but the population was much larger in the 1930s, with some estimates as high as 8.7 million. DDT use in the U.S. and Mexico has been linked to the drastic decrease in population. The bat colony at Carlsbad Cavern is comprised primarily of females. They give birth from June through July before migrating south in October to winter in Mexico.

Guests can view the bat flight from the amphitheater outside the natural cave entrance. The nightly program includes a presentation by one of the park rangers. The start time varies based on sunset and seating is first-come, first-serve. No electronic devices are allowed at the program, including cameras, cell phones, or laptops, because the electronics disturb the bats. The best bat flights occur August – September, when the baby bats, born in early summer, join the flight. To check program times, call the park at (575) 785-3012.


There are no campgrounds at Carlsbad Cavern. However, the park allows primitive backcountry camping. You can get a free permit from the Visitor Center. There are additional camping resources nearby.

Above Ground Adventures

Please be respectful of the park. This is an incredibly delicate ecosystem so it is vital to leave no trace. Keep to the trails, dispose of waste properly, and pick up any litter you happen to see (because there will always be humans who ignore this sort of plea).


Most of the trails are marked by rock cairns (rocks piled or stacked into a noticeable heap). A topographic map or GPS might be useful for longer, more remote areas.

  1. Walnut Canyon Overlook (0.1 mi out-and-back, Easy)
  2. Chihuahuan Desert Nature Trail (0.5 mi loop, Easy)
  3. Old Guano Road (3.7 mi out-and-back, Easy)
    A century ago, the Carlsbad Cavern supported a thriving guano mining industry. Guano was hauled out via the Old Guano Road. The road is now a hiking trail, but there are still some ruins, which provide a great opportunity to learn more about the early history of the park.
  4. Juniper Ridge Trail (1.9 mi out-and-back, Easy)
  5. Lower Rattlesnake Canyon (3 mi, Moderate)
  6. Upper Rattlesnake Canyon to Guadalupe Ridge Loop (6 mi loop, Moderate)
  7. Ussery Trail (17.2 mi out-and-back, Moderate)
  8. Big Canyon Trail (3.1 mi out-and-back, Moderate)
  9. Slaughter Canyon (5.3 mi, Challenging)
  10. Yucca Canyon (7.7 mi, Challenging)
  11. Guadalupe Ridge Trail (100 mi point-to-point, Challenging)
    This trail runs from Carlsbad Cavern National Park’s eastern boundary in White’s City, traversing spectacular desert and mountain landscapes before ending at the summit of Guadalupe Peak, the highest mountain in Texas.
Scenic Drive

Walnut Canyon Desert Drive | 9.5-mile gravel loop road that runs along the rim of Rattlesnake Canyon. Low traffic, even during the busy summer months. Great route to catch glimpses of local wildlife, like deer, pronghorn, hawks, coyotes, and javelina. At sunrise and sunset the lights plays off the canyon walls, providing outstanding photo opportunities. The park does not permit low-clearance vehicles, RVs or trailers on this road.

Amenities in Carlsbad

Photo: Marc Jones

Carlsbad’s economy relies heavily on the oil deposits of the Permian basin. As a result, housing is in demand, making lodging more expensive than many other small communities in southern New Mexico. However, you will be able to find everything you may need in Carlsbad: food, groceries, gas, dining, lodging, automotive service, cell phone reception, decent wi-fi, etc.


Carlsbad Museum | Free Admission
418 W Fox St
Carlsbad, NM 88220
(575) 887-0276

Blue House cafe in Carlsbad New Mexico
Photo: Marc Jones

Additional Attractions Nearby


The caverns became a National Monument in 1923, accompanied by a flurry of construction to build facilities for visitors and staff. Work crew built mess halls, dorms, powerhouses, etc. in mostly Pueblo or Territorial style. Though they dismantled several buildings over the years,a few remain within the Caverns Historic District. It’s a fun stop for photographers who enjoy shooting architectural history.


Rattlesnake Springs Historic District surrounds a spring that creates an oasis. William Henry Harrison homesteaded the area in 1880. He established a ditch system to irrigate the property. It is still there, providing precious water to the surrounding landscape and wildlife. When Harrison died in 1930, the National Park Service acquired the property as a water resource for the Carlsbad Cavern, which is about 6 miles northwest of Rattlesnake Springs. The Park Service, with muscle from the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), removed most of the homestead structures, but they continued to landscape the area, establishing a CCC camp onsite.

Several years later, during World War II, the park used the CCC camp as a recreation center for military personnel. The Rattlesnake Springs district was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on July 14, 1988. Notable structures include the 1940 Ranger’s Residence and the 1933 Pump House.

The area is noted for the number of bird species it supports in the otherwise arid Chihuahuan Desert. Over 300 species have been recorded. To put that in perspective, consider that about 500 bird species have been recorded in the state of New Mexico. The National Audubon Society recognized the area as an Important Bird Area (IBA). They also designated the natural cavern entrance as an IBA due to a colony of cave swallows that may be the largest in the world.


Dedicated to Carlsbad resident Frank A. Kindel, who died in a 1963 plane crash while volunteering as a paperboy, dropping off newspapers to hunters in the Guadalupe Mountains. Mr. Kindel was a member of the Carlsbad City Council, a director for the Chamber of Commerce, and an avid promoter of Carlsbad Cavern. The plaque and monument pay tribute to a man known as “Mr. Welcome” in Carlsbad.


Located about an hour from Carlsbad there is a hidden oasis in the hills, where spring-fed waterfalls flow year-round. It’s a great place for a picnic, BBQ, or a swim on a hot summer day.


$5 entrance fee. Great place to learn more about the plant life and critters in the region.


Loads of hiking trails and beautiful scenery. Approximately 40 minutes west of Carlsbad Cavern Park, on the Texas side of the border.

Pecos River in Carlsbad
Pecos River | Photo by Marc Jones

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