Carlsbad Caverns National Park
Carlsbad Caverns National Park was established to preserve Carlsbad Cavern and numerous other caves within a Permian-age fossil reef. The park contains 83 separate caves, including the nation's deepest limestone cave -- 1,597 feet -- and third longest. Carlsbad Cavern, with one of the world's largest underground chambers and countless formations. It is also highly accessible, with a variety of tours offered year-round.
The evening flight of Mexican free-tailed bats (Tadarida brasiliensis mexicana) from the entrance of Carlsbad Cavern is one of the park's principal visitor attractions. Free-tailed bats are a colonial species that feed entirely on insects. The colony at Carlsbad is comprised primarily of females who give birth to their young from June through July before migrating south in October to winter in Mexico.
Seasons / Hours
The park is open year round except for December 25.
Rates & Fees
- Self-guided tours of the Natural Entrance and Big Room are $6 for adults; $3 for Golden Age/Golden Access Passport holders; $3 for children ages 6 through 15; children under age 6 are free. Golden Eagle Passports are not valid for cave entry fees.
- The "Cavern Guide", a stimulating audio tour of the two self-guided routes, is an additional $3.
- Kings Palace Guided Tours (minimum age 4 years) are an additional $8 for adults, and $4 for ages 6-15 and Golden Age Passport holders (reservations required).
- Guided tours of Slaughter Canyon Cave are $15 for adults, and $7.50 for ages 6-15 and Golden Age/Golden Access Passport holders.
- Guided wild cave tours of Spider Cave, Lower Cave, and Hall of the White Giant are $20 for adults, and $10 for ages 12-15 and Golden Age/Golden Access Passport holders.
- Guided tours of Left Hand Tunnel are $7 for adults and $3.50 for ages 6-15 and Golden Age/Golden Access Passport holders.
- Reservations are recommended for all guided cave tours, but are unnecessary for the basic self-guided tours of the Natural Entrance and Big Room. To make reservations for tours call 1.877.444.6777
Where to Stay
Summer Season (Memorial Day to mid-August): The Visitor Center is open from 8 am to 7 pm and self-guided cave tours are available from 8:30 am to 5 pm.
Rest of the Year: The Visitor Center is open from 8 am to 5:30 pm and self-guided cave tours are available from 8:30 am to 3:30 pm.
The Carlsbad Caverns - Guadalupe Mountains Association operates a large bookstore in the Visitor Center, with titles on caves, bats and the natural history of the Chihuahuan Desert. Information center, exhibits on bats, geology, history, and Lechuguilla Cave, limited picnic facilities are available.
Self-guided cave tours with the Official Cavern Guide, regularly scheduled ranger-guided cave tours, audio-visual programs, talks, hikes and demonstrations. Evening bat flight programs May through October. August 13: Bat Flight Breakfast Program.October 9-10: 75th Anniversary of Proclamation of Carlsbad Cave National Monument Program and Employee Reunion
The Cavern Supply Company (505-785-2281) provides food service, pet kennels,and a gift shop at the Visitor Center. Restaurants, groceries, and fuel are available at nearby Whites City and Carlsbad.
The visitor Center and a large section of the self-guided Big Room tour are wheelchair-accessible. An outdoor nature trail and picnic sites near the Visitor Center and at Rattlesnake Springs are also accessible. Special spaces to accommodate wheelchairs are located at the entrance to the amphitheater. Restrooms are available and are accessible.
Rules, Regulations, Precautions
- Pets are not allowed in the amphitheater area, on park trails or in the backcountry..
- Firearms and hunting are prohibited.
- Camping is allowed in designated wilderness areas only.
- There is no overnight vehicle or RV camping in the park.
- Driving off established roads is prohibited.
- Campfires are not permitted within the park.
- You must pack out of the backcountry all trash.
- Do not leave valuables in your vehicle.
- Entering backcountry caves without written permission of the superintendent is prohibited.
- Horse use is permitted only in designated areas.
- Collecting, destroying, or defacing any cultural feature, mineral, plant, or wildlife is prohibited.
- Flash photography is not permitted at all bat flights as it will disturb bats exiting and re-entering an important maternity roost.
3225 National Parks Highway
Carlsbad, NM 88220
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Carlsbad Caverns National Park The park's most famous cave, Carlsbad Cavern, is over 1,000 feet deep and currently contains 30 miles of mapped passages. The Big Room of Carlsbad Cavern is the largest underground chamber in the United States. View formations of stalagmites, stalactites, and columns in this video. You will also see the evening flight of Mexican free-tailed bats from the entrance of the Cavern.
The Secret World of Bats DVD is enlightening, entertaining, and most of all, an astounding revelation of the role of bats in ecosystems all over the world, including your own backyard. A DVD that you'll want to share with your friends and family.
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The Carlsbad Caverns DVD See King's Palace, Queen's Chamber, Papoose Room, Green Lake Room, the Big Room and the evening bat flight. Learn of Carlsbad's early explorers, like Jim White, with old-time footage and historical photographs. As a bonus, take a whirlwind tour of nearby Guadalupe Mountains National. Park.61 min. - plays worldwide, NTSC