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Carlsbad Caverns

145 mi NE of El Paso, TX




46,766 acres


440,691 in 2019


Carlsbad Caverns National Park, located in southeastern New Mexico, is a subterranean wonderland renowned for its vast underground chambers, intricate limestone formations, and awe-inspiring caverns. The park's centerpiece, Carlsbad Cavern, features an extensive network of caverns adorned with stalactites, stalagmites, columns, and draperies, creating a surreal landscape unlike any other. Visitors can explore the caverns via self-guided or ranger-led tours, marveling at the sheer size and beauty of these underground marvels. Above ground, the park's desert landscape provides habitat for a variety of wildlife, including mule deer, bats, and a diverse array of bird species. Carlsbad Caverns National Park offers a unique blend of geological wonders and natural beauty, making it a must-visit destination for adventurers and nature enthusiasts alike.


Carlsbad Caverns National Park, while renowned for its breathtaking underground wonders, also boasts a diverse array of wildlife thriving in its above-ground desert ecosystem. Visitors to the park may encounter mammals such as mule deer, coyotes, and foxes roaming the rugged terrain, while birdwatchers can spot a variety of avian species, including roadrunners, hawks, and numerous migratory birds. One of the park's most notable inhabitants is its bat population, with several species calling the caverns home. Each evening, from spring to fall, thousands of bats emerge from the caverns in a spectacular display of nature's splendor. Additionally, the park is home to reptiles such as lizards and snakes, as well as insects and other small creatures adapted to the desert environment. Exploring Carlsbad Caverns National Park offers not only a glimpse into its stunning geological formations but also an opportunity to appreciate the resilience and diversity of its wildlife.

Sounds of the Park

Things to Do

Visitors to Carlsbad Caverns National Park can enjoy exploring the cave, or above ground, hiking, stargazing, or bat watching. Note that timed entry permits are required to enter the cavern, and reservations are strongly recommended.

When to Visit

Carlsbad Caverns National Park has a semi-arid climate with hot summers, mild winters, and relatively scant precipitation year-round. The transitional seasons of spring (March-May) and fall (September-November) present pleasantly warm weather and are an ideal time to visit, though the park may be more crowded than in other times of the year. To avoid crowds, consider visiting in the middle of the week rather than the weekend, and plan your visit well in advance.

Ties to Stephen Mather

Carlsbad Cave National Monument, the park's predecessor, was established in 1923, during Mather's tenure as Director of the National Park Service. It was formally established in May 1930, less than four months after Stephen Mather's death. Carlsbad Caverns National Park has a Stephen Mather plaque, located on a limestone wall next to the Cavern Foot Trail entrance.

stm plaque.jpg

Fun Fact

Carlsbad Cavern's "Big Room" is the largest cavern chamber in North America, standing at 4000 feet long, 625 feet long, and up to 255 feet high.

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