Carlsbad Caverns – New Mexico


Cavern entrance | Giant Dome | King’s Palace


Date of Visit: April 20, 2016

How we got there: Arrived from nearby Guadalupe Mountains the day before our visit. Continued on to Alamogordo, NM after completing our visit.

Lodging: Rodeway Inn, Whites City, NM.


  • Natural Entrance Trail – A steep, twisting 1.25 path leads 750 feet underground to the main chambers. The elevators weren’t functioning when we visited, so we were required to make this walk, but we’d recommend it to anyone because it gives you a better sense of the scale of the cave than arriving underground via elevator.
  • King’s Palace Tour – Ranger-guided 1.5-hour hike through a highly decorated portion of the cave. This tour visits the deepest parts of the cave open to the public, 830 feet below the surface.
  • Big Room – Take the one-mile self-guided trail through this 8.2 acre chamber. The entire route is surrounded by fascinating formations.

Tips: The cave is about 56 degrees year-round, so visit in any season, but spring or fall is the best time to combine it with a visit to nearby Guadalupe Mountains.

Next time: Candle-lit lantern tour of the less-developed Left Hand Tunnel. Take the adventurous Slaughter Canyon Cave Tour in another cavern in the park. Visit from May-September when thousands of bats fly out of the cave every evening.