Underneath the park, there are a total of 83 caves. The caverns were created from a process called speleogenesis. This process involves water and limestone. Settlers discovered the caves after searching for bat guano which they used as fertilizer. The explored parts of the caves total more than 30 miles! In 1993 the caverns were granted protection after congress passed legislation.

Places to Visit

Stars in Carlsbad National Park

Dark Sky Program

The Carlsbad Caverns National Park offers different night programs because of the limited light pollution. The park offers star walks which is a guided half-mile hike. There is also a moonwalk that is 1.5 miles. The tours are free but have limited capacity and are first-come, first-served.


Bat Flight Program

This program is free to the public and occurs every evening from Memorial Day to October. The best time to see a lot of bats is August through September because the baby bats join in the migration to the north. The amphitheater is located at the Natural Entrance to Carlsbad Cavern.

Walnut Canyon Desert Drive

Walnut Canyon Desert Drive

Walnut Canyon Desert Drive is a 9.5 mile long, one-way trip. Along the road are informational pullouts where you can learn more about the park and the people who once inhabited it. Vehicles longer than 20 feet are prohibited on the road.

Rattle Snake Springs

Rattlesnake Springs

This oasis in the southwestern part of the park is surrounded by the Chihuahua Desert. It is popular to have a picnic at the springs. There are grills for guests to use if you are looking to have a barbecue. If you are lucky you will get to see deer and wild turkeys!

The Big Room Trail

Big Room Trail

The Big Room Trail is the most popular in the park. The trail is a 1.5-mile walk through a cavern that will take you around one and a half hours. If you are pinched for time, there is a shortcut in the cavern that cuts the walk down to .6 miles.

King Palace Tour

King Palace Tour

This guided tour will take you 830 feet down, the deepest part of the caves. It is recommended that you be moderately physical because of the difficulty of the tour. You must reserve a spot on the King Palace Tour.

Slaughter Canyon Cave

Slaughter Canyon Cave

If you are looking to visit Slaughter Canyon Cave, you must make a reservation. The only light the caves see is from visitor’s flashlights. This cave has one of the tallest columns in the world! The walkways are unpaved and can be slippery making this activity strenuous.

Guadalupe Ridge Trail

Guadalupe Ridge Trail

Looking to get out and experience the Chihuahua Desert? The trail is 100 miles but only 21 miles of it is through the Carlsbad National Park. You can camp 100 feet off the trail. It is important to remember that a maximum of ten people is allowed at each campsite.


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