Carlsbad Caverns National Park is the premier cave destination in the world. Imagine descending over 250 meters (750 feet) into the dark depths, but finding lighted pathways through chambers of stalactites, stalagmites and many other formations. There are numerous tours offered, some of which are more strenuous, but reservations are a must during the busy summer season.
The most popular tour is the Blue Tour which begins at the Visitor Center and descends into the cavern through its natural entrance. Be aware that this walk is fairly strenuous and includes numerous stairs.
The Scenic Rooms, such as the King’s Palace, Queen’s Chamber, and the Papoose Room contain remarkably exquisite formations.
There is even a post office, gift shop, and snack bar in the “Big Room”. Return to the surface is via elevator. Because the cave is a constant 55o F, appropriate clothing is recommended.
A Ranger-led tour is the best way to see the caverns since park rangers are usually extremely knowledgeable about the geology and ecology of the area and are happy to answer questions.
For those visitors in the region for several days, an interesting excursion from Carlsbad is to travel northwest to White Sands National Monument, an extensive area of pure white gypsum sand located near Alamogordo, New Mexico. Dunes Drive affords the visitor access to the area.
For truly different and unusual excursion, travel north from Carlsbad to Roswell, New Mexico, which is world-famous for its supposed UFO (Unidentified Flying Object) sightings, dating back to a reported UFO crash in 1947. Aliens are portrayed everywhere in the area.
Every evening from late spring to early autumn, there is a Ranger talk and viewing of the daily exodus of hundreds of thousands of bats from their roosting sites inside the cave. The National Park has created an amphitheater to facilitate the viewing and to discuss the natural history of these fascinating mammals.