Carlsbad Caverns National Park

Elevator Renovations

Through September 2011, elevator service limited. Allow more time to visit. Expect lines to exit the cave. Walking exit is steep; check with park ranger first.

Beauty and wonder; above and below

Rocky slopes and canyons, cactus, grass, thorny shrubs, and the occasional tree, who could guess at the hidden treasures deep underground? Beneath this rugged land are more than 117 known caves - all formed when sulfuric acid dissolved the surrounding limestone.

FIRE burned park and nearby lands in June. Landscape looks different but caves, bats, & buildings are as good as before!

From mid-May through mid-October, visitors to Carlsbad Caverns National Park can enjoy the evening Bat Flight program.

All visitors to the park should tour the main section of the cave, the Big Room self-guided tour. The Natural Entrance self-guided tour is also very impressive, but it is not recommended for visitors with any kind of health problems because it is very steep.

Guided tours of varying difficulties in Carlsbad Cavern and other park caves are available. To reserve tickets for a guided tour, call 1.877.444.6777 or visit .

While there are a variety of cave tours available—from the self-guided areas of the Big Room to crawling through narrow passageways on the Hall of the White Giant Tour or in Spider Cave—there are also opportunities for hiking and backcountry camping, attending programs in the visitor center, and watching the incredible exodus of Mexican free-tail bats out of Carlsbad Cavern at dusk in the summer.

Additionally, this year Carlsbad Caverns National Park will be hosting a Full Moon Program and Star Party events. The park is a perfect spot for viewing the wonders of the night sky due to its location away from the lights of the local communities.

Cave Tours

Self-Guided Cave Tours
Tour schedule

The cave climate is cool and varies little from the annual 56°F (13°C) average temperature. A light jacket or sweater, and comfortable shoes with rubber soles for good traction are appropriate year-round.

NOTE: Baby strollers are not permitted in the cave. Bring a baby backpack if you need to carry your child.

Children 3 years of age and under are not permitted on any of the guided tours offered at Carlsbad Caverns. Minimum age requirements differ for each tour.

Anyone under 16 must be accompanied by an adult that is at least 18.

We reserve the right to alter any tour due to safety and other conditions.

Self-Guided Tours
The basic cavern entry is by way of two self-guided routes, the Big Room Route and the Natural Entrance Route. Tickets are sold at the visitor center each day, except December 25. Entrance fee tickets are good for three days but do not include guided or other special tours. Summer hours are in effect from Memorial Day through Labor Day.

Guided Tours
Reservations are highly recommended for all guided cave tours. Make reservations by calling 1.877.444.6777 or by visiting the website. An entrance fee ticket is required in addition to the guided tour fee for Kings Palace, Left Hand Tunnel, Lower Cave and Hall of the White Giant. Note: Children 3 years of age and under are not permitted on any of the guided tours offered at Carlsbad Caverns. Minimum age requirements differ for each tour.


The weather in southern New Mexico can change quickly at any time of the year. Winter is often cold and dry with occasional snow and ice storms. Spring is known to be extremely windy. Summer is very hot and violent lightning storms are not uncommon in the evenings. Fall is usually mild and without extremes...

...of course, the weather in the cave is a mild 56°F (13°C) year-round. A light jacket and comfortable shoes with rubber soles are appropriate year-round. more...

Did You Know?
The 110-plus caves of Carlsbad Caverns National Park were carved out not by running water and streams like many limestone caves in the world, rather these caves were dissolved by very aggressive sulfuric acid.


Walnut Canyon drive is a seven-mile scenic drive to the park visitor center.

To access Carlsbad Caverns National Park's only entrance road, New Mexico Highway 7, turn north from US Hwy 62/180 at Whites City, New Mexico - which is 16 miles southwest of Carlsbad, NM and 150 miles northeast of El Paso, Texas. The entrance road stretches a scenic 7-mile (11.3 km) from the park gate at Whites City to the Visitor Center and cavern entrance. The address for the park's Visitor Center is 727 National Parks Higway, Carlsbad, NM, even though it's located 23 miles from the town.

Carlsbad is served by Greyhound and TNM&O bus lines. New Mexico Airlines offers passenger service between Carlsbad and Albuquerque. Major airlines serve Roswell and Albuquerque, New Mexico; and El Paso, Lubbock and Midland, Texas. Rental cars and taxi service are available from the airport in Carlsbad.

Operating Hours & Seasons

Carlsbad Caverns National Park is open every day of the year except December 25.

Fall/Winter/Spring hours: September 6, 2011 - Memorial Day weekend 2012

Last Cavern Entry:

Via Natural Entrance: 2 p.m.

Via elevator: 3:30 p.m.

Visitor Center Open: 8 a.m. -5 p.m.

Summer extended hours: May 27, 2011 - September 5, 2011

Last Cavern Entry:

Via Natural Entrance: 3:30 p.m.

Via elevator: 4 p.m.

Visitor Center Open: 8 a.m. -7 p.m.

Please note: Beginning on the second Sunday in March, Carlsbad Caverns National Park is on Mountain Daylight Saving Time; Mountain Standard Time begins on the first Sunday in November.

The only way to see the Queen's Chamber in Carlsbad Cavern is to take the Kings Palace guided tour. Reservations are strongly recommended for all guided tours.

Entrance Fee (Self-Guided Tours)

Adults – $6, Children 15 and under – Free

All visitors who enter Carlsbad Cavern—for any tour—are required to purchase an Entrance Fee ticket. This ticket is good for 3 days.

Fee Free Days 2011

Entrance fees for all self-guided tours of Carlsbad Caverns are free:

  • martin Luther King, Jr. Weekend - January 15-17
  • National Park Week - April 16 - 24
  • First Day of Summer - June 21
  • National Public Land Day - September 24
  • Veterans Day Weekend - November 11 - 13

Ranger-Guided Tour Fees

Kings Palace. $8 for adults, $4 for children, under 4 not permitted. Must also purchase Entrance Fee ticket. $4 for Senior and Access Pass holders.

Left Hand Tunnel. $7 for adults, $3.50 for children, under 6 not permitted. Must also purchase Entrance Fee ticket. $3.50 for Senior and Access Pass holders.

Slaughter Canyon Cave. $15 for adults, $7.50 for children, under 8not permitted. $7.50 for Senior and Access Pass holders.

Lower Cave. $20 for adults, $10 for children, under 12 not permitted. Must also purchase Entrance Fee ticket. $10 for Senior and Access Pass holders.

Hall of the White Giant. $20 for adults, $10 for children, under 12 not permitted. Must also purchase Entrance Fee ticket. $10 for Senior and Access Pass holders.

Spider Cave. $20 for adults, $10 for children, under 12 not permitted. $10 for Senior and Access Pass holders.

Did You Know?
Bones from ice age animals like jaguars, camels, lions and giant sloths have been found in the entrance areas of some caves in Carlsbad Caverns National Park.

Things To Know Before You Come!

Where to eat

During visitor center hours, food is available at Carlsbad Caverns Trading, located at the west end of the building, past the gift shop. Visitors may choose a sandwich, salad, yogurt, or other snack from the grab and go coolers or have a salad, sandwich, or meal made to order at the hot/cold food line. A variety of bottled and fountain drinks are also available.

While you are touring Carlsbad Cavern, you may take a break in the Underground Rest Area, located at the base of the elevators. This area has restrooms, drinking fountains, and a snack bar operated by park concessioner Carlsbad Caverns Trading Company. A limited selection of sandwiches, salads, and beverages is offered.

Please keep in mind that in order to protect the cave and wildlife possession or consumption of food and drink, except plain, unflavored water, is prohibited in any cave except in the Underground Rest Area in Carlsbad Cavern. Diabetics and persons with other medical conditions requiring them to consume food and drink while they're in the cave are permitted on a limited basis. Food use has the potential for cave contamination, increased litter, and increased animal attraction into cave areas not usually frequented by wildlife.

Picnic tables are located at the east end of the visitor center parking lot and at Rattlesnake Springs Picnic Area, about 15 miles from the visitor center. Please check with a park ranger for fire restrictions before using a grill or camp stove.

Outside of the park, dining is available in Whites City, located just outside the park's main entrance, or for a variety of options, the drive to the town of Carlsbad takes about 40 minutes. For a list, contact the C arlsbad Chamber of Commerce at (575) 887-6516 or visit .

Traveling with a pet?

Be aware that having a pet with you will limit your activities and explorations in the park. In addition, desert temperatures, thorny vegetation, and predators may be a serious threat to your pet's well being. Please consider the following points before deciding to bring a pet:

  • Pets are not allowed on park trails, off roads, or in the cave.
  • Pets need to be on a leash no longer than six feet in length (or in a cage) at all times.
  • You are not allowed to leave your pet unattended in vehicles when the outdoor temperature exceeds 70 degrees Fahrenheit as it creates a danger to the animal and may become a public nuisance.
  • Pet etiquette and park regulations require that you always clean up after your pet and dispose of waste in trash receptacles.
  • The park concessioner, Carlsbad Caverns Trading, operates a kennel service where, for a fee, you may leave your pet in a temperature controlled environment while you tour the cave. The kennel is for day use only, not into the evening or overnight. For specific questions, contact them at (575) 785-2281.
    • The concessioner accepts no responsibility for injuries that might occur during a pet's stay in the kennels and does not require any vaccination records for the pet.
    • There are three sizes of cages, length x height x width in inches:
      • Extra tall 47.5 x 32.5 x 24
      • Medium47.5 x 24 x 24
      • Small 23 x 24 x 24
    • Pets are kept in cages relative to their size, such as a small dog in a small cage.
    • Water is provided for the pet, but the owner must provide food or bedding if they feel it's needed.
    • Employees do not handle pets and do not remain in the kennel room with the pets.


Living Desert State Park

State Park Contact Information:
Living Desert State Park
P.O. Box 100
Carlsbad, New Mexico 88221
Phone: 575-885-4476

Carlsbad sits at the edge of the Great Plains of middle America - to the east stretch hundreds of miles of flat prairie, used mainly for ranching and oil exploration. With a relatively low elevation of 3,400 feet, and summer temperatures that often exceed 100°F, this part of New Mexico is still classed as desert land, part of the Chihuahuan Desert which also extends across southeast Arizona, west Texas and the Mexican state of Chihuahua. The varied plants and animals of this arid region are exhibited in the Living Desert State Park , which occupies several acres of cacti and yucca-strewn land on the edge of the Ocotillo Hills, overlooking the Pecos river valley just northwest of town.

Location: This part of New Mexico is quite remote, and those that do pass by are likely to be en route to or from the nearby Carlsbad Caverns ; the Living Desert though well-deserves a diversion of a few hours as it has one of the best collections of desert life in the Southwest (the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum near Tucson is also very good). The state park is 2 miles from Carlsbad on US 285. There is ample parking but no campground - the nearest (free) camping is provided by the Lincoln National Forest, 30 miles to the west, in a scenic but little visited area that also has abundant desert plants.

Animals: In the park, animals in sheltered cages include snakes, lizards and birds of prey, and there is a walk-through aviary with humming birds and other colorful species. In outside pens there are bison, Mexican wolves, elk, mountain lions, javelinas (desert pigs), antelope and many others.

Plants: The park grounds include many naturally-growing Chihuahuan desert plants, but non-native species such as the giant saguaro have been added, and several nature trails lead past many types of cacti, agaves, yuccas, trees and bushes, including the distinctive spiky ocotillo after which the surrounding hills were named. A more organized and comprehensive collection is housed within a large greenhouse, and small plants are available for purchase.

Pecos River

A crumbling, soggy overpass on the north side of Carlsbad makes for an unlikely tourist attraction. Few people will probably go out of their way to see the old structure, known as the "Pecos Flume". But those who do can say they've seen the world's only river that crosses itself.

You can find the flume on the north side of Carlsbad, about a block northeast of US Hwy. 285. Once you spot the Comfort Inn, you're close. Look for Callaway Drive, then Westridge Drive.

Long ago, Ripley's Believe It Or Not bestowed the title of "World's Only River That Crosses Itself" on the Pecos River, and the unique flume which splits off from the Pecos, then turns and crosses above it. The flume is part of Carlsbad's irrigation system, and helps keep what would otherwise be a dry town, green.

The Pecos Flume was first built out of wood in 1890. A flood destroyed it in 1902, and it was rebuilt out of concrete. At the time, it was the largest concrete structure in the world. There's plenty of room to park below the flume, and there are no fences or signs warning you not to climb up to the top. During my visit, there was standing water in the flume, but not enough to flow through it. There was, however, enough water in the leaky flume to rain down on passing cars.

Winter in Carlsbad isn't about snow, ice or cold. It's about warmth. The warmth of the holiday season. And families coming together. Carlsbad, New Mexico is alive with the ultimate celebration of the season - Christmas on the Pecos River.

This magical vista is created by over 100 homeowners who spend hours decorating with care. Each house is unique. From the Christmas in the Desert Southwest theme at one home to Santa's Play land at another, Carlsbad NM residents show their creativity as much as their community pride. Each year the Holiday Season on the Pecos wraps itself around the riverfront, illuminating backyards, boat docks and islands with millions of lights. The Pecos River Holiday Lights shimmers with color. Wise men and angels glow on sloping lawns. Giant margarita glasses and bright stars reflect on the water .

Everyone in Carlsbad, New Mexico gets involved too, not just homeowners. Carlsbad Navy officers navigate each of the three pontoon boats through this spectacular show of Yuletide River Christmas Lights along the Pecos River Christmas Cruise. Each officer is a volunteer and Chamber of Commerce member who has been specially trained in boating safety and operations.

The First Christmas on the Pecos River boat tour took place in 1992 aboard the Princess a pontoon boat that seated 10 people. Today the Christmas on the Pecos fleet includes the Noelle- which seats 40 passengers, the Bella Sera-which seats 45 people, the Bella Notte-which seats 18 people and the historic George Washington Paddle Wheeler-which seats 40 people. All vessels depart nightly except for the George Washington which operates Fridays and Saturdays only and is a half trip only.

Christmas on the Pecos River Boat tours are 40 minute long that sets sail 12-15 times per night between 5:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. from Thanksgiving weekend to New Year's Eve. Tours depart from the Pecos River Village, a quaint, turn-of-the-century park that is transformed into a wonderland of sparkling lights and delights. Wander through a gallery full of gifts created by local artists and enjoy holiday refreshments at the Pecos River Village before and after your tour.

Traditionally tours sell out quickly, especially on Thanksgiving Weekend, Fridays and Saturdays in December, and Christmas Day. (Tours are not offered on Christmas Eve.) Christmas on the Pecos continues to grow each year with attendance topping over 15,000 passengers in 2009 .

Tickets are sold in advance and at the ticket office on days of departure. Space is limited and reservations are strongly suggested especially on the weekends and as we get closer to Christmas. Complimentary "lap" passes are given for passengers under the age of 2. Be sure to wear warm clothing (layers are best). Blankets are provided by Washington Tru Solutions and are available prior to boarding at the docks.

Ticket prices for the 2010 season are as follows: Adults $17.50 per person Fridays & Saturdays; $12.50 per person Sunday-Thursday. Children (ages 2-12) $12.50 per person Fridays & Saturdays; $7.50 per person Sunday-Thursday. Children under the age of 2 are free if they do not occupy a seat. (A lap pass must be obtained prior to boarding at the ticket office). All boats depart from the Pecos River Village Conference Center which is located at 711 Muscatel.

Christmas on the Pecos River has been awarded one of the top 100 "must see" events in North America by the American Bus Association 14 years in a row since 1996. For more information on the most spectacular show of Yuletide lights in New Mexico, contact the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce

Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce
PO Box 910 Carlsbad, NM 88220
575-887-6516 800-221-1224 (recorded message)
FAX 575-885-1455

Carlsbad RV Park and Campground

Camping in New Mexico is experience of a life time! Located in Sunny Southeastern New Mexico, Carlsbad is a delightful place to visit with plenty of local attractions like Carlsbad Caverns National Park and the Living Desert State Park to keep you busy for weeks! We have plenty of room for your Campers, Tents and Recreational Vehicles from the smallest to the enormous. Our Full-Service RV Park is your top choice in Carlsbad, with the closest access to all the major attractions. With the increased cost of travel, Carlsbad New Mexico can be a great place to visit on a limited budget. Let us help you plan a cheap vacation getaway! We look forward to serving you and wish you happy trails!

Toll Free
1-888-8RV-PARK (888-878-7275)
Postal Address
Carlsbad RV Park and Campground
4301 National Parks Highway
Carlsbad, New Mexico 88220

Overnight Rates

RV Site Full Hookup Pull - Thru Call for Seasonal Rates
1-888-8RV-PARK (888-878-7275)

Popup Trailer Sites
Tent Sites
Cable TV
50 Amp Hookup

Day Use Rates

Meetings/ Events Call for Seasonal Rates
1-888-8RV-PARK (888-878-7275)

Day Use per family of 4

Tax not included. All prices shown are subject to change without notice.

Weekly and Monthly Rates are available

Looking for a place to hold that next big shindig?
Birthday Parties
Company Picnics
Family Reunions
Scout Meetings/Events
Church Socials
Youth Groups
Club Events
School Parties
Large Group and Full Day Rates are available.

We accept


We offer discounts for

Good Sam
Military active and retired
Reservations are accepted and recommended by phone 1-888-8RV-PARK (888-878-7275)

About Us!

Family Camping at its Best! Come Join the FUN!

70 RV sites with:
30 or 50 Amp electrical
Pull Through Spaces
Cable TV on most sites
Sewage Disposal
Potable Water
Mostly Shaded Sites
Pop-Ups Welcome!
40 Tent sites with:
Shade Trees and Shelters
Cooking Grills, Picnic Tables
and Water at most site
2 cabins with:
Heating/Air Conditioning
Full Bed and Bunk Beds
Microwave oven
Refrigerator (small)
Cable TV
DVD player
Restrooms close-by
Our Laundry, Game Room and
Pool are open until 10PM !!!

We have the cleanest restrooms
and showers – Just like home!

Our High-Speed-Wireless
INTERNET is FREE to our Guests.

  • Heated Indoor Pool
  • Playground
  • Tire Swing
  • Video Game Room
  • Darts
  • Pool Table
  • Ping Pong
  • Tourist Lounge
  • Horseshoes
  • Community Camp Fire Pit
  • BBQ
  • Picnic Tables
  • Wash Tubs
  • Shade Trees
  • Large Meeting Room with Kitchen
  • Turtle Pen
  • Tree Faces
  • Grocery/Gift Shop