The United States is filled with some truly remarkable, beautiful areas to visit and explore. When you think of caverns throughout the country, you may think of an area that is dark, damp, and dreary. In fact, a cavern may not be at the top of your bucket list or anywhere on it. Despite this stereotype, a visit to Carlsbad Cavern is the kind of experience that will leave a mark on you for the rest of your life. The featured formations in Carlsbad Cavern National Park are unique, enormous, gorgeous, and inspiring. One of the most beautiful places in the U.S., Carlsbad Caverns truly is one destination you do not want to miss.

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Carlsbad Cavern National park is truly a destination you want to see and experience for yourself. Have you ever been to this national park? If so, we’d love to hear all about your experience!

Curious about what awaits inside this massive underworld? Check out this YouTube video c/o GoTraveler:

General Information:

Accessibility: A portion of Carlsbad Cavern is wheelchair accessible. The Big Room Trail is accessible to individuals with mobility impairments. A portion of the trail is paved and audio guides are available. Although, be aware that portions of the trail are steep and wheelchairs are not allowed on these areas of the trail. The Natural Entrance Trail, King’s Palace, and other caving tours are not wheelchair accessible.

Wheelchair-accessible parking, picnic areas, and restrooms are located around the national park. You can read the park’s accessibility guide at the NPS website.

Pet-Friendly: Pets are allowed at Carlsbad Caverns National Park, although, they are not allowed inside the cavern, on trails, or inside the visitor’s center. There is a kennel service where you may board your pet while you tour the cavern, explore the park trails, or while in the visitor center. However, you may only leave your pet for the day and there are no overnight boarding options.

If you bring your family pet inside the park, it must be kept on a 6-foot leash at all times. You may not leave your pet inside any vehicle and your animal may not roam off the road. Visit the Carlsbad Caverns NPS page to learn more about all pet guidelines and information on boarding your pet for the day.

Parking: You can find parking at the visitor center. There are two main parking lots in the area. If you are driving a large RV or a bus, there are designated parking areas at the visitor center.

Seasonal Access: Carlsbad Caverns National Park is open year-round. However, the park is closed on several national holidays such as Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. To enter the Carlsbad Cavern, you must make a reservation online, on the telephone, or in the visitor’s center. These reservations will tell you the specific time you can enter the cavern.

Cost: There is a $15 entrance fee for each individual over the age of 16. All children 15 years and younger are free. The national park accepts many types of national park passes. There are also fee-free days throughout the year. For a complete list of fee-free days in Carlsbad Caverns, visit the NPS page.

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More to Explore

Carlsbad Caverns

Is Carlsbad Caverns the biggest cave in the US?

While certainly impressive, Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico is not the biggest cave in the US. The biggest cave in the US and the world is Mammoth Cave, the one-and-only national park in Kentucky. A few facts about Mammoth Cave:

  • It's located in the rolling hills of west-central Kentucky on the edge of America's Southern Appalachian Region.
  • This massive cavern system features some 400 miles of underground caverns and passageways, with more miles being added all the time, making it the longest cave not just in the US, but the entire world.
  • Kentucky's Mammoth Cave recently got a little longer, following the discovery of an additional eight miles of passages by the Cave Research Foundation.
  • Not only is Mammoth Cave a national treasure, acknowledged by its designation as a National Park, but it's also been recognized internationally as the longest, most biologically diverse cave system in the world.
  • Mammoth Cave has been named a United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization World Heritage Site and Biosphere Reserve.


What are some facts about Carlsbad Caverns?

Curious to learn more about Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico? Here are some fun facts about this NM national park:

  • The Big Room is the largest single cave chamber in the United States and features stunning formations such as the fabled Sword of Damocles.
  • The land that forms Carlsbad Caverns was once part of an ancient underwater reef called Capitan Reef. Marine fossils have been found in the rock.
  • The caverns were forged by sulfuric acid – not water erosion, as is the case with most limestone caves.
  • There are no flowing rivers or streams inside the caves.
  • We know, from pictographs in the area, that Native Americans lived on this land starting from 12-14,000 years ago. It is believed that they used the caves near the surface long before they were “discovered.”
  • Before 1925, guests who visited the park were lowered into the caves in a big bucket. Makes you grateful for the elevator, doesn’t it? This is definitely one of the most unique things about Carlsbad Caverns!
  • Regardless of the temperatures outside, the temperature in the caverns holds steady at 56 degrees Fahrenheit.