Best Places to Visit in New Mexico: Carlsbad Caverns National Park

Defined by canyons, a desert landscape, and rocky slopes, Carlsbad Caverns National Park is a true gem. The defining feature of the park is its secret underground network of caves that deliver magnificent formations as far as the eye can see.

Located in the Guadalupe Mountains in southeastern New Mexico, this park features the famous Carlsbad Cavern. The park is open every day of the year with the exception of Christmas Day. All visitors must purchase a ticket to enter the grounds of the park.

The park boasts two places on the National Register of Historic Places with The Caverns Historic District and the Rattlesnake Springs Historic District. Because so much of the park has been designated as a wilderness area, the animals are protected in their natural habitat.

Carlsbad Cavern features a massive cave chamber known as the Big Room. This natural limestone chamber measures nearly 4,000 feet long, 625 feet wide, and 255 feet high at the maximum height. These size dimensions make the Carlsbad Cavern the third-largest chamber of its kind in North America and the seventh-largest in the world.

You can choose to visit the cave by hiking down into it at its natural entrance or you can take an elevator directly from the visitor center. The elevator will take you to the Big Room, descending 754 feet in less than one minute. For an extra fee, you may choose a ranger-led hike to the four distinct branches of the caves known as Kings Palace, Left Hand Tunnel, Lower Cave, and Hall of the White Giant.

Start your visit to this park with a stop at the comprehensive visitor center. The center features plenty of parking for your convenience. Inside the center, you will find an informative museum, a cafe, an auditorium, and a book store.

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