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  • Steve Goldsby

Carlsbad Caverns

With my move north to Arizona this weekend, I had to work my plan to hike Carlsbad Caverns (today) and Guadalupe Peak (tomorrow)

I did the self-guided tour. Remember to book your time slot (online only) any time before 5am the day you wish to attend. After 5am, you can't book same-day.

As of today (15 Jun 2023) The only other tour going on right now is the Kings Palace guided tour, but I didn't have time to attend it.

The self-guided tour has you entering through the Natural Entrance, and it's amazing! There is an asphalt trail that zig-zags across 80 switch-backs to get down to the mouth of Carlsbad Caverns. It takes a bit for your eyes to adjust to the dim lighting but you do eventually adjust.

Carlsbad Caverns definitely seems much larger than Mammoth Cave in Kentucky, and there's much more and intricate things to see - stalactites, stalagmites, ribbons and "soda straws". It's absolutely beautiful.

So you take the Natural Entrance trail into the cave, and about 1.25 miles in you reach the Big Room. You can take that trail for another 1.25 miles, which loops you back near the end of the Natural Entrance trail. From there you can take the elevator back up to the main building/gift shop *or* you can choose to hike back up the Natural Entrance trail. I chose to hike back up. This was sub-optimal and my heart rate stayed over 140 most of the way up. It is VERY steep.

Had to get back to the RV to attend a few work meetings (thanks Starlink!), and decided to go see some more of the park above ground.

The 9 mile "driving trail" was closed and locked for some reason, so I didn't get to do that but hope to next time.

Tomorrow morning I'm hiking Guadalupe Peak...


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Jun 16, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Thanks for the notes and pictures Steve!!

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