Carlsbad Caverns offers a unique opportunity to experience a sub-terranean world. The park is a fairly long way away from many of the major parks in the Western US, but it is still a good trip if you are making the drive down I-10 in Texas. The park is roughly 3 hours north of El Paso, but it is about 30 minutes south of the City of Carlsbad. Please keep this in mind if you are planning on staying in Carlsbad, as there is only one hotel near the caverns.
PLANE - The closest regional airport is Roswell, New Mexico. There is regional jet service on American Airlines to Los Angeles International Airport and Dallas/Ft Worth International Airport.
CAR -The visitor center is reached by way of U.S. Highway 62/180 from either Carlsbad, New Mexico (23 miles to the northeast) or El Paso, Texas (150 miles to the west). A scenic 7-mile (11.3 km) entrance road leads from the park gate at Whites City to the visitor center and cavern entrance.
Weather & Climate
Winter: Cold and dry; very little precipitation
Spring/Fall: Moderate Temperatures; Windy
Summer: Hot and Stormy; Lots of Thunderstorms
Cave Weather: The Cave is at a constant 56 degrees F. A
light jacket is recommended.
The visitor center and a portion of the self guided tour of the cave is wheelchair accessible. Please call the Visitor Center for more details.
There is no camping in the Park.
Special Programs - Be sure to check out the self-guided cave tours with the automated Cavern Audio Guide. We also offer ranger-guided cave tours, audio-visual programs, talks, hikes and demonstrations. Evening bat flight programs occur May through October
Exhibits - The visitor center features exhibits on bats, geology, cave restoration, and park history. There is also a children's exhibit which includes a variety of pictures, games, and hands-on material. The Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce recently installed a special touch-screen computer to provide information about local attractions and exhibits featuring state and local maps. While the park does not offer the standard "movie" found at many national parks, there is a short self-serve video available with closed captioning in Spanish or English. This video serves as an introduction to the bats of Carlsbad Caverns and is particularly appreciated by our off-season visitors who miss the bat flight phenomena.
Available Facilities - The visitor center includes a ticket sales area, restrooms, a bookstore, a gift shop, kennels, and a coffee shop. The coffee shop is open during visitor center hours. There is no service in the evening, when the Bat Flight program is taking place. The restaurant has a private dining room available for large parties, but it must be reserved in advance.. There is a small cafeteria-style restaurant in the Underground Rest Area, which sells box lunches and snack items. Large groups can also eat here comfortably. The large gift shop offers a wide range of gifts and souvenir items. There is also a small selection of souvenir items in the Underground Rest Area. Both gift shops sell film and batteries, but offer a limited selection. The kennel is open every day during regular visitor center hours and has space for about 30 pets. Their is a fee per pet. Each animal has its own cage and the room is air-conditioned. Please never leave your animals in cars or RVs, heat can be deadly even with a window cracked.