11 Best Things To Do in Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico

by Ketki Hanamshet Updated on 15 Oct 2018

An essential guide to the very best things to do in and around Carlsbad Caverns National Park.

Best Things To Do in Carlsbad Caverns National Park - ImageImage Source: wikipedia.org

Carlsbad Caverns National Park is one of the most famous parks of America, located in the southeastern part of New Mexico. Every year the park participates in the Junior Ranger Program. The two spots of the park- Rattlesnake Spring Historic District and The Caverns Historic District are listed on National Register of Historic Place. 

This park is the home of the world’s 28th largest and America’s 5th largest chamber-Big Room. Let’s have a glance at the best things to do in Carlsbad Caverns National Park.

Let's explore these things to do in and around Carlsbad Caverns National Park:

1. Gather Info from Carlsbad Caverns National Park Visitor Center

Before starting to explore the stunning natural geological formations of Carlsbad Caverns National Park, you must visit the Carlsbad Caverns National Park Visitor Center once. The caves in which the visitor centre is set will amaze you. 

The centre is divided in segments according to the activities and sightseeing spots of the park. From each segment, you can gather info about the activities and the things you can see in that particular spot of the park. The centre offers a special audio tour for the visitors who have auditory problems.

2. Watch the Lion's Tail

Lion’s Tail is the famous geological formation of the park. As the formation resembles a lion’s tail, it was given the name ‘Lion’s Tail’. This point of interest in Carlsbad Caverns National Park is made up of 2 components- Stalactites and Stalagmites. You will find that the Stalactites are formed the upper part and the Stalagmites are formed the lower part. 

3. Self-Guided Tour at Natural Entrance

Encounter a thrilling experience while choosing the self-guided tour at the Natural Entrance. The Natural Entrance is a nature trail of 1.25 mile that helps you visit some remote places of the park including the famous Big Room. You should bring torches and lanterns to explore the caves as some caves are quite dark.   

The trail meanders through the uneven terrain and it may seem that you are walking up and down of a 75 storey building.  You can follow in the footsteps of the previous explorers to witness the major formations like Iceberg Rock, Whale's Mouth and Devil's Spring. 

4. Watch the Bat Flight at Carlsbad Cavern National Park

Watching Bat Flight is an interesting thing to do in Carlsbad Cavern National Park in the evening. As the bats start flying after the place becomes calm, you are not supposed to make any kind of noise. The view of the bats leaving the caves and flying in the sky would leave you awestruck as the view of the sky is obscured by lakhs of bats fluttering about. You can even notice the swarm of approximately 3000 bats flying out together for their dinner if you are lucky enough. 

5. Go for a Long Drive through Walnut Canyon Desert Drive

After watching the bat flight in the evening, go for a long drive through the Walnut Canyon Desert Drive. The 7-mile road of this park offers a self-guided tour to visitors and during the long drive you can witness the beauty of different types of terrain including desert. The map which is provided by the visitors’ centre will help you to find the correct way and if you are lucky enough, you may even find the glimpse of desert wildlife here. The view of sunset through the glass panes of the car will be like an additional treat for you. 

6. Sit and Rest near Rattlesnake Springs

During the long drive, if you have enough time, then stop for some time at the Rattlesnake Springs, which is a great place to visit in Carlsbad Caverns National Park. While you are sitting near the shoreline of the Rattlesnake Springs, you can notice flocks of turkeys, several mule deer and many vocal frogs. Picnicking facility is available here at the separate picnic area. 

7. Watch Night sky at Carlsbad Caverns National Park

If you ever visit Carlsbad Caverns National Park in the months of June to October, you can grab the chance to take part in the Night Sky Programs. This program is for the people of all ages where Star Walk and Moon Hike are two types of a guided tour of Night Sky Programs. For Star Walk, you have to walk 1.2 miles and for Moon Hike, you have to hike 1.5 miles over rugged desert terrain with an elevation of 200 meters.

8. Visit the Green Lake

One of the most attractive tourist attractions in Carlsbad Caverns National Park is the Green Lake, which is located in the King Palace Cave. You will find some traces of Stalactites and Stalagmites in the cave. The tint of green colour in the clear water of lake would leave you stunned. You will find many strange silica decorations around the lake. 

9. Bird-Watching at Carlsbad Caverns National Park

Bird-watching is an interesting activity which can be enjoyed at the Carlsbad Caverns National Park as this park is home to 330 species of birds. You can spot Redheaded Turkey, Svelte Golden Eagles and Vultures while hiking. During your stop at Rattlesnake Springs, you can notice Wild Turkeys and if you have witnessed a glance of crimson flash, it might be the rare Vermilion Flycatcher.    

10. Hiking at Carlsbad Caverns National Park

As Carlsbad Caverns National park is characterized by rugged, dry terrain, hiking will be joyful here. If you are looking for a serene place then the nature trails of the undeveloped place are for you. 

The rudimentary trails provide you with a thrilling experience of hiking because these exist over an elevation of 6000 meter. The Guadalupe Ridge Trail also known as “the longest trail” is widely used for a night walk. Desert Nature Walk is there for those who want to see the desert wildlife and flowers.

11. Caving at Carlsbad Caverns National Park

Caving is the most practiced activity of the Carlsbad Caverns National Park. There is a number of caves- Hall of White Giant, Left Hand Tunnel, Big Room, King’s Palace and others in this park for caving. If you opt for a ranger-led tour then the knee pads, flashlights and gloves are provided to you. 

The adventurers can crawl and explore the Spider Cave and Lower Cave. The most interesting place to visit in Carlsbad Caverns National Park is the King’s Palace where you can see a turquoise lake. The Big Room is the most spacious one and the most stunning of them is the Hall of the White Giant.

Author: Ketki Hanamshet
Usually lost in a reverie, Ketki is someone who absolutely refuses to live in the practical world. While she has a bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering, she should be honored mastery in procrastination. If you see her slouching on a couch, ask...

Are you looking for a Carlsbad Caverns National Park travel itinerary? Create an itinerary within minutes, on your own!

Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico

Must see places in Carlsbad Caverns National Park ranked on popularity. Here is the complete list of best attractions in Carlsbad Caverns National Park and point of interests to visit.

  1. Slaughter Canyon Cave

    # 1 of 1 Things To Do in Carlsbad Caverns National Park | Added 72 times in trip plans

Find Your Carlsbad Caverns National Park Attractions on Map

Find more places to see in Carlsbad Caverns National Park

  • The Caverns Historic District

    Historic and Protected Sites
View On Map
  • Carlsbad Caverns National Park

    3225 National Parks Hwy

    Natural Parks
  • Sitting Bull Falls

    County Road 409

    Natural Parks
View On Map
Show More

What To Do in Carlsbad Caverns National Park: Day-Wise Ideas

Find what not to miss in Carlsbad Caverns National Park! Recommended Carlsbad Caverns National Park itineraries and vacation ideas created by travelers across the world.