Carlsbad Caverns National Park Trail

MODERATE 100 reviews

Carlsbad Caverns National Park Trail is a 0.8 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Carlsbad, New Mexico that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is accessible year-round.

DISTANCE
0.8 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
45 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

wheelchair friendly

kid friendly

birding

hiking

nature trips

walking

cave

views

wild flowers

no dogs

This is why you go there, to go down into the caverns. This trail starts at the Natural Entrance of Carlsbad Caverns with steep switchbacks going down for 200' when you come to Bat Cave, a cave within a cave. From the Bat Cave Entrance you reverse your direction and the trail is not as steep as it takes you to the Big Room still 550' down and .80 mile away. Along the way you will see Devils Spring, Devils Den, Whales Mouth, Green Lake Overlook, the Boneyard and Witches Finger. One mile from the entrance you come to the 8.2 acre Big Room the largest room in a cave and a fork in the trail to continue your hike through the Big Room or to the Rest Area and Lunchroom where you can rest, eat or mail a letter from 755' underground! On the Big Room trail you Loop in a counter clockwise direction with a cutoff halfway through for those who get tired as well as ADA access, to take the full loop is 1.5 miles and it's always 56 degrees down there so bring a light coat even in summer. Along the trail you will pass features like the Bottomless Pit, Giant Dome, Rock of the Ages, the Painted Grotto and many more beautiful formations! If you have the time be sure to try a guided tour to other parts of the cave.

hiking
22 days ago

This place will be packed and it will be busy. Don't let that deter you from this NP. It was a great experience to get an idea of what're inside of caves. We hiked down first then took the elevator up. I recommend bringing a flashlight/headlamp so you can see more details on the walls.

27 days ago

Had and amazing time and met some amazing people. I took the elevator down and came back up through the natural entrance. It was steep, but well worth the challenge. Be forewarned, most people take the elevator back up. If you are planning that, prepare for a long wait. The Big Room is just amazing. planning on hanging around for a little bit to see the bats go out at dusk.

hiking
1 month ago

Did the natural entrance trail. Lots of switchbacks & steep! Wanted to do the other loop, but since the elevators were out we had to walk back up the way we came. Very strenuous.
The cave is fabulous. We've been in a lot of caves. This is the first one they just turn you loose without a tour. We were able to set our own pace.

1 month ago

Such a fun hike! No elevator service into the caverns so it was a great 800 feet descend but a workout hiking back up!! Was def worth it!! So neat!

hiking
2 months ago

GPS will not work inside the cavern, so forget about track recording. Otherwise a very nice, well maintained cave system. Walking up is not as difficult as it seems.

hiking
3 months ago

Amazing! We hiked in through the natural entrance and then did the full loop around the Big Room. Wish we would have had more time to do a guided tour of one of the other caves, but still well worth it.

3 months ago

A fabulous place. Check for guided tours when you get there. I checked on line and they looked sold out but was able to book one when I arrived. Walked down and took the elevator out. Walking down is highly recommended as it gives one an idea of how big it really is, how deep it is and how early explorers really encountered it. Very easy walk down. Highly recommended!!

hiking
4 months ago

It's almost unreal how big this cave is. Best cave I've ever been too.

hiking
4 months ago

best cave I've ever visited!

hiking
6 months ago

Your calves might hurt the next day but it's so worth it. the cave just goes on and on. amazing formations all the way. set your camera to dusk/ dawn without flash and the photos turn out great.

hiking
6 months ago

Was an awesome experience in this np cave.

7 months ago

elevator out and trail in its about 3 hours to hike it all

hiking
9 months ago

Awesome

walking
10 months ago

Pretty easy all through the caverns. The rock formations are spectacular. Definitely a once in the lifetime experience

hiking
11 months ago

How majestic!

hiking
Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Amazing

hiking
Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Mid December trip with a little snow on ground at top of mountain. Gorgeous drive up the mountain. We didn't have the extra hour to walk the path down into cave so we took elevator down. Breathtaking above and below throughout the cave. Historical markers tell you about early explorers! I cant imagine being in there with only a torch or lantern! I highly recommend this amazing cavern.

walking
Monday, February 20, 2017

Simply amazing... like walking on another planet.

walking
Monday, February 20, 2017

Elevator broken, didn't care. Nasty hail storm on the surface. Thoughtful lighting inside the cave.

walking
Sunday, February 12, 2017

Gorgeous cavern!!!!! So many cool spots all over!

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

another planet

hiking
Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Always a great place to get away to. Wear good tennis shoes as the path can be damp and increase your risk for fall.

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

This cave is unreal! Definitely a must see. I went when the elevator was broken so the hike back up was killer but definitely worth it.

hiking
Thursday, August 18, 2016

Hiking in a cool cave is always good.

hiking
Monday, August 15, 2016

I'm tagging this as a hike because the elevator was broken when I went in early March. It was slightly difficult coming back up, but worth it. Gorgeous and eerie, smelled a bit musty but beautiful.

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

I have to say, I been in 10 or so caves, glad I did this one last. this place is outstanding!! Not sure any caves I go in after this will ever WOW me like this one did. It's just HUGE! We took the guided tour, then walked in the natural entrance, This is a must if you have the time, Very steep, do not think coming out would be lots of fun (you will feel it) lucky for most of us you can ride the elevator back up! By far my favorite cave of all time

walking
Sunday, August 07, 2016

My Grandma and Mother did this very cool trail back in or around 1986. What a beautiful trail. Clean and Ranger help who ever needs it. Loved the restaurant 775 ft. down. My Grandma could not do the hike so she took the elevator down and met us. There is radio listening device for the different areas you walk buy. We did take the elevator back up. The Queens room was blast. If you have a chance to go please do. You will not be disappointed.

hiking
Saturday, July 23, 2016

I just have to come back and do this trail at least once a year. I recommend you do not take the elevator get your money's worth. I recommend you arrange your hiking time to come up right before they close the cave so you can wait and see the bats come out. It's amazing.

hiking
Monday, July 04, 2016

We were the first to the Great Room and enjoyed a quiet walk through the caverns. If you want to avoid crowds, be at the visitor center when they open at 8:00 a.m. - or schedule a ranger-led tour of the areas inaccessible without a guide.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

This was really an incredible trail. We entered by the natural entrance and did the self-guided tour of the big room plus the guided tour of the King's Palace. If we had more time I'd have paid for more of the extra guided tours to see even more of the cave system. I also recommend just hiking back out. We made it out way faster than our pals who waited in the massive elevator line.

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