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

stroller 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.

14 days ago

Amazing

29 days ago

I entered the cave from the Natural Entrance and WOW! My mouth was slack-jawed the entire journey down. The trail is incredibly smooth so you don't ever need to worry about tripping even though it gets rather dark.

The cave floor is rather crowded with people who took the elevator down but the sights were so amazing that I hardly noticed.

1 month ago

Always cool to go here , do the walk down from the bat entrance its way funner!

hiking
1 month ago

Certainly a unique hike that you won't find anywhere else. The descent is long but the trail is quite pleasant - the views along the way will have all your attention. The chambers at the bottom are spectacular. Even with the lights, it is quite dark. If you're planning on taking nice pictures bring a decent flash or a camera with good low-light capabilities.

If possible, try to go during the week. The crowds aren't a deal-breaker, but you might have to maneuver around others on the path and wait a while for the elevator back up. Hiking back up gives a nice alternate view.

hiking
1 month ago

This "trail" (if you'd like to call it a trail, it's really just the cave system) was what got me truly hooked on hiking. We made the 7 hour drive from Dallas, TX, and I was completely floored by all the beautiful mountains and wildlife on the way up to the caverns entrance (we even saw mountain goats!). I guess the park guides thought that my boyfriend and I were pretty experienced - which we ARE, but not incredibly physically fit haha - and he told us to take the elevators down and the natural entrance back up. We didn't have any knowledge of the cave systems and how they worked, so we just took his word for it! The hike through the general caves took us probably about 2 hours, and was very easy (the caves are around 56 degrees and totally comfortable). It was nice and quiet because you have to keep your voice down, but be warned - it's a very touristy park so prepare yourself for crowds. The hike back UP the natural entrance was killer. It's a 79 story, steep incline. We had to take multiple breaks but the challenge was 100% worth it (and we avoided the MASSIVE elevator line back up). Amazing views from start to finish, and who doesn't love the cute little bats?

hiking
1 month ago

This place was awesome! I would highly recommend stopping by if in the Carlsbad area.

3 months ago

Cold, damp, quiet, and long but would do it over again! The cave and stalagmites are breathtaking!!

hiking
3 months ago

I entered the caves from Natural Entrance. It's very large inside the caves. Beautiful and amazing! the humidity is very high inside and I'm not very adapt it.

3 months ago

Really a god trip to connect with nature and amazing creations by nature.

hiking
4 months ago

Easy hikes through the general caverns.
I would suggest hiking in through the natural entrance, completing the Big Room, and then going up though the elevator for lunch (we didn't have any wait time). We packed our lunches, but they have a restaurant and gift shop on site. After, I would suggest making a reservation to go back down for any tours- FYI: King's Palace is the only one you can take a 4 year old on.
-Make reservations online as they fill up pretty quickly. I made mine online and then ran into truck problems and they were nice enough to reschedule us into open spots. The people there were very nice and accommodating, the people on the phone that I called to let them know what was going on- not so much. If you happen to have problems, get in touch with the actual people who work at that location, not the general national park services (that number was listed online).-
Anyway, after lunch, we left through the natural entrance to catch the bats leaving the caves, but it was moderate-strenuous. There was a woman who worked there that warned me that it was a strenuous 80 story ascent (probably because I had small children), but we were able to complete it. Just be aware there are a lot of switchbacks and it's a steep incline. But it was so beautiful and I definitely wouldn't skip out on this by taking the elevator both ways.
The temperature in the caves is 56° pretty much all the time, according to the rangers. We went in toward the end of June and it was cold enough that all my kids wanted sweaters, even with it being hot outside. So be prepared. In the regular caverns, you won't really need any flashlights. They have lights on pathways. But I read that if you do the lower caves (can't take children here), you will need them.

walking
4 months ago

We went today. It wasn’t that busy...no wait at the elevators. It is a fun cool hike in the hot summer desert great for kids. See the caves they are awesome!

hiking
5 months 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.

5 months 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
6 months 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.

6 months 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
7 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
8 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.

8 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
8 months ago

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

hiking
9 months ago

best cave I've ever visited!

hiking
11 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
11 months ago

Was an awesome experience in this np cave.

11 months ago

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

hiking
Saturday, September 02, 2017

Awesome

walking
Monday, August 14, 2017

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

hiking
Wednesday, July 05, 2017

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.

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