Explore the most popular trails near Carlsbad with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

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Carlsbad, New Mexico Map
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Incredibly beautiful! Look out at the grand view before you when you get to the entrance of the Headquarters!

Pretty well maintained. Really only a couple places where the gravel is a bit loose / deep. Nice vistas over the city and some pretty flowers. Perfect for an easy 40-50 minute walk.

good to do with the kiddos. easy accessible

naturally beautiful

Fun open trail for an evening walk or run!

trail running
rocky
1 month ago

Good local trail with some nice views up the gullies. This trail has plenty of loose rocks so be careful if you are trail running, but the trail does keep you interested.

great for a family hike. with some steep areas. but theres a chance of seeing deer and other wildlife

trail running
2 months ago

grt to trail run! technical and some nice dirt areas too! grt workout

4 months ago

Amazing

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.

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

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.

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

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

hiking
7 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.

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

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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

Scenic drive to the cave. The drive there is all uphill. It's all good until someone crosses the yellow line. Stay in your lane!

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
10 months ago

Great trails. Friendly service. Had a great time

11 months ago

Great trail. Takes a lot of agility with all the rocks. A lot of steady uphills that will work you pretty good. Beware it’s over 4.7 miles. I think I ended around 6 miles total.

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.

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