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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17 days 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.

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?

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
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.

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!

Great trails. Friendly service. Had a great time

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.

hiking
7 months ago

Easy to follow for the most part. Also able to knock it out in less than 2 hrs. I recommend early morning or afternoon

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.

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!!

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

best cave I've ever visited!

trail running
9 months ago

Pretty awesome trail, did not expect to find something like this in the Carlsbad area. I did some trail running but as a mountain biker, I'd say this would be a pretty good mtb trail with several technical sections. Trail is actually much longer than what's listed. I ran 6.5 and actually probably cut off a couple more miles. There is a pretty long loop to the south of what the map shows. It's in lower, flatter country but still pretty enjoyable. Would be more appropriate for beginner mountain bikers, runners, etc. There don't seem to be many bailout options down there though. Would like to try to find some way to upload my loop...

hiking
9 months ago

I went on this hike on Friday after cave tours in Carlsbad Caverns Natl Park. If you are going to spend the time taking the one way gravel scenic drive I suggest this hike. I did this and part of Rattlesnake Canyon, Rattlesnake is at stop 9/18 and then Juniper Ridge is stop 15/18 so it breaks it up for some nice hiking during the drive.
You follow cairns the whole way and it's a good steady climb, pay attention to the cairns, cacti, and get some nice panorama pics from the top. I also happened to see 5 deer and was able to watch them gallop and hop for about 200 yards out on the ridge, quite a sight.
HUGE winds as I got to the top of the ridge, bring an extra layer!

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.

Was an awesome experience in this np cave.

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