Climb Down into the Depths of Carlsbad Caverns

1.2 miles -2000 ft gain  - Point-to-Point Trail

Added by Lucas Pols

The Carlsbad Caverns show the true beauty of what nature can do with time. It is a stunning hike and a once in a lifetime experience.

The Carlsbad Caverns is an experience like no other. There is a seven mile scenic road that leads into the park, which will direct you towards the ranger station and entrance to the caves. The entrance to this road starts and ends in Whites City.

You have two options to enter the cave:
The first is from the natural entrance which will lead you down a steep slope that lasts a little more then a mile. This entrance is located about 1000 feet south of the ranger station and there is a path with signs that will direct you towards it as soon as you leave the station.

The second is taking the elevator straight down into the big room. The elevator is located inside the ranger station in the middle of the park. If you have trouble walking or cannot walk on steep slopes do not take the natural entrance because once you start there is no going back.

I chose to start at the natural entrance because you get views such as Devil's Spring and the walk is quite pleasant.

As you walk down you will pass on your right hand side Iceberg Rock as well as the scenic rooms that are ranger only guided. When the incline stops you'll have reached the start of the big room as well as the elevators back to the top and food and water.

Walking into the big room you will pass the hall of giants that contains the Giant Dome and Twin Domes. As you continue through the narrower part of the big room you will see the Temple of the Sun right before the room opens up. When you pass the Temple of the Sun the infamous chandelier appears and it is breathtaking to say the least. Continuing down the path you'll catch the Rock of Ages and the Painted Grotto before getting back to the start of the loop. This is a point-to-point hike if you choose to take the natural entrance in. Once you're finished exploring, you can take the elevator back up into the ranger station.

Plan on spending 3-4 hours on this trek!

Read More

Tags

Hiking
Adult Beverages
Bathrooms
Easy Parking

Reviews

Leave a Review

Overall rating: 

A hike like no other!

We left a bit later in the day not realizing that the hikes down into the caverns are cut off at 3PM for hikers going in(supposedly, we saw quite a few after 3). We were also a bit shocked to see just how many people there were! We went on a Saturday afternoon in August. Despite the large crowd, the Caverns were absolutely out of this world. We had seen on the nat. park website it gets down to 54 degrees in the caves so we decided layers were best. It was nice once we got to the bottom and the hard work was over, but carrying all the layers back up the trail was something I would plan for next time. I recommend not skimping on trail time at the bottom because there is a lot you'll want to just stop and stare at! The elevators are still not in service.

Completely exceeded expectations. Enter through the Natural Entrance if you have time.

I don't much care for caves and decided to make a quick detour to Carlsbad since we were in the area, and it blew me away. The heights and depths within the caves were astounding. We did the natural entrance in and out, and it took about 3 hours at a brisk pace. Walking in via the natural entrance takes around 45 minutes with lots of elevation change, so be prepared if you decide to do it. I would highly recommend going in the way, as it allows for stunning views of the caverns as you descend.

Worth Every Minute

Decided to take the natural entrance, which at the time was the only option because elevators were down. Be ready for a long walk that really makes you appreciate what the early cave explorers had to go through. You will lose track of time down there. Four hours that are absolutely worth every minute. Bring water.

Stay Nearby

Carlsbad, New Mexico

Carlsbad Koa

Nearby Adventures

  • Tour the Left Hand Tunnel in the Carlsbad Caverns

    The Carlsbad Caverns have a self-guided tour sections and a handful of guided tours you have to pay extra for.  For $7 for adults and $3.50 for children, a park ranger puts on an act and even dresses the part of the late Jim White, founder of the ...

  • Hike to McKittrick Ridge Campground

    This hike is not for the faint of heart or the out of shape. Bolstering 2000ft of elevation gain over 10 miles of rough terrain, this hike will challenge you but grant you an immense reward if you can persevere. Make sure you've packed plenty of w...

    20 miles 2000 ft gain

  • Hike the Smith Springs Trail

    Parked at the trail head of Frijoles Ranch. Started my hike on the paved trail to Manzanita springs. After that the trail winds trough desert landscape with numerous desert wildflowers in the early fall, The trail ends up at the base of the mounta...

    2.3 miles 400 ft gain

  • Walk the Pinery Trail.

    Park at the visitor center and start to walk the trail located at the north end of the visitor center. The trail is easy to walk and has very good views of the Park. There are a great variety of wildflowers along the trail during the summer. At th...

    1.2 miles