The world that exists deep below the surface in Carlsbad Caverns National Park is a subterranean marvel. Created slowly over the millennia, its beautiful formations awe visitors year-round. Considered by many as the Eighth Wonder of the World, it is one of twenty World Heritage Sites in the United States. Visitors walking through the cave […]

727 Carlsbad Caverns Highway Carlsbad NM 88220 USA
Carlsbad Caverns National Park
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Carlsbad Caverns National Park

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727 Carlsbad Caverns Highway, Carlsbad, NM
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The world that exists deep below the surface in Carlsbad Caverns National Park is a subterranean marvel. Created slowly over the millennia, its beautiful formations awe visitors year-round. Considered by many as the Eighth Wonder of the World, it is one of twenty World Heritage Sites in the United States. Visitors walking through the cave today are seeing but a snapshot of the area’s geologic history. Cavern development began about 250 million years ago when a reef formed along the edge of an inland sea. The sea eventually evaporated and left the reef buried under deposits of gypsum and salts.

Then, 20 to 30 million years later, the Guadalupe Mountains were uplifted thousands of feet above sea level, fracturing the ancient reef. Rainwater percolated down from the surface and mixed with hydrogen sulfide-rich brine from local oil and gas deposits to form sulfuric acid. This very strong acid carved out the large rooms and passageways that exist today. Finally, about 500,000 years ago, after groundwater levels had dropped, the slow process of speleothem – stalactites, stalagmites, and flowstone – formation began with a single drop of water. Drop by drop…billions and billions of drops later, park visitors marvel at these monuments of time.

Recommended Lodging

  • Tritity
    Trinity Hotel, 201 S. Canal, Carlsbad, NM
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    The Trinity building was built in 1892 as the First National Bank, where it once housed the first newspaper and later became the historic headquarters of the Carlsbad Irrigation District

  • La Quinta Inn
    La Quinta Inn and Suites, 4020 National Parks Hwy, Carlsbad, NM
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    Dedicated to and guided by our core values, our team is passionate about making La Quinta your favorite choice.

  • Towne Place Suites
    TownePlace Suites by Marriott, 901 S. Canal St., Carlsbad, NM
    View on Map

There are a variety of cave tours available at the park – and at a comfortable 56F year-round, Carlsbad Caverns is an exciting place to spend the day anytime of the year. Self-guided tours of the cave allow visitors to enjoy the cave at their own pace. Elevators are available for those who do not feel up to the 750-foot descent of the Natural Entrance that traces the steps of Carlsbad Caverns early explorers. Ranger-guided tours vary from walking on a paved trail through the highly decorated King’s Palace to crawling and squeezing through tight passages while getting dirty on the Hall of the White Giant and Spider Cave tours.

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