Saturday, April 5, 2014

Carlsbad Caverns National Park

We're staying in West Texas and decided to take a side trip to Carlsbad Caverns NP in New Mexico. The last time Denise and I were here was in 1977 - on our honeymoon! The cave hasn't changed much. It's still the most impressive cave we've ever seen with huge rooms and amazing formations.

Big stalagmites in Carlsbad Caverns
We decided to retrace our steps from 37 years ago and walk down rather than take the elevator. Here is the view down into the entrance to the cave. To get the "Big Room" you walk down 1.25 miles and 754 vertical feet. 

Looking down into the entrance

Looking back up to the natural light at the entrance

The walk down took about 45 minutes and we encountered several large rooms along the way. We passed from one room to another, linked by passageways, until we entered "The Big Room", a natural limestone chamber which is almost 4,000 feet long, 625 feet wide and 225 feet high. That's 8.2 acres!!

The entrance to the Big Room
The walk down is pretty easy, and then you walk around the "Big Room" for another mile and spot amazing spelotherms (aka cave formations). Here are a few - pictures don't do them justice.

"Whale's Mouth" - aptly named

These look like mushrooms to me

More spelotherms 
The ambience in the cave is hushed - the lighting is low and people are encouraged to whisper. We were lucky because it wasn't that crowded. When you are done with the self-guided tour you take an elevator up 754 feet to the visitor center. 

We also stopped at another National Park nearby - Guadalupe Mountains NP. Not as impressive but still very interesting and worth a stop.

Guadalupe Mountains NP
Two national parks in one day is a good day. We especially enjoyed retracing our steps from our first visit to Carlsbad Caverns in 1977. 

1 comment:

  1. Hi, it was very informative post.I think Carlsbad Caverns National Park is home to some of the most amazing caves in the whole of the United States. These caverns are beautiful and stunning in places, and interesting and creepy in others.

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