"Carlsbad Caverns, New Mexico" Carlsbad Caverns National Park by MarkJochim
Carlsbad Caverns National Park Travel Guide: 152 reviews and 377 photos
Carlsbad Caverns is probably the most visited tourist site in all of New Mexico. More than 85 caves underlie the park, two of which — Carlsbad Caverns and Lechuguilla Cave — are among the largest and most magnificent underground formations in the world.
Carlsbad Caverns is actually a Permian-age fossil reef. Over a period of millions of years, sulfuric acid ate away at fissures in underground limestone and fossil shelves that were at one time under a vast sea. At undetermined dates partial cave-ins occurred and created immense underground chambers, like the Big Room — 25 stories high and a third of a mile wide.
The National Park is also home to the Carlsbad Caverns Wilderness Area, which at 33,000 acres boasts enough hiking trails to keep you busy for an afternoon, or a week. The park is part of the northern Chihuahuan Desert ecosystem, where grassland vegetation and desert shrub give way to pine woodlands at the highest elevations. You'll find a dazzling palette of desert flowers if you set out after a recent rainstorm. Wildlife abounds-with luck, you may see golden eagles, red-tailed hawks, even elk or cougar tracks.
I have many wonderful memories of visiting Carlsbad Caverns while on family vacations in the 1970s (when we lived in western Texas). I also remember seeing slides of visits my father made to the park in the 1950s while serving with the U.S. Army at Fort Bliss; this was before he returned to California and married my mother.
Unfortunately, I haven't yet been able to return to Carlsbad since moving to Albuquerque. I hope to get down there some day soon!
Spider Cave is a three-dimensional maze cave, a caver's paradise. Even veteran cavers will enjoy this... more travel advice
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