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Carlsbad, New Mexico

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Park: #12

Established: 1930

Acres: 46,766

Annual Budget: $5,231,000 (FY 2004)

Visitation: 416,815 (FY 2004)

Highlights: Interesting desert plant life, mountainous terrain, expansive vistas, awesome colorful cave formations, more than 100 known caves, possesses one of the world's largest underground chambers called the Big Room.

Lowlights: Low lighting conditions within the cave make it hard to capture the experience in pictures.

Location: Carlsbad Caverns National Park

Hours: Open every day except for December 25. Click here for more information.

Phone: 505.785.2232

Cave Admission: Self-guided tours - $6.00 adults, $3.00 kids, audio guides $3.00. Guided tours - $8.00 adults, $4.00 children.

NPS Website:

Addl Website:

Top Pics: 43 Images

Personal Rating:   (5 thumb max)

Nestled deep within the Guadalupe Mountains of southeastern New Mexico, Carlsbad Caverns National Park is one of America's most unique National Parks, as attested to by its wonderful underground treasures of seemingly endless passageways, coupled with its fascinating, and at times, colorful cave decorations. Initially established as a National Monument in 1923, then redesignated as a National Park in 1930, Carlsbad Caverns contains over 100 separate cave systems and proudly holds bragging rights to the nation's deepest and third longest limestone cave.

the origins of the geological miracle trace back 250 million years with the formation of a 400 mile reef, located within the confines of an inland sea that has long since drained and disappeared. A few million years ago, the combined efforts of both erosion and geological activity exposed the reef to the surface, and in the process, slightly acidic rainwater worked its magic. Over time, the rock-eating precipitation slowly dissolved portions of the limestone reef, creating the beautiful caverns that are surprisingly huge, considering the root cause is something as seemingly benign as dripping water.

Due to their innate beauty and antiquity, the caverns are a popular tourist destination. For those who visit, tour offerings come in two flavors, guided and self-guided. Access to the caverns can be made directly from the Visitors Center via a 750 foot elevator ride, or via the cave's natural entrance, located a short distance from the Visitors Center. Aside from the caverns below, Carlsbad Caverns National Park offers an wide variety of noteworthy sights above ground as well.

Hey, I'm about to enter the park now, come along with me as I make haste to investigate both its above and below ground offerings.

Description & Pics

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