carlsbad caverns cavern

Carlsbad Caverns (8th Wonder of the World?)

The entrance to the Carlsbad Caverns park is in White’s City (can be spelled Whites City too), New Mexico along U.S. Highway 62/180, about 20 miles (32 km) south of Carlsbad, New Mexico. There is one lodging option available in White’s City NM. It is a motel and RV Park. The property is an older property founded by Charlie White in the early 1900’s. Contrary to popular belief, White’s City was not founded by the credited discoverer of Carlsbad Caverns, James (Jim) Larkin White and there is no record of any relationship between Jim and Charlie. This is a convenient location to The Carlsbad Caverns and The Guadalupe National Mountains Park. You are able to visit the Caverns in the day and easily return to see the bats come out of the caves at dusk, as it’s about 10 minutes or less up the road. I stayed here for two nights, allowing for a visit to the Caverns on the first day and second day visited Guadalupe National Mountains which is known for its hiking and views. Food and dining options are limited so plan ahead. There is a gas station, though it was not open when I was there and needed to backtrack to Carlsbad to fill up on gas. From White’s City to Big Bend National Park, it would be about 250 miles until the next station.

Reservations are required to go in the caverns. You can do this by going online . There a self-guided and Park Ranger led tours. The Park ranger tour was sold out, so it would be the self guided tour for me. Plan in advance, I believe the Park Ranger Tour would be well worth it. You have the option of taking the elevator down to the Big Room Trail or you can take the ¼ mile paved trail from the natural entrance of the cave. The walk into the cave is worth the extra time and energy. The Big Room of the cave is appropriately named, I couldn’t believe there was more. The cave is more like an underground city. A must see and could easily spend three or four hours, especially if you choose to walk in and out. I took the elevator out!

At Dusk there is a ranger led presentation on the Bats leaving the caves. For the protection of the bats you are not allowed to photos them exiting. It was quite a site to see. And yes, I do my best to follow the rules. In the daytime there are cave swallows that fly around the cave eating their meal. At dusk the bats come out for diner, the starlings go away. The ranger referred this to the day shift and the night shift. I though that was cute. The night before I saw the bats emerge there was a very wise owl, waiting for the bats to emerge, and he successfully obtained his bat dinner for the night. He did not appear the following evening.

They came out of the cave in groups and flew in circular motion around the cave and then flew off into the night, allowing the next group of bats to emerge. This went on for about forty-five minutes.

Carlsbad Cavern is 8.2 acres, one of the largest caves in the park by surveyed length:
The Big Room is 8.2 acres (3.3 hectares) — the largest, readily accessible cave chamber in North America.
It was worth the trip and I would return again.

Your traveling gal,