Carlsbad Caverns limestone column and delicate stalactites.

Carlsbad Caverns

Field review by the editors.

Whites City, New Mexico

This is everyone's idea of what a cave should be: quiet, clean, dry, flat, full of fantastic formations, high ceilings, and good lighting. It is the most uncavelike cave in America, which is probably why it's so popular. The one-mile self-guided path through the sprawling, 14-acre Big Room is perfect for mallwalking seniors.

Flowstone column.

There is no gum for sale anywhere on the property, and the tour guides make a point of having everyone spit out their gum before they enter the cave. "To keep from attracting animals into the cave in search of food," we are told.

Then, the first thing that we see when we step off the elevator (which isn't always in service) 750 feet below ground, is an 8,000-seat "Underground Lunchroom"! "The cleanest cafeteria in the world," the counterman assures us. "We clean everything in this place every night." Frankly, if we were an animal in the blistering heat of Carlsbad, we'd come down here at noon and eat a sandwich.

Shot glass candles.

In the Carlsbad Cavern's gift shop, the old shot glass souvenirs have been filled with wax and turned into holders for scented candles. Such is the fate of tourist attractions that are also World Heritage Sites.

Carlsbad Caverns

Address:
Carlsbad Cavern Hwy, Whites City, NM
Directions:
Fifteen miles southwest of Carlsbad on US Hwy 62 to White's City, then follow Carlsbad Cavern Hwy several miles up into the hills to the cave entrance.
Hours:
Daily 8-7, cave 8:30-5 (Call to verify) Local health policies may affect hours and access.
Phone:
575-785-2232
Admission:
Adults $10.
RA Rates:
Major Fun
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

Ten-Foot-Tall Green AliensTen-Foot-Tall Green Aliens, Whites City, NM - 4 mi.
Apache Canyon Trading PostApache Canyon Trading Post, Whites City, NM - 5 mi.
Flying Paper Boy of the GuadalupesFlying Paper Boy of the Guadalupes, Queen, NM - 17 mi.
In the region:
Project Gnome Atomic Explosion Site, Loving, NM - 34 mi.

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