Carlsbad Caverns: “The Grand Canyon with a Roof Over It.”

Aptly named by Will Rogers, these Caverns underneath the Guadalupe Mouintains are some of the deepest, largest and most majestic caves ever discovered.

The Big Room

Originally an ocean, the limestone reef stood 6 stories high in some places as the sea receded revealing a dazzling array of stalactites, stalagmites and other glittering formations. A wide panorama of “jewels” can be seen in rooms named the Kings Palace, the Bottomless Pit, the Giant Dome, Rock of Ages and of course The Big Room.

Map of the caverns.

Cave scientists have explored over 30 miles of passageways to date, but only 3 of these miles are open to visitors.  It is a 1 ½ mile descent, and while many take the elevator back up, a few in our party trekked back up again.

Many feel the most spectacular site is when more than a quarter million Brazillian bats in the summer spiral up out of the mouth of the cave at sunset to search for insec

 

A quarter million bats make their home in the caverns.

You can travel there year around and the cave stays a constant temperature of 56 degrees.  The park is off US  62/180, 20 miles southwest of Carlsbad and 164 miles east of El Paso, Texas.

Sources: National Geographic Travels, National Park Service

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