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Marveling at underground formations in Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico
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  • States:
    New Mexico

Explore New Mexico’s caves and caverns, a window into the state’s natural history and cultural heritage.

Marvel at the magnificence of volcanic activity that created some cave sites, and check out others carved deep into stone by ancient cultures using primitive tools. The wonders of New Mexico’s caves and caverns can be appreciated equally by those eager for an easy trek underground or adventurers who welcome vigorous hikes to remote locales. While the jewels in these places are the caves, you’ll equally enjoy wandering the landscapes above ground and visiting nearby towns.

Carlsbad Caverns National Park

This national park near the city of Carlsbad is home to the state’s famous Bat Flight Amphitheater. From spring through fall, catch the spectacular show when Brazilian free-tailed bats leave the cavern at sunset each day to hunt for insects. The colony returns just before dawn to dive back into the cave. There are more than 100 caves in the park, and visitors can explore a variety of them by themselves or on ranger-led excursions. A park highlight is choosing from two trails – a short 45-minute trek or the longer 90-minute option – to get to the park’s most-visited place, the Big Room. You’ll marvel at underground formations and artifacts that include a rope ladder from the 1920s.

Otherworldly underground formations in Carlsbad Caverns National Park

Otherworldly underground formations in Carlsbad Caverns National Park
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