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Explore the Depths of New Mexico Camping in Carlsbad Caverns National Park
Carlsbad Caverns National Park offers a little bit of everything desert, from rocky slopes and canyons to cacti and thorny shrubs. But lying beneath the desert are 117 known caves waiting to be explored. The caves formed when sulfuric acid melted away the limestone, creating vast caves with wonderful and unique formations. Carlsbad Caverns National Park was established first as a National Monument in 1923 and was upgraded to a National Park in 1930. With its unique and enticing underground caverns, Carlsbad Caverns National Park is a wonderful New Mexico camping destination.
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While the weather in Carlsbad Caverns National Park depends on the time of the year, the caves tend to remain around a mild 55 degrees year round. Above ground temperatures tend to be cold and dry in winter with occasional snow. Summers can be very hot, reaching over 100 degrees. Lightning storms are not uncommon during summer months. Fall is a good time to visit the park as the weather tends to be mild and predictable. There is a $6 entrance fee for anyone over 15, while children 15 and under are free. The interagency annual pass for $80 will grant access into almost any national park. It is important to know that children under the age of 3 are not allowed on any of the guided cave tours and anyone under 16 must be accompanied by an adult. There are some self guided tours available for the caves and there is a fee. Guided tours are offered year round and cost half price for anyone under 15.
There is plenty to do while visiting Carlsbad Caverns National Park, from hiking and cave exploring, bat watching and more. The Big Room is a one mile self-guided walk. There is an audio guided available which offers a lot of history and knowledge about the cave. The self guided tour takes about an hour and a half and an elevator ride is required to enter the cave.
There are many exciting features within the Big Room from the Bottomless Pit and the Giant Dome to the Rock of the Ages and the Painted Grotto. The Natural Entrance Route is an excellent self guided tour cave better left to those in good shape. It is a strenuous adventure through a very old cave. Guided tours are offered through many caves from the Kings Palace to the Left Hand Tunnel. Guided tours range in difficulty from walking on a dirt path to crawling through tight cave passages, meaning there is something for everyone. Many bats also call the caves home, leading to a bat flight program. There are programs for the dusk leaving of bats, as well as the dawn return. Programs are subject to weather, and are generally scheduled between Memorial weekend through mid October. There are also many hiking trails that allow for the exploration of the desert areas of Carlsbad Caverns National Park. The park is also excellent for night sky viewings, and the park offers many Star Party events. This program offers an excellent view of nocturnal animals, starry skies and extensive cultural history. Regardless of what you enjoy doing, Carlsbad Caverns National Park has a lot to offer.
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