Every year, it seems there’s a hot new travel destination that beckons to RVers from the travel blogs. But what about the tried-and-true wonders of nature, the ones that have thrilled and amazed since the first North American inhabitants peered into a cave, over a canyon rim or across a vast expanse of water? One of the most famous of those American wonders is Carlsbad Caverns National Park in southeastern New Mexico.
Since a sixteen year old cowboy wandered into the cave’s entrance in 1898, visitors have been fascinated by the enormous underground chambers, intricate soda straws, curtains and other rock formations and the wildlife that calls the caverns home.
It’s time for a new generation of families to discover why Carlsbad Caverns National Park is an ideal destination for their next RV camping adventure.
Where Will You Go, What Will You See?
If you’ve never come to Carlsbad Caverns, you may be surprised to find there are many ways to explore the caves. Guided tours led by park rangers show visitors the highlights of some of the major caverns. Two of the most popular—the King’s Palace and Left Hand Tunnel tours.
You can also venture on your own into some of the underground chambers. Here’s more detail on the self-guided tours.
Natural Entrance Tour
If you’re up for a demanding hike to the bottom (1.25 miles), this tour is the one for you. Active RV travelers will follow a twisting path down seven stories into the cave. Not a good choice for those with health issues, but there are plenty of other places to explore that don’t require such a hike. Good news—there are elevators at the bottom of the tour if trip down proves strenuous!
Big Room Tour
This mile-long circular route explores the largest underground cavern. A good choice for those with difficulty walking, this trip will take you past extraordinary sights like the Painted Grotto and the Giant Dome. Take the elevator to the starting point and be prepared to be thrilled at the colors and formations you’ll see.
No matter which tours you choose to take, keep an eye out for the enormous cave swallow flock that calls these caverns home! Throughout this vast desert park in the Guadalupe Mountains, you’re likely to see a wide range of reptiles, amphibians, mammals and birds.
Additional Information on Visiting Carlsbad Caverns
- Children under age four are not permitted on guided tours, strollers are not permitted on some routes. Be sure to check the link above for age restrictions.
- What to wear in the cave: it’s cool underground, so bring a jacket or sweater. Also, leave the flip-flops in the RV and wear comfortable, rubber-soled walking shoes to avoid slipping on the paths.
- If you’ve visited another cave recently, wear different shoes or be prepared for a quick cleaning process before you’re allowed into the cave.
- Reserve your tickets in advance for guided tours to avoid delays.
- Save time to take a hike on one of the Park’s nature trails surrounding the caverns—the Chihuahuan Desert is rich with secrets of its own!
- Join the crowd in the natural amphitheater at the entrance to the cave at dusk from May to October to watch the evening bat flight, when great swarms of bats leave the cave to hunt for insects.
From the Hall of the White Giant to mysterious Spider Cave (seen only by those willing to crawl along a subterranean passage) Carlsbad Caverns National Park is an eye-opening adventure. Traveling there by motorhome will make your trip even more memorable, thanks to the luxury and convenience it provides.
Wherever you decide to pick up an El Monte RV rental, isn’t it time to start planning your trip? Become part of the new generation of RV travelers to New Mexico to discover the awesome beauty of Carlsbad Caverns.