Carlsbad Caverns National Park

Carlsbad Caverns National Park

Visit Carlsbad Caverns for a Spooky Adventure

October 16, 2009, 10:14 am
Celebrate the delightful spookiness of Halloween this month with a visit to a national park that is full of dark caves and crawling with bats—Carlsbad Caverns National Park. Established to preserve Carlsbad Cavern and numerous other caves within a Permian-age fossil reef, the park contains more than 100 known caves, including Lechuguilla Cave, the nation's deepest (1,567 feet) and third-longest limestone cave. Carlsbad Cavern, which boasts one of the world's largest underground chambers and countless formations, is highly accessible and offers a variety of tours year-round.
 
Each evening in the summer, nearly 400,000 hungry Brazilian free-tail bats head out from Carlsbad Cavern to dine on tasty, unsuspecting insects! October is your last chance to view this macabre feast before the bats migrate south for the winter.
 
Prior to the free evening bat flight, a National Park Service ranger will lead an interpretive program at the mouth of the cavern. The talk coincides with the setting of the sun, so it’s best to call the park at (505) 785-3012 just before your trip or check at the visitor center for the exact time. Don’t put off your trip too long—the last of the bats generally depart before the end of the month.
 
Your Halloween-inspired trip to the Carslbad Caverns wouldn’t be complete without a descent into its cool, dark caves. (The annual average temperature is a chilly 56°F!) With a light jacket or sweater and comfortable rubber-soled shoes, explore the caves with a professional guide or go it alone.
 
If you’re feeling brave and decide to explore the caves on your own, begin at the basic cavern entry and follow one of two self-guided routes—the Big Room Route and the Natural Entrance Route. Tickets are sold at the visitor center every day except December 25. Entrance fee tickets are good for three days but do not include guided or other special tours.
 
If you think that joining a group will help keep the goblins at bay, consider taking a guided tour. With names like Kings Palace, Left Hand Tunnel, Slaughter Canyon Cave, Lower Cave, Hall of the White Giant, Spider Cave, you’re in for a scare!  Make reservations by calling (877) 444-6777 or by visiting the Recreation.gov website.
 
For more information on planning your visit to Carlsbad Caverns National Park, click here.