Summer heat typically still lingers throughout September, which is why it was nice to dip down underground to a cooler environment in Carlsbad Caverns National Park. There isn’t anywhere to stay for the night in the National Park, so we drove for several hours in the early morning from Midland Texas across the New Mexico border and to Carlsbad Caverns.
The cave climate is cool and varies little from the annual 56°F (13°C) average temperature. A light jacket or sweater, and comfortable shoes with rubber soles for good traction are appropriate year-round. The 110-plus caves of Carlsbad Caverns National Park were carved out not by running water and streams like many limestone caves in the world, rather these caves were dissolved by very aggressive sulfuric acid.
The Big Room and Main Corridor can be wandered around freely at one’s own pace, but other caves require a tour (which costs a bit extra).
It was difficult to get good pictures because of how dark it was inside—made me wish I had my tripod with me.
In the entrance there is a very 70s looking souvenir centre and place to purchase and eat snacks. My dad, Greg and I stopped for bit just to get the full experience. Plus, the other —real café—was hundreds of miles above us (or so it seemed).
Information about Entrance to Caverns:
Fall/Winter/Spring hours: September 4, 2012 – May 23, 2013
Last Cavern Entry:
Via Natural Entrance: 2 p.m.
Via elevator: 3:30 p.m.
Visitor Center Open: 8 a.m. -5 p.m.
Summer extended hours: May 25, 2012 – September 3, 2012
Last Cavern Entry:
Via Natural Entrance: 3:30 p.m.
Via elevator: 5 p.m.
Visitor Center Open: 8 a.m. -7 p.m.
I would recommend the caverns for children above 8 and for able-bodied adults. There’s a lot of walking, especially if you decide to go on a guided tour in addition to the self-guided caves.