Our home happens to be in the DFW area of Texas but as so many families experience, my husband works during the week out of town to provide a comfortable living for us. (Thanks Honey!) While most weekends he comes home, sometimes we head to visit him and experience all the fun sights and attractions near his work home.
Since he is located about 90 miles from the Texas/New Mexico border we decided to take on a day of adventure to Carlsbad Caverns in Carlsbad, New Mexico. Plus the fact that we were entering a new time zone really had my son excited. It's the little things for him I guess but hey, whatever makes the trip more exciting is just fine with me!
Each year Carlsbad Caverns plays host to around 300,000 visitors. Located about 27 miles from the city of Carlsbad, the caverns lie in the Guadalupe Mountains just beneath the Chihuahuan Desert. The drive into the park was absolutely beautiful!
When we arrived at the visitors center we purchased our tickets and were given the option to walk into the entrance of the cave via the Natural Entrance Trail which is a steep 1 1/4 mile descent (equivalent to 79 stories) or take the elevator down. We chose to take the elevator and leave the all the descending to the adventurers! Once we exited the elevator and were inside the cave, our exploration began.
Carlsbad Caverns offers several guided options which range from walking on paved trails to walking rough dirt trails and even crawling through narrow cave passages. For us personally, we decided it was best to take the self-guided tour through the 1 /1/4 trail. This allowed us to take our time and enjoy our surroundings. Inside the cave it stays a constant 56 degrees Fareinheit so be sure to bring along a light jacket or hoodie. It is also best to wear a comfortable pair of shoes (flip-flops not recommended).
We have visited a few caves in Texas before but I was impressed as soon as we set foot inside Carlsbad Caverns. The size of the cave is quite magnificient! It still boggles my mind that a treasure like this is just underneath the desert surface. There are more than 119 known limestone caves within the park all created by sulfuric acid. This is different than most limestone caves that normally are formed with carbonic acid. That is just one interesting fact we learned but there is so much more to this cave. The speleothems were really awesome to see. If you have a little aspiring geologist, they will love making a visit to Carlsbad Caverns.
As I mentioned earlier, be sure to take a jacket and wear a comfortable pair of shoes. Small children may get tired along this journey of over a mile, but there are short-cuts and even bathroom facilities inside the cave. There is also an underground café in case you get hungry. Just remember that you can't take food with you while walking inside the cave. You can plan your trip and learn more about Carlsbad Caverns HERE
Have fun on your visit!
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