Carlsbad Caverns: A quirky national park

I love national parks, but as amazing as they are, I wouldn’t usually describe them as “quirky.” Carlsbad Caverns is an exception. This place is freaky. The limestone cavern goes 750 feet down into the ground, with all sorts of odd formations of stalagmites and stalactites.

Carlsbad Caverns welcome sign

When you decide to visit the caverns in southern New Mexico, you have to decide which path to take. You can take the elevator down into the Big Room or the Kings Palace room, or you can take the Natural Entrance route, where you follow an established, winding paved path down to the bottom.

Carlsbad Cavern tours routes map

Of course, we opted for the natural walking route. The entrance is intimidating as you see the dark cavern awaiting you.

Carlsbad Caverns entrance outside

It looks just as cool when you go inside and look back up. And there are indeed bats flying around.

Carlsbad Caverns entrance inside

Once you get a few feet in, the light disappears and you are guided only by dim lights along the path.

Carlsbad Caverns inside dark

And then it was down into the cavernous spaces.

Carlsbad Caverns big room

Some of the formations look like icicles.

Carlsbad Caverns icicles

There’s a cafe in the basement where they advertise that you can “Eat lunch 750 feet underground!!” But the food looked shoddy – it was mostly cold sandwiches and perhaps food you could microwave. We chose to eat decent food above ground rather than settling for that crap 750 feet down.

The temperature in the cave has a nice chill, at a constant 56 degrees. There is water dripping all over the place.

Carlsbad Caverns dripping

It’s really impressive to see formations that are thousands of years old.

Carlsbad formations

Carlsbad Caverns was a fun place to visit and a nice cool environment in the middle of the desert.

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About Scott Shetler

Scott is a Chicago-based journalist and blogger who seeks out quirky sights and awesome destinations throughout North America and beyond.

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