Carlsbad Caverns National Park
I am going to be honest, I was not expecting too much from CCNP. Growing up less than two hours from Mammoth Cave, I thought, “You’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all!” WRONG! Carlsbad Caverns was awesome!
On Day 7, as I stated in my previous post, I was going to explore Guadalupe Mountains, but there were bad storms in the forecast. I already had purchased a tour for Day 8, so I decided to do the self guided tour at CCNP. The self guided tour is free with your National Parks pass and took me about an hour to two hours to walk the entire path. I took the Natural Entrance into the caverns and the elevators back up. However, you can take the elevator both up and down is you do not want to walk 750ft down.
On Day 8, I woke up early and headed to start the Ranger led tour I had purchased. I decided to go on the Lower Cave Tour, and I am SO glad that I did! The tour lasted around three hours total and the Rangers were extremely knowledgable about the cave. For this cave, everyone is required to wear sturdy ankle boots (must bring your own), and a helmet with a headlamp and gloves (provided) the entire time.
To start the tour, you must use a knotted rope and walk backwards down 15 ft of smooth flowstone. After this, there are three sets of ladders that take you an additional 50 ft down. I did not have a problem with the rope or the ladders, but some of the other people on the tour did freak out a little bit because of the way the ladders were angled.
Once off the ladders, the tour begins! I am not going to go into detail of the tour, because it is something you all just need to get out and experience! I do highly recommend this tour if you are planning a visit to Carlsbad Caverns. There were no sections that required crawling, but there was an optional route you can take where you get to crawl, and of course we all did!!! A man on the tour also spoke highly of the Left Hand Tunnel Tour, which is another ranger led tour where everyone uses lanterns instead of head lamps.
I do not think you could wrong with any tour at Carlsbad Caverns! Just make sure you arrive early for the tours and wear the appropriate footwear, or they will NOT let you participate in the tour.
Until next time, peace!