Spent several hours at Carlsbad Caverns yesterday. With getting into the caverns there are two ways of doing it–the elevator (which will take you down the 750 feet into the heart of the caverns), or you can walk in. The walk in is a little over a mile of winding down into the caves through the natural entrance of the cave (which has a small amphitheater in front of it, as this is also where the bats fly out come night fall). We walked in through the natural entrance, which was winding down through the caves and seeing numerous different formations. Then once we were in the main cavern–it was about another mile and a half path around that room.
One of the formations looked like either a rabid mole, or some other type of animal. Or at least I’m seeing something’s fangs and claws in the rock formation.
There were numerous people who were hiking quickly through the cave, if to say “I hiked through the caverns”. Having this mentality had them missing a lot of scenery–such as the ceiling. You could stop just about anywhere in the cavern and look up at the ceiling and see the spectacular formations hanging from the ceilings.
There were also numerous columns that looked like they were covered in an almost popcorn like mosaic. There were columns that looked similar, but there were also columns that looked nice and sharp, but others were smooth and round.
Then there was this structure that looked either like an old man sitting or an rocky “groot”.
The hike throughout the main cavern was almost unearthly, there were different formations throughout the entire the cave. There were also little pools of water throughout the cavern, and water dripping off the ceiling (no guano droppings in the main cavern), and then there were deep pits and pools that if you looked down–all you will see is pitch black (I tried to take a picture, and it is all black–because you can’t see the bottom, and there is no light to illuminate the bottom).
There are numerous things that one can do at the park. There is of course the main cavern, that you can walk through at your own pace (which you can enter through either the elevator or walking in through the natural entrance). There are also guided tours that you can sign up for. I’d though of doing one–but with going on the weekend there are only two that are offered–and you have to be there at least thirty minutes before the tour is suppose to happen. I didn’t make it on one–because (1) I was walking through the main cavern, and (2) didn’t know how long the tour would last (they last basically about 5 1/2 hours). So now that I know the time frame for doing an guided tour, next time I come–I may try to get on a guided tour and see some of the other caverns that you can’t see on your own.
Other things include going on the loop drive. This is an nine and a half mile drive (Walnut Canyon Desert Drive) that takes you through the mountains. We didn’t see any wildlife (though there was the telltale sound of a rattlesnake at the rattlesnake canyon overlook). There were flowers and numerous other things flowering, and towering mesas (or small mountains). We saw swallows, and the occasional insect buzzing through quickly (I think there were one or two small butterflies).
There were hiking paths, throughout the area (but with the temperatures and the fact that one of the paths was called rattlesnake canyon trail–I didn’t try to hike any of them this time around). There was another drive that one could do–you had to leave the park, drive south a little, and then get on an unpaved trail to the slaughter canyon cave (and there were two hiking trails that headed off from there)–we didn’t do this one–again, something to try to do next time down to the caverns.
The park is something that one can be done within a day (if you just do the main cavern and maybe the walnut canyon desert drive). I’d like to try an hike on one of the trails (but would need to make sure that I had everything one would need to for hiking through a desert/arid area).
Loved the park, and would highly recommend it to anyone who is looking for a national park to visit, and one especially if you enjoy an geological unique area.