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Carlsbad Caverns National Park

The American southwest is thought to be an inhospitable desert by most that travel through it; however some of the wonders are in the amazing caverns underneath the prickly pear cacti and mesquite.One of the most beautiful places I’ve ever traveled was when living in the south western part of the United States in Albuquerque New Mexico for five years, where fortunately we took the time to look the place over quite thoroughly.

The national park was dedicated by President Calvin Coolidge in the early 1920’s, Carlsbad Caverns explored by Jim White, who gave many of the caverns and formations their names, are the primary attraction for visitors. The flat plains of western Texas desert and cacti give way to the plateau where this unique national park is located. The nearest lodging is in Whites city, located some seven miles from the cavern entrance.
Carlsbad Caverns has two entrances, an elevator and the natural trail leading a half mile further that passes close by the main entrance. Most visitors take the elevator down over seven hundred feet to the Underground Lunch room and proceed on the tour from there.

Children under three years of age are not allowed on guided tours and an adult over eighteen years of age is required to accompany anyone under the age of sixteen. There are three tours, two of them are self guided. The first place for visitors to stop is at the information desk where tickets are purchased for any of the tours based on interest, time and physical ability.
The Big Room tour covers one thousand eight hundred feet long, just over one mile and takes approximately an hour to pass the famous features like the Giant Dome, Rock of Ages, Painted Grotto and the Bottomless Pit. This is the easiest route for most visitors who need a fairly level surface and well illuminated trails to see some of the wonders that Carlsbad Caverns has in store. It is wheelchair accessible and special maps are available at the visitor’s center.
The second of the self guided tours is the Natural Entrance Route, which follows the traditional route early explorers chose in exploring the caverns. It is more strenuous then the Big Room tour, and requires more time and those choosing this tour need to be in good physical shape. Descending over seven hundred feet into the earth through the main corridor, visitors eventually end up in the underground rest area, having seen the Bat Cave, Boneyard, Devil’s Spring among other amazing formations of limestone rock formed over the ages. One outstanding landmark is the Iceberg Rock, which weighs over 200,000 tons.
The guided tours offer several different routes and rooms to visit, each with different levels of difficulty and challenge, most require that visitors be in excellent physical condition. There are also tours by vehicle of the wilderness area and scenic spots of the high desert area near Carlsbad Caverns.


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