New Mexico Carlsbad Caverns National Park map and highlights

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New Mexico Carlsbad Caverns National Park map and highlights

Map of Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico
Detailed guide of Carlsbad Caverns National Park In southeastern New Mexico, near Carlsbad.     
Carlsbad Caverns National Park In southeastern New Mexico, near Carlsbad.     
The underground passageways of Carlsbad Cavern contain an  incomparable realm of huge subterranean chambers, trickling icicle  forests of stalactites and stalagmites, and beautiful cave formations.  The main attractions aren't just the enormous caverns—which include the  nation's deepest limestone cave (1,597 feet); this is also the haunt for  thousands of Mexican free-tail bats, who stream out in black clouds  from a crevasse at dusk. More than 70 smaller caves are also threaded  beneath the desert and rocky cliff faces; there's even a theater and  cafeteria inside the chambers. The park was proclaimed Carlsbad Cave  National Monument on October 25, 1923, established as Carlsbad Caverns  National Park on May 14, 1930, and became a World Heritage Site on  December 6, 1995.     
WHAT TO SEE & DO     
Attending bat-flight programs, hiking, picnicking, touring  caves. Facilities: Visitor center, guided tours, hiking trails.  Book-and-gift shop. Programs & Events: Daily ranger-guided tours.  Evening bat programs (May-Oct). Bat Flight Breakfast Program (2nd  Thurs., Aug.), Founders Day (Aug. 25). Tips & Hints: Go Mar.-late  Oct. to see bats. It's damp and very chilly inside the caves; wear  rubber-soled shoes and bring jacket or sweater. Be prepared for 75-story  descent on Natural Entrance Route. Reservations recommended for cave  tours; call the visitor center, which will direct inquiries to  reservations service. Busiest June and July, least crowded in Nov. and  Jan.     
FOOD & LODGING     
Camping: None at site. Backcountry camping available (permit  required, see below).  Hotels: None in park. In White's City: Best  Western Cavern Inn-Guadalupe Inn (17 Carlsbad Caverns Hwy., tel. 505/  785-2291; 105 rooms; $65-$100). In Carlsbad: Holiday Inn (601 S. Canal  St., tel. 505/885-8500; 100 rooms; $80). X Restaurants: In the park:  Restaurant in visitor center (tel. 505/785-2281), lunchroom in cave. In  Carlsbad: Furr's Family Dining (901 S. Canal St., tel. 505/885-0430;  $6), Red Chimney (817 N. Canal St., tel. 505/885-8744; $7-$9; closed  weekends).     
Carlsbad Caverns National Park guide. Detailed guide of Carlsbad Caverns National Park In southeastern New Mexico, near Carlsbad.     
Far right, top: Carlsbad Caverns National Park conducts a number of tours through the dark, vast reaches of the cave.     
Far right, middle: The park has thousands of limestone stalactites and stalagmites for visitors to see.     
Below: The rock formations of the Chinese Temple impress park vistors with their delicacy.
      
Carlsbad Caverns, New Mexico     
Established: 1930   Acreage: 46,755     
In the 1800s settlers discovered Carlsbad Cavern, drawn to it  by the spectacle of hundreds of thousands of bats rising up out of the  natural entrance in the evening. Not surprisingly, many were skeptical  about the natural wonders of this huge, underground wilderness full of  unusual cave formations.     
The decoration of Carlsbad Cavern with stalactites,  stalagmites, helictites and an amazing variety of other formations began  over 500,000 years ago, after much of the cavern had been carved out.  It happened slowly, drop by drop, at a time when a wetter, cooler  climate prevailed. The creation of each formation depended on water that  dripped or seeped down into the limestone bedrock and into the cave.  Where water dripped slowly from the ceiling, soda straws and larger  stalactites appeared. Water falling on the floor created stalagmites.  Draperies were hung where water ran down a slanted ceiling.     
Carlsbad Caverns is a sanctuary for about 300,000 Mexican  free-tail bats. During the day they crowd together on the ceiling of Bat  Cave, a passageway near the natural entrance. At night the bats leave  the cave in huge swarms. At first a few bats flutter out of the cave,  but soon the sky is darkened as a thick whirlwind of bats spiral out the  cave. Once out of the cave, the bats fly toward the southeast to feed  in the Pecos and Black River valleys. As dawn approaches, the bats head  back, individually or in small groups. The bats migrate from Mexico to  the caverns every year to give birth and raise their young.     
Visitors can tour the underground chambers of the cavern,  including the Big Room. Measuring 1800 feet at its longest, 1100 feet at  its widest and 255 feet at its highest, the Big Room is one of the  world's largest underground chambers. Some other highlights of the tour  are crystal clear Mirror Lake and the Bottomless Pit, a black hole 140  feet deep. Above ground, visitors can take the nine and a half mile  scenic drive through the dramatic desert landscape or hike along the  backcountry trails.   
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