Park Hours - Summer
Visitor Center - Opens: 8:00 am - Closes: 7:00 pm
Big Room Route - Opens: 8:30 am - Last Entry: 5:00 pm
Natural Entrance Route - Opens: 8:30 am - Last Entry: 3:30 pm
Park Hours - All Other Times
Visitor Center - Opens: 8:00 am - Closes: 5:30 pm
Big Room Route - Opens: 8:30 am - Last Entry: 3:30 pm
Natural Entrance Route - Opens: 8:30 am - Last Entry: 2:00 pm
The visitor center includes a ticket sales area, restrooms, a bookstore, a gift shop, kennels, and a coffee shop. The coffee shop is open during visitor center hours. There is no service in the evening, when the Bat Flight program is taking place. The restaurant has a private dining room available for large parties, but it must be reserved in advance.Call 505-785-2281.
There is a small cafeteria-style restaurant in the Underground Rest Area, which sells box lunches and snack items. Large groups can also eat here comfortably. The large gift shop offers a wide range of gifts and souvenir items. There is also a small selection of souvenir items in the Underground Rest Area. Both gift shops sell film and batteries, but offer a limited selection.
The kennel is open every day during regular visitor center hours and has space for about 30 pets. The fee is $4.00 per pet. Each animal has its own cage and the room is air-conditioned. Please never leave your animals in cars or RVs, heat can be deadly even with a window cracked.
The visitor center features exhibits on bats, geology, cave restoration, and park history. There is also a children's exhibit which includes a variety of pictures, games, and hands-on material.
The Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce recently installed a special touch-screen computer to provide information about local attractions and exhibits featuring state and local maps.
While the park does not offer the standard "movie" found at many national parks, there is a short self-serve video available with closed captioning in Spanish or English. This video serves as an introduction to the bats of Carlsbad Caverns and is particularly appreciated by our off-season visitors who miss the bat flight phenomena.
Carlsbad Caverns National Park is open year round. But the majority of park visitors come during the months of Jun, Jul and Aug and on weekends and holidays. The month with the least visitors is Jan. The park is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, except Christmas Day.
Be sure to check out the self-guided cave tours with the automated Cavern Audio Guide. We also offer ranger-guided cave tours, audio-visual programs, talks, hikes and demonstrations. Evening bat flight programs occur May through October.
There are self guided cave tours for individuals, families or small groups. There are scheduled Ranger / Naturalists led cave tours of the different areas of Carlsbad Caverns. The tours range from very easy to strenuous, from an easy walk to climbing ladders and crawling through tight spots for fantastic views. If you have difficulty with low light, heights or tight spaces, you may want to avoid the more strenuous caving tours. All guided tours include a "lights out" experience.
Reservations are strongly recommended. You can make reservations six months in advance by calling:
1-800-967-2283. Payment by credit card is required to hold your reservation.
The Big Room and Natural Entrance are self-guided routes that may be started at any time during the hours listed below. Rent an audio guide at the visitor center for in-depth information about the cavern. Wear a light wrap (the cave is 56° F year round) and rubber soled shoes. Strollers are not permitted in the cavern, child-carrying backpacks are recommended. Park rangers are stationed throughout the cavern and are available to assist you.
Prior to the evening flight of the bats, a talk is given at the cavern entrance by a park ranger. The starting time of the talk varies with sunset, it is best to call the park at 505-785-2232 ext 777 or check at the visitor center for the exact time. Programs may be canceled in the event of inclement weather. The bat flight talks are scheduled from Memorial Day weekend through the end of September. There is no charge for the bat flight program. In late October or early November the bats migrate to Mexico for the winter, they return in April or May depending on the weather.
The best bat flights normally occur in August and September. At this time baby bats, born in the early summer, join the flight along with migrating bats from colonies further north.
The daily pre-dawn return of the bats is different from the evening exit flights but are just as impressive. Early risers can see the bats as they re-enter Carlsbad Cavern with spectacular dives from heights of hundreds of feet. Individual bats diving in from every direction may reach speeds of 25 mph / 40 km/h or more.
A bat flight breakfast is held annually, usually on the second Thursday in August, from 5:00 am to 7:00 am. Park employees sponsor this breakfast once each year. A special program is given and other activities may be scheduled as staffing permits. A reasonable charge is made for the breakfast. Regular cavern fees apply for entry into the cave following the breakfast.
Flash photography is not permitted at the program, nor are flash cameras. The flash disturbs the bats exiting and re-entering an important maternity roost. Spaces to accommodate people using wheelchairs are located at the entrance to the amphitheater. Restrooms are available and fully accessible. Pets are not allowed in the amphitheater area.
Reservations for the self-guided tours of Natural Entrance and Big Room are not necessary, but are recommended for all other tours. Call: 1-800-967-2283 for Reservations.
In addition to cave tours, rangers provide a variety of talks, walks, demonstrations, and slide programs daily at the visitor center. The Bat Flight Program occurs daily between Memorial Day weekend and late September. Program titles and times change daily and are displayed at the visitor center.
Typical programs include:
Activity & Calendar Page
Address, Email & Phone Guide
Brochures, Maps, Written Info
Jobs, SCA, Volunteer Positions
Safety in the Caves
Size and Visitation Info
Slaughter Canyon Cave
The Bat Flight
The World of Bats
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