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Carlsbad Caverns National Park Activities

Amble through ancient limestone caves, witness a million bats in flight and hike across desert canyon landscape. Carlsbad Caverns is a wonderland for nature lovers and outdoor adventurers. Spend the day, a weekend, or a whole week exploring from underground to over the mountain.

Nearly 120 caves dot the national park site, with three caves available for self or ranger guided tours. Carlsbad is the main draw. Access the main chamber of this monstrous cavern either by elevator from the visitor center or after a steep climb to the cave's natural entrance. More strenuous tours of Slaughter Canyon Cave, Spider Cave, or more of Carlsbad's scenic chambers, led by rangers, are available for the hardy.

Stick around until sunset to see the spectacle of one million bats spiraling out of the cavern into the sky. Send them off to their nightly feeding and cherish the visual experience of a lifetime. The bats migrate to Mexico for the winter. The months of July and August provide the best show.

Several hiking trails blaze the backcountry of the park's boundaries. Skirt through woodlands, grasslands and desert shrubs in one of the most diverse habitats in the country. Birders flock to the Rattlesnake Springs Picnic Area, a detached section of the park. Over 300 species of birds have been spotted here. It's a perfect spot for lunch, with grills and tables available.

The visitor center brims with information and activities. There are slide slows, demonstrations, ranger presentations, and programs for the kids. Learn how to build a bat house or get up close and personal with a tarantula. The center also includes a gift shop, book store, coffee shop, restaurant, children's area and plenty of exhibits.

With camping possible on grounds or comfier lodgings nearby, Carlsbad Caverns National Park is worth an extended stay. The natural beauty of the Guadalupe Mountains and the magnificent wonder underground beckon the curious explorer within everyone. Heed the call; come to Carlsbad.