A Southern New Mexico Gem: Living Desert Zoo and Gardens State Park

If you are planning a trip to Carlsbad, New Mexico, don’t miss the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens State Park. This gem in the rough offers a chance to get up close and personal with some fascinating creatures and plants. And it is all easily accessible from a short walk (or roll, for  those in wheelchairs or strollers). We visited in May, when the desert was truly alive, especially once we turned into the park gates just off Highway 285 […] Read more »

21st Annual ‘Mescal Roast’ Feast for the Senses, Provides Glimpse of Mescalero Culture

CARLSBAD, NM - Living Desert Zoo and Gardens State Parks in Carlsbad, New Mexico will celebrate its 21st annual “Mescal Roast and Mountain Spirit Dance” from May 10-13. This event, which celebrates the culture and history of the Mescalero Apache people, received a Dorothy Mullins Arts and Humanities Award from the National Recreation and Parks Association. The Mescal Roast is sponsored by the Friends of Living Desert. “The Mescal Roast is truly a special event,” said Ken Britt, Park Superintendent. […] Read more »

Off-trail at Carlsbad Caverns

Spider Cave? Did I say Spider Cave? Yes, indeed, and misnamed for the tens of thousands of daddy-longlegs who coated this passage like an undulating tapestry when cavers discovered it in 1933. They’ve scurried away, those first inhabitants, to God knows where. I’ve yet to see one and this is my second trip into Spider. Read more »

Living Desert Zoo and Gardens State Park — where the wild things are

Living Desert Zoo and Gardens State Park Entrance Photo by Phyllis Eileen Banks The flora and the fauna come together in the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens State Park at the north edge of Carlsbad, New Mexico, on U.S. Highway 285. It takes visitors through the diverse Chihuahuan Desert, the largest in North America, that spans Southeast New Mexico into the rugged terrain of the Guadalupe Mountains and Mexico. The Park is located on top of the Ocotillo Hills overlooking […] Read more »

Carlsbad Caverns National Park’s Five Guided Off-trail Tours

Lower Cave formations Photo courtesy National Park Service Carlsbad Caverns National Park runs five guided off-trail tours. They are so different it’s hard to imagine they are in the same park. Spider Cave delivers an intimate caving experience, wriggling into the hidden underworld, coming face-to-face with earth’s inner secrets. Lower Cave is back stage at the opera. Left-hand Tunnel is a ranger-led, lantern-lit stroll into what seems the dusty old storeroom of a grand palace. The trail is hard-packed earth, […] Read more »

Carlsbad Caverns add Immeasurably to Life’s Meaning

Matlocks’ Pinch in the Hall of White Giant tour Photo courtesy National Park Service Recently I wriggled my way, not into a cave, but into a goals-setting retreat of Carlsbad Caverns National Park staff - three long days trying to articulate the park’s mission, renew its vision, turn sweeping desires into measurable goals, tasks, and work assignments. We were 24, nearly a quarter of the park staff, including superintendent, division heads, rangers, maintenance men, administrative aides. We talked much about […] Read more »

Christmas on the Pecos — Carlsbad’s ultimate celebration of the season

Christmas on the Pecos Photo by Armando Martinez. Winter in Carlsbad isn’t about snow, ice or cold. It’s about warmth. The warmth of the holiday season. And families coming together. Carlsbad is alive with the ultimate celebration of the season - Christmas on the Pecos River. Picture the setting:  The night is clear and cool. The river is calm and still. You are bundled and warm except for the pleasant tingle of a chill on your cheeks. The only light […] Read more »

Caving off the Beaten Path in Carlsbad Caverns

Offbeat trails lead to scenic wonderlands inside Carlsbad Caverns. Photo by Carla DeMarco Like Dorothy’s yellow-brick road, the shiny black trail through New Mexico’s Carlsbad Caverns leads to a mystical journey in a spectacular underworld. The emery-chip trail, lighted and guarded with steel hand rails, ushers us underground, into a room big enough to hold 14 football fields, through the ornate King’s Palace. Yet, this scenic wonderland merely previews an elaborate maze of passages and hidden treasures that lie beyond […] Read more »

The Carlsbad Caverns National Park

Spectacular formations are subtly illuminated along paved trails inside Carlsbad Caverns. Photo by Carla DeMarco Three miles of lighted and paved trails take visitors into the heart of the Capitan reef. Subtle lighting illuminates unique formations in the cavernous walls. Simple markers identify major formations. Wayside exhibits explain the history, formation, and development of the cavern. Much of the main cave tour is self-guided. You stroll at your own pace, guided by modern high-tech assistance - a portable CD ROM […] Read more »

Black River Village, Loving, Loco Hills, Illinois Camp, Malaga, Maljamar, and White’s City — settlements with history

Post office in Loving, New Mexico. Photo by Phyllis Eileen Banks. Anyone who has visited or will visit Carlsbad Caverns will pass through the settlement of White’s City, New Mexico. It is at the crossroads of U. S. Highway 62/180 and NM Highway 7, the highway into Carlsbad Caverns. Named for Charlie White from Kentucky who homesteaded south of Carlsbad about 1927, it began with a small store and service station and has expanded to a tourist center. Ironically the […] Read more »