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 »

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 »

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 »