1923: National Monument
Rating (1-5): Unrated
About the SiteLocated in southeastern New Mexico, this park preserves more than 100 caves within a Permian-age fossil reef. Lechuguilla Cave is the nation's deepest limestone cave, at 1,567 feet, and third longest. The underground passageways of Carlsbad Cavern contain an unmatched display of huge chambers, icicle forests of stalagmites and stalactites, and beautiful cave formations. Apart from the dramatic and huge caves, visitors will see thousands of Mexican free-tail bats. They stream out of a crevasse at dusk in thick black clouds, in search of insect food.
There are many more caves beneath the desert. The Park Service even has a theater and cafeteria inside.
What You're Going to SeeSure there are about 94 caves below ground, but there's also many things to see in the the rugged landscape of the Chihuahuan Desert as well. The range in elevation results in a variety of plants and animals. A total of 740 species of plants, 64 species of mammals, 44 species of reptiles and amphibians, and 331 species of birds have been identified here.
Personal ObservationsWell ... someday.
Getting ThereFrom Albuquerque, go south on I-25 for 88 miles to exit 139. Take US 380 east for 153 miles to Roswell. Take US 285 south for 77 miles to Carlsbad, the go southwest on US 62/180 for about 20 miles to the park entrance.
Nearby AttractionsThe only Park within 100 miles is Guadalupe Mountains National Park, 30 miles or so to the southwest in Texas. Roswell, of crashed alien spaceship fame, is about 90 miles to the north.