A visit to Carlsbad Cavern
Carlsbad Caverns National Park is famous for the Carlsbad cavern. While Lava Beds National Monument is famous for its labyrinth of caves, Carlsbad is famous primarily for a single huge cave. There are several small caves around that require permits and specialized gear to visit.
I would highly recommend coming here early in the morning. You need to book a reservation in advance. The Carlsbad cave is huge. And while some people take the elevator, I recommend going down as well as up via the hike to have the fullest experience. It takes about 45 mins to hike up/down. And then there is a big room to explore at the bottom. There are ~50 marked stops to the bottom. Expect to spend about 3-4 hours in the cave.
The initial part of the cave smells pretty heavily of bat poop. In fact, the bat poop, a fertilizer, was mined out of the cave in the 1930s before artificial fertilizers became mainstream.
After the Carlsbad cavern, I decided to check out the Slaughter Canyon cave hike. The cave is allowed on a ranger-guided tour and that’s closed due to COVID-19. But the 20-mins intense hike is worth the views.
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