Carlsbad Caverns are indescribable. A must do; however, trying to ‘make good time’ driving from Pecos, TX to Carlsbad, NM is impossible. Preferable is driving northeast from El Paso (2.5 hrs) or southeast from Albuquerque (4 hours) via Roswell/Artesia.
BONUS…visiting in winter is great. The site is so large that you feel alone…(but don’t forget to whisper inside..shhh!) The natural entrance to the cavern is a one mile walk to the mouth….then down, down, down.
Inside there are more than 119 caves. We toured The Big Room, a HUGE underground chamber and returned the next day to see the Kings Palace, four fancy chambers deep in the cavern. You walk, and walk…staring up, down, around, and this is what you see:
The ladder in the picture below was installed in 1924 by Jim White, who discovered and explored the caverns. It extends 90 feet down to the Lower Cavern, but is inaccessible to visitors. All around are formations named drapery, soda straws, ribbons, curtains, totem poles, cave pools, stalagmites, and stalactites.
The cave is not dead or alive, it is inactive. You can hear dripping, but it is faint compared to the past. The formations that continue to grow and decorate the caverns are due to rain and snow melt soaking and dripping through the limestone rock – from eons ago.
Worth stopping or perhaps even making a u-turn for, is a Roadrunner sculpture outside of Las Crucas, NM.