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November 22,1999 - Carlsbad New Mexico, Carlsbad Caverns Nat'l Park

Carlsbad Caverns. N,P,Established to preserve Carlsbad Cavern and numerous other caves within a Permian-age fossil reef, the park contains over 85 known caves, including Lechuguilla Cave—the nation's deepest limestone cave at 1,567 feet (478m) and third longest. Carlsbad Cavern, with one of the world's largest underground chambers and countless formations, is highly accessible, with a variety of tours offered year-round. Established first as a National Monument on October 25, 1923, it was made a National Park on May 14, 1930. Established to preserve Carlsbad Cavern and numerous other caves within a Permian-age fossil reef, the park contains over 85 known caves, including Lechuguilla Cave—the nation's deepest limestone cave at 1,567 feet (478m) and third longest. Carlsbad Cavern, with one of the world's largest underground chambers and countless formations, is highly accessible, with a variety of tours offered year-round. Established first as a National Monument on October 25, 1923, it was made a National Park on May 14, 1930.


Click on thumbnails for larger view:
Sign at Pecos River. At an elevation of 3,100 feet, with only 15 1/2 inches of rain and 350 days of sunshine, Carlsbad is both fertile valley and desert. The Pecos River provides an oasis for the 25,000 people who live here. Flowing through the center of town and flanking the river's banks is a 4.5 mile Riverwalk. Fishers, boat docks and water skiing abound. A paddlewheel boat, the George Washington, plies the river for a 40 minute ride.
There are different attractions along the Pecos river for the whole family. A rocket slide, merry-go-round and other kiddie rides are scattered along the west side. At the boat docks are covered benches. And just a few steps away is Port Jefferson, a shaded concession stand open daily from May to August. South of the boat dock is the Municipal Beach Park, where picnic tables and lots of shade trees provide an excellent place for family outings. The park is a staging area for many annual activities and parades in Carlsbad, as well as a perfect vantage point to watch the spectacular July 4th fireworks display held annually during Western Week.

"Quackers" on river bank.

Entrance Carlsbad Caverns Nat'l Park. We will do the Natural Entrance route, a self-guided tour available to visitors with plenty of time and in good physical condition. This 1-mile tour follows the traditional explorer's route, entering the cavern through the large historic natural entrance. The Natural Entrance route descends more than 750 feet into the earth following steep and narrow trails through a tall and spacious trunk passage called the Main Corridor. The route culminates in the underground rest area, near the elevators and Big Room route starting point.

The Kings Palace tour, a 1.5-hour ranger-guided tour through four highly decorated chambers, departs from the underground rest area. We descended to the deepest portion of the cavern open to the public, 830 feet beneath the desert surface. Although not as difficult as the Natural Entrance route, which we did earlier today, this 1-mile tour does require descending, and later climbing, an 8-story hill.

We viewed a variety of cave formations including helectites, draperies, columns, and soda straws.

Stalactites, "soda straws".

I'm really enjoying the tour.

Knowledgeable ranger explaining formations. The Rangers conducted a black-out during this tour, briefly turning off all artificial lights to reveal the natural darkness of the cave.

"Wow", this is beautiful.

More formations.


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