There is an amazing area to explore around our Carlsbad KOA! Use us for your base camp to explore the Carlsbad Caverns, Living Desert Zoo & Gardens State Park, Brantley Lake State Park, Lincoln National Forest, Guadalupe Mountains National Park, and White Sands National Monument. Then check out the surrounding towns and cities of Carlsbad, Artesia, Cloudcroft, Roswell, Ruidoso, and Alamagordo. Our front desk staff will be glad to help you find things to do and places to see during your visit.
We are centrally located for all area attractions - Sitting Bull Falls, The Living Desert State Park and Zoo, The Stagecoach Ruins, Brantley Lake, Day Trips to Cloudcroft, Casinos in Hobbs and Ruidoso, Roswell, Lincoln National Forest, Dog Canyon, Spider Cave and, of course, the 8th Wonder of the World - the Spectacular Carlsbad Caverns! "Bat Flight" is one of the most amazing sights on earth - daily, at dusk. The bats come home in early spring. For more details on the richness of the area, visit our website .
Carlsbad Caverns National Park is located in the Guadalupe Mountains, a mountain range that runs from west Texas into southeastern New Mexico. Elevations within the park rise from 3,595 feet (1,095 meters) in the lowlands to 6,520 feet (1,987 meters) atop the escarpment. Though there are scattered woodlands in the higher elevations, the park is primarily a variety of grassland and desert shrub land habitats.
Underlying the rugged desert landscape is one of the most important geologic resources in the United States. The Guadalupe Mountains are the uplifted portion of an ancient reef that thrived along the edge of an inland sea more than 250 million years ago during Permian time. Preserved in the rocks are the bodies of sponges, algae, snails, nautilus, and many other animals that lived in this ancient sea. Scientists from all over the world visit the park each year to study the structure and fauna of the reef.
The most famous of all the geologic features in the park are the caves. Carlsbad Caverns National Park contains more than 119 limestone caves, the most famous of which is Carlsbad Cavern. Carlsbad Cavern receives more than 380,000 visitors each year and offers a rare glimpse of the underground worlds preserved under the desert above.
Caves are fragile environments that are affected by human activities and natural processes occurring both underground and on the surface. Many park caves are preserved and managed in a nearly pristine state, so researchers can understand the unique ecosystem within them. These scientists are only beginning to understand the complex, microscopic organisms that inhabit the caves. Studying them has already revealed a food chain that begins with minerals in the rock, and has shown that some of the organisms may help serious human diseases such as cancer.
Entry into the cavern is by way of two different self-guided routes—the Big Room Route and the Natural Entrance Route. The Natural Entrance Route is a steep, 1.25 miles, 750 foot descent down switchbacks into the cave. This entrance is not wheelchair accessible. The Big Room Route allows for wheelchairs in the areas that are not steep ascents/descents (certain inaccessible areas have pinch points).
In July of 1947 something happened northwest of Roswell during a severe thunderstorm, to find out about this and other UFO sightings, visit the UFO Museum and Research Center or call 800-822-3545.
To commemorate this "happening", a UFO Festival is held in July each year.
Guadalupe Mountains National Park covers 86,367 acres and is in the same mountain range as Carlsbad Caverns National Park. Numerous well-established trails exist in the park for hiking and horse-riding. The Guadalupe Peak Trail offers perhaps the most outstanding views in the park. Climbing over 3,000 feet to the summit of Guadalupe Peak, the trail winds through pinyon pine and Douglas fir forests and offers spectacular view of El Capitan and the vast Chihuahuan Desert.
The park also contains McKittrick Canyon, which comes alive during the fall with a blaze of color from the turning Bigtooth Maple trees, in stark contrast with the surrounding Chihuahuan Desert. A trail in the canyon leads to a stone cabin built in the early 1930s, formerly the vacation home of Wallace Pratt, a petroleum geologist who donated the land in order to establish the park.
Dog Canyon, on the northern park boundary at the Texas-New Mexico State line is reached by driving through Carlsbad, NM or Dell City, TX. On the west side of the park near Dell City, TX lie the impressive and beautiful gypsum sand dunes. Another attraction is the Williams Ranch.
Rising from the heart of the Tularosa Basin is one of the world's great natural wonders - the glistening white sands of New Mexico. Great wave-like dunes of gypsum sand have engulfed 275 square miles of desert, creating the world's largest gypsum dunefield. White Sands National Monument preserves a major portion of this unique dunefield, along with the plants and animals that live here.
Because there is virtually no fresh water within the White sands dunefield, animals that live in the dunes must get almost all their water solely from the food they eat. Desert animals have evolved many ways of conserving moisture. The kangaroo rat eats only dry seeds and never drinks water.
Prior to the evening bat flight, a program is given at the cavern entrance by a park ranger. The starting time of the talk varies with sunset times - it is best to call the park at 575.785.3012 to check for the estimated time. Programs may be canceled in the event of inclement weather. Bat Flight programs are scheduled from Memorial Day weekend through mid-to-late October. There is no charge for the bat flight program. In late October or early November, the bats migrate to Mexico for the winter; they return in April or May, depending on the weather.
The best bat flights normally occur in July and August. At this time baby bats, born in early summer, join the flight along with migrating bats from colonies further north.