Deep beneath the Chihuahuan Desert in southern New Mexico is a labyrinth of more than 300 limestone caves, carved over 250 million years ago.
The park also preserves biologically diverse desert lands above ground, as well as a portion of an exposed fossil reef. One of the most notable sights at Carlsbad Cavern is the spectacle of the park’s 400,000 Brazilian free-tailed bats leaving the cave each night at sunset in dramatic clouds of flapping wings; visitors can attend a special ranger program and enjoy this striking exodus from early spring to mid-autumn, before the bats migrate south for the winter.
Lechuguilla Cave at Carlsbad Caverns is the deepest limestone cave in the country, and the fifth-longest known cave in the world.
More about Carlsbad Caverns
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Magazine Article A Swallow’s Tale A 35-year study of cave swallows at Carlsbad Caverns has solved some abiding mysteries about the songbird.
Magazine Article Fighting Fluff At well-known caves around the country, volunteers armed with tweezers and brushes keep lint—yes, lint—at bay.
Magazine Article In the Dark How do animals adapt to cave life?