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Carlsbad Caverns

The largest cave chamber in the world is actually located on the island of Borneo and is named the Sarawak Chamber. This chamber is an astonishing three times the size of the Big Room! But, although it's the largest, Sarawak Chamber is not easily accessible to visitors and hence Carlsbad Caverns are still considered to be amongst the best and most accessible caves in the world.

Carlsbad Caverns

Carlsbad Caverns is located within the Carlsbad Caverns National Park in the Guadalupe Mountains of New Mexico and was first discovered in 1898 by Jim White. White set about exploring the whole of the cave system, then began promoting the caves. In 1923 Carlsbad Cave National Monument was established and by 1930 the Carlsbad Caverns National Park was also established. In 1995 the caverns also made it to the UNESCO World Heritage list.

Carlsbad Caverns attracts around half a million visitors a year and most come to see Carlsbad Cavern itself, which is also known as the Big Cave, though this is one of over 80 caves in total within the park. The Big Cave is then split into various 'rooms' or chambers, most of which can be accessed on the tour; these include the Big Room, which is the largest chamber within the Carlsbad Cavern, and a number of scenic rooms including King's Palace, Queen's Chamber and the Green Lake Room. The scenic rooms contain beautiful examples of both stalactites and stalagmites and a variety of other formations too.

One unique feature of Carlsbad Caverns is the Underground Lunchroom where you can sit and enjoy a drink and a snack in the cafeteria which was built in here in the 1950's!

To access the caves visitors can take the elevator down 230 metres (750 feet) from the visitor centre or the more adventurous can hike in through the natural entrance! Everyone must leave the caves via the elevator though.

The closest town to Carlsbad Caverns is Carlsbad , about 25 miles (40 km) distant where you'll find accommodation and services. There's also the smaller White City just before the park entrance with some accommodation. The nearest major airport is El Paso in Texas.

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