Carlsbad Caverns National Park is about 30 miles south of Lake Brantley and our prime reason for camping here. Carla loves caves and we have been wanting to visit this one for quite awhile. Interestingly, two of her grandson’s beat her to it. This is a small point of interest along the road leading up to the visitor center.
Here is a better view of the road and terrain leading up to the visitor center.
This the cave entrance. Thousands of bats leave the cave during the non-winter months. You can see the descending walkway in the mouth of the cave as well.
Right at the cave interface between sky and cave ceiling. That is farther down than it looks.
Inside the cave entrance now, nice asphalt walks.
The descent is serpentine for about 700 feet of vertical elevation. This is a shot towards the Bat Cave where all the bats hang out. No one is allowed back there. You can see the stalagmites on this sloping floor and the ceiling. I must say that the pictures taken in this cave are not the best.
This is an interesting shot. You are looking back at the entrance into the cave. You can see the descending walkway in the entrance and in the lower portion of the picture. That wispy stuff is fog rising towards the entrance. The distance from the cave ceiling to the bottom of picture is probably 200 feet.
The cave is relatively dry, except for the entrance area and for isolated pools of water. It is cool, a constant 57 degrees. These are two columns with water at their bases.
Very nice ribbons.
An impressive column, with another in the background.
Delicate popcorn stalactites.
Back in the late 20s and 30s, the only way into the cave was by wooden stairs.
You can see the guide rails on the walkway. The ceiling was fairly close at this location.
Lion’s Tail stalactite.
A large column, probably 70 feet tall. Plenty of phallic symbols in this cave!
A close-up of the Lion’s Tails and column top.
And other symbolism as well…
There are two major descents into the cave via the walkway. This is the third :)
Its about 90 feet to the bottom, and another lower level. Not open to the public. Pure darkness without the flash.
Quite a tour. We spent about four hours underground. You can ride an elevator back to the surface or you can reverse your descent and climb the 1500 feet back to the entrance!
A view of the Guadalupe mountains to the southwest just outside of the visitor center. The mountains are actually ancient reefs that have been lifted. The ancient lake is the plain you see that extends into Texas.