I expected this to be the highlight of my trip and Carlsbad Caverns did not disappoint. I love caves. I am just in awe of Mammoth Cave and didn’t think I’d ever be in a cave system I liked better. I can’t say I liked Carlsbad Caverns more than I like Mammoth but only because it is different. Growing up I explored a cave system (Carter Caves State Park in Kentucky) where you walked and crawled through narrow tunnels and had to constantly duck your head. This was never a problem in Carlsbad. The rooms are very open. They do a great job of lighting Carlsbad, too. Only white light was used and it was minimal compared to some cave systems I’ve visited.
The way Carlsbad is set up you walk down a mile or so of switchback ramps to get into the main cave room. Then there is about a mile and a quarter of walking the circumference of the Big Room. At this point you are about 750 feet underground. Thankfully, there is an elevator to take you up (or bring you down, if needed). There are rest rooms and snacks available in the Big Room.
My only regret here was we didn’t get to see the bats leave in the evening. I was prepared for that since it was getting to be the end of the season but one of our group asked a ranger and was told two nights ago they had their standard bat show but last night because of the cold only a few left and they were expecting another dud show this evening. We weren’t scheduled to see them anyway because we had to get on to our next hotel and dinner. Now I’ll have a reason to go back someday.