Article Summary: Carlsbad Caverns National Park Facts
Carlsbad Caverns National Park Facts! In this article, we provide you with 10 amazing facts about one of America’s most magnificent national parks.
More Than Just Parks is your one-stop-shop when it comes to learning everything you’ll need to know about America’s national parks. We’ve got expert guides, beautiful photos, helpful tips, breathtaking films and so much more.
I’ve been to so many of these amazing places since retiring from teaching in 2018. Did I mention that I taught history? I spent a lifetime teaching about the history behind some of these natural wonders. Then I got to see them firsthand. And now I’m sharing some of the incredible stories about these beautiful places with you. It doesn’t get any better than that!
More Than Just Parks takes a deeper dive with its national park facts. We’ve done our homework so that you’ll get more than you bargained for.
Without further ado, let’s dive in.
Table Of Contents: Carlsbad Caverns National Park
Carlsbad Caverns National Park Facts
- Facts About Carlsbad Caverns National Park
- Carlsbad Caverns National Park Facts
- Top 5 Carlsbad Caverns National Park Facts
- 1. It’s One Of Over 300 Limestone Caves
- 2. Native Americans Knew About The Existence Of The Caves For Possibly Thousands Of Years
- 3. European Explorers Stumbled On The Entrance To Carlsbad Caverns
- 4. A 16 Year Old Cowboy Is Credited With The First Cave Exploration
- 5. The Largest Cave In Carlsbad Caverns Is Over 100 Miles
- Top 10 Carlsbad Caverns National Park Facts
- 6. Carlsbad Caverns Has A Bat Flight Program
- 7. The Big Room In Carlsbad Caverns Is The largest Accessible Cave Chamber In North America
- 8. A Wide Variety Of Wildlife Can Be Found At Carlsbad
- 9. Visitors To The Caverns Can See The Wonders Of The Lower Cave
- 10. There Are Some Rare Microbes That Haven’t Been Discovered Anywhere Else In The World
- Why Trust Us About Carlsbad Caverns National Park?
- Meet The Parks Brothers
- Map Of Carlsbad Caverns
- We Hope You’ll Follow Our Journey
- Top 5 Carlsbad Caverns National Park Facts
Facts About Carlsbad Caverns National Park
Some Basic Facts About Carlsbad Caverns National Park
Carlsbad Caverns National Park is a national park located in the state of New Mexico. The park covers an area of 46,766 acres and is known for its stunning views, deep canyons, and unique geological formations.
One of the main attractions of Carlsbad Caverns National Park is its network of underground caves and caverns, which are home to a variety of geological formations such as stalactites, stalagmites, and helictites. The park is also home to a number of hiking trails, offering the opportunity to explore the park’s unique and varied terrain.
In addition to its natural beauty, Carlsbad Caverns National Park is also home to a number of cultural and historical sites, including the historic Rattlesnake Springs and the visitor center, which offers exhibits and programs about the park’s natural and cultural history.
Carlsbad Caverns National Park is a must-visit destination for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts, offering a unique and unforgettable experience in one of the most beautiful and unique underground environments in the United States.
Here Are Some Of The Basic Facts:
- Location: New Mexico
- Acreage: 73.07 miles
- Visitation: 440,691 visitors in 2019
- Lowest Elevation: Of the three major levels, the deepest is 1,027 feet belowground.
- Average annual precipitation: The park averages 14.9 inches of annual precipitation
- When Did It Become A National Park? On October 25, 1923, President Calvin Coolidge created Carlsbad Caverns National Park
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Carlsbad Caverns National Park Facts
Top 5 Carlsbad Caverns National Park Facts
1. It’s One Of Over 300 Limestone Caves
If you’re interested in origin stories then one of the most interesting Carlsbad Caverns National Park Facts is that Carlsbad Caverns is one of over 300 limestone caves in a fossil reef laid down by an inland sea about 265 million years ago.
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2. Native Americans Knew About The Existence Of The Caves For Possibly Thousands Of Years
For me, one of the most intriguing of the Carlsbad Caverns National Park Facts involves that fact that twelve-to-fourteen thousand years ago, American Indians lived in the Guadalupe Mountains.
The Mescalero Apache, Zuni Pueblo, and other groups were well acquainted with the area. Some of their cooking ring sites and pictographs have been found within the present day boundaries of the park.
According to the National Park Service, the Mescalero Apache and the Zuni Pueblo were aware of the existence of a cave in the Carlsbad area that they called Jadnut? udebiga (Home of the Bat) and Asho:sti an alaluckwa (Bat Cave) respectively.
They used the area around the cave entrance for cooking, and there are multiple mescal cooking pits and a cave painting that can be found there.
While there is no evidence that these native peoples explored deep into the cave, they were certainly aware of its existence.
The cave, known as the Bat Cave, is a limestone cave, located in the park and has a rich cultural and historical significance. The cave is protected and not open to the public.
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3. European Explorers Stumbled On The Entrance To Carlsbad Caverns
By the 1500s, Spanish explorers were passing through present-day west Texas and southeastern New Mexico.
In their explorations, they stumbled upon the gaping mouth of what is now known as Carlsbad Cavern.
While several claim to have been the first to have entered the cave they have been mostly forgotten by history.
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4. A 16 Year Old Cowboy Is Credited With The First Cave Exploration
Another of the extraordinary Carlsbad Caverns National Park Facts is the incredible story of the first credited cave exploration involves a sixteen year old cowboy.
Jim White was rounding up cattle one evening when he spotted smoke from a wildfire off in the distance. He went into high alert. Fires could be just as devastating then as they are now.
White rode closer to see what was happening. How big was it? Was it moving quickly? What direction was it burning? White rode to the fire so he could report back to camp with the most accurate information possible.
He Saw Thousands Of Free-Tailed Bats
As White approached the cave, however, he realized that it wasn’t smoke he was seeing. It was bats. Thousands-upon-thousands of Brazilian free-tailed bats.
Jim White was a cowboy, miner, and explorer who discovered the cave in Carlsbad Caverns National Park in the early 20th century.
He constructed a ladder which he anchored at the mouth of the cave and descended using only one hand while his other hand held his only light source. After sixty feet, he landed on the cave floor, and his light barely penetrated the darkness surrounding him.
White’s exploration of the cave continued for many years, and he is responsible for naming many of the features which are associated with the caverns today such as “Devil’s Armchair,” “Devil’s Den,” and the “Witch’s Finger.”
He also discovered many other caves in the area, which he explored and mapped. White’s discoveries and explorations helped to open up the cave to the public and increased interest in the area.
5. The Largest Cave In Carlsbad Caverns Is Over 100 Miles
One of my favorite Carlsbad Caverns National Park Facts is that, since 1984, explorers have mapped over 145 miles of passages and have pushed the depth of the cave to 1,604 feet (489 m).
As of July 2019, Lechuguilla is one of the ten longest caves in the world (one of the four longest in the United States) and the second deepest limestone cave in the country.
A Fascinating Backstory
The cave has a fascinating backstory. According to the National Park Service, Lechuguilla Cave was known until 1986 as a small, fairly insignificant historic site in the park’s backcountry. Small amounts of bat guano were mined from the entrance passages for a year under a mining claim filed in 1914.
The historic cave contained a 90-foot entrance pit which led to 400 feet of dry, dead-end passages.
The cave was visited infrequently after mining activities ceased. However, in the 1950s, cavers heard wind roaring up from the rubble-choked floor of the cave. Although there was no obvious route, different people concluded that cave passages must lay below the rubble.
A group of Colorado cavers gained permission from the National Park Service and began digging in 1984.
The breakthrough, into large walking passages, occurred on May 26, 1986.
What followed has become some of the world’s most exciting cave exploration in one of the finest known caves on the planet.
Rescue in Lechuguilla Cave
In 2014, a National Park Service volunteer caving team entered Lechuguilla Cave inside Carlsbad Caverns National Park, with the purpose of performing re-rigging and replacement of 20-year-old ropes that park cavers use for exploration in the Boulder Falls area of the cave.
Shortly after the team descended into the cave, one of the members became ill, suspected to be due to heat exhaustion and dehydration.
The team leader, Andy Armstrong, called for rescue assistance and a three-member rescue team responded: Carlsbad Caverns cave technicians Stan Allison and Shawn Thomas, and a caver/paramedic from Carlsbad Fire Department.
They descended 180-feet into the cave and administered intravenous fluids to the stricken caver, J.L. Gomez, a Carlsbad Caverns volunteer.
After receiving three bags of IV fluid and resting for many hours, Gomez improved enough to make the 180-foot ascent out of the cave with limited help from the team.
He was able to hike back to his vehicle with the other team members unassisted and no further medical treatment was required.
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Top 10 Carlsbad Caverns National Park Facts
6. Carlsbad Caverns Has A Bat Flight Program
Just when you thought we couldn’t come up with any more unbelievable Carlsbad Caverns National Park Facts we’ve come up with another one. Carlsbad Caverns has a wonderful Bat Flight Program. It runs from late May through October.
No reservations are required for this program which takes place at the Bat Flight Amphitheater, located at the Natural Entrance to Carlsbad Cavern.
You’ll be treated to a Ranger talk beforehand. And then you’ll see the main event around sunset, which is when thousands of bats begin their daily exit from the caverns in search of insects to eat.
7. The Big Room In Carlsbad Caverns Is The largest Accessible Cave Chamber In North America
Another truly intriguing of the Carlsbad Caverns National Parks Facts is that Carlsbad Caverns include a large limestone chamber, named simply the Big Room, which is almost 4,000 feet long, 625 feet wide, and 255 feet high at its highest point.
The Big Room is the largest chamber in North America and the thirty-first largest in the world.
8. A Wide Variety Of Wildlife Can Be Found At Carlsbad
Another of the extraordinary Carlsbad Caverns National Park Facts is that there are 67 mammal species, 357 bird species, 5 fish species, and 55 amphibian and reptile species found in Carlsbad Caverns National Park.
Mammals that can be found living in Carlsbad Caverns National Park include: cougars, coyotes, foxes, wolves, bobcats, otters, weasels, badgers, skunks, bats, and shrews.
9. Visitors To The Caverns Can See The Wonders Of The Lower Cave
One of the most popular tours at Carlsbad Caverns is the Lower Cave Tour.
Visitors can see the evidence left behind from the 1924 National Geographic Expedition and other explorations.
Highlights of this tour include “The Rookery,” with countless nests of cave pearls, the “Colonel Boles Formation,” and an incredible diversity of cave formations.
Included in the tour is a descent of sixty feet of ladders and a knotted rope to hang onto as you slowly walk backward down a slope at the tour entrance.
10. There Are Some Rare Microbes That Haven’t Been Discovered Anywhere Else In The World
One of my favorite Carlsbad Caverns National Park Facts is one of the least known. There are some rare microbes that haven’t been discovered anywhere else in the world.
In Lechuguilla Cave, scientists are researching clusters of extremophile microbes, which are thought to be a possible cure for cancer.
Rare, rock eating (chemolithoautotrophic) bacteria are also believed to occur in the cave.
Why Trust Us About Carlsbad Caverns National Park?
We’re Jim Pattiz and Will Pattiz, collectively known as the Pattiz Brothers (and sometimes the Parks Brothers) and we absolutely LOVE the national parks.
You should probably know that we don’t just make this stuff up out of thin air. We’ve spent our entire adult lives exploring and filming America’s national parks and public lands.
We’ve worked with the National Park Service, the Department of Interior, USDA, and the U.S. Forest Service for years creating films on important places and issues. Our work has been featured in leading publications all over the world and even some people outside of our immediate family call us experts on the national parks.
Meet The Parks Brothers
Map Of Carlsbad Caverns
List Of Carlsbad Caverns Facts
- It’s One Of Over 300 Limestone Caves
- Native Americans Knew About The Existence Of The Caves For Possibly Thousands Of Years
- European Explorers Stumbled On The Entrance To Carlsbad Caverns
- A 16 Year Old Cowboy Is Credited With The First Cave Exploration
- The Largest Cave In Carlsbad Caverns Is Over 100 Miles
- Carlsbad Caverns Has A Bat Flight Program
- The Big Room In Carlsbad Caverns Is The largest Accessible Cave Chamber In North America
- A Wide Variety Of Wildlife Can Be Found At Carlsbad
- Visitors To The Caverns Can See The Wonders Of The Lower Cave
- There Are Some Rare Microbes That Haven’t Been Discovered Anywhere Else In The World
We Hope You’ll Follow Our Journey
Our goal here at More Than Just Parks is to share the beauty of America’s national parks and public lands through stunning short films in an effort to get Americans and the world to see the true value in land conservation.
We hope you’ll follow our journey through the parks and help us to keep them the incredible places that they are. If you’re interested in joining the adventure then sign up below!
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