Carlsbad Caverns National Park

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Carlsbad Caverns is an amazing place, just like all the national parks are. I was excited to learn that they take masks and social distancing very seriously. Everyone must have masks on everywhere in the park, even outside or down in the cave. Very cool and practical dedication to safety.

Carlsbad Caverns National Park Sign

Carlsbad Cavern is a vast cave system containing “The Big Room” which is the largest cave room in North America. The cave system has not yet been fully explored despite decades of exploration. Here’s the map halfway through the caves.

Cave System Map

This is the rock of ages, one of the coolest single structures I saw.

Rock of Ages

There were lots of almost-complete columns where stalactites had reached almost down to their lower companions.

Almost Column

Here’s another interesting piece. There were lots of examples where old pools collected delicate layers of floating sediment which then caught enough sediment drips to form “lilly pads.” The water later drained away and left the lilly pads behind.

Stone Lilly Pad 1

Stone Lilly Pad 2

I took a few long exposures in the big room. There was just miles and miles of amazing things to see.

Big Room 1

The big room is at the very end of the 75-story climb. What an amazing ending to miles and miles of hiking down into the caverns.

Big Room 2

I was exhausted by the end. Luckily there is an elevator to take you 754 vertical feet back to the visitor center.

Normally this area is a snack bar. It was closed but the elevators were open  This photo looks so much different because it’s well lit in the snack bar area. They keep most of the cave super dark in order to avoid any animals from moving down into the cave system.