About 25 miles from the city of Carlsbad, in the very south of the state of New Mexico, there is an interesting location, Carlsbad Caverns National Park, which was founded on May 14, 1930. It is a place in the middle of the desert, where there are beautiful limestone caves, which, due to their size and diversity, are among the most beautiful throughout the United States of America. However, they were not created – as is often the case – by the action of water, but by very aggressive acids. Here, rainwater very slowly dissolves the deposits in the earth’s cracks. Since this process still takes place in the caves today, they are considered so-called living caves. According to iamaccepted, there are around 113 caves in the park, but there are more than 300 in the wider area. Since 1995, they have been listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
And how did the name Carlsbad, or Karlovy Vary, get to America? In ancient times, settlers discovered mineral springs in the area with a proven healing effect, which were named after the famous European spa – Carlsbad.
The caves were known to the ancient Native American inhabitants of the area, but even the newly arrived settlers discovered the natural entrance to the cave relatively quickly. Hundreds of thousands of bats always flew out from inside the cave, so the settlers began to mine bat droppings, which served them as an excellent fertilizer. Perhaps the most interested in the caves was the settler Jim Whit, who was subsequently responsible for their popularization and complete exploration. From the beginning, no one believed Jim that huge halls and bizarre geological formations were hidden in the caves. Proof of this could only be obtained with the invention of the camera.
In 1923, the US Department of the Interior sent an inspector to the caves to find out their true condition. His final report then contributed to the fact that the caves were declared a national monument in the same year and even a national monument seven years later. Carlsbad Caverns are some of the deepest, most extensive and most beautiful caves ever discovered, so they deserve such protection. Their vastness is almost unimaginable for human imagination, the spaces are hidden hundreds of meters below the surface.
Inside the cave complex there are several interesting halls, such as the Bat Cave, the Devil’s Nest, the Green Lake, the Queen’s Chambers, the Royal Palace or the Whale’s Maw. Along the way, you will also pass several unique formations, for example, the Witch’s Finger or the Glacier – a huge boulder weighing two hundred thousand tons, which broke from the ceiling many years ago and collapsed. You will also find geological formations with fantastic names such as Rock of Ages, Temple of the Sun, Totem, Mirror Lake and Double Dome. The deepest point in the cave is 275 meters underground and you can get there by one of the publicly accessible routes. However, you have to take into account that the path is somewhat more demanding and full of sharp descents and ascents. The largest space is the Great Hall with an area of 33.2 km2 and giant columns.
In total, there are three main sightseeing circuits prepared for visitors, which together are less than 5 km long. If you get hungry after visiting the caves, you can buy refreshments at the buffet, which is integrated into the underground spaces. However, in recent years, it has been considered to cancel it, because leftover food attracts animals that don’t belong in the caves. Toilets also belong to the underground buffet. The caves are open all year round except for holidays. Apart from the caves, another attraction of this place is the Natural Entrance show, which takes place here at Dusk. During this amazing theater, 400,000 bats fly out of the underground towards the Rio Pecos River in search of food.