Following guidance from the White House, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and state and local public health authorities, Carlsbad Caverns National Park is increasing recreational access and services. The National Park Service (NPS) is working service-wide with federal, state, and local public health authorities to closely monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and using a phased approach to increase access on a park-by-park basis.
Beginning Tuesday, June 16, Carlsbad Caverns National Park will reopen access to:
- Visitor Center
For social distancing, entrance tickets to the cavern are limited to 550 visitors per day and available on a first-come, first-served basis at the visitor center. Visitors will enter the cavern based on the time indicated on the entrance ticket. The first cavern entry is at 8:30 am and the last entry at 2 pm. Visitor center capacity has also been reduced and visitors may have to wait to enter the facility.
For social distancing, only one-way traffic will be permitted in the cavern. Visitors will enter the cavern by hiking the Natural Entrance Trail to the Big Room Trail and then exit by elevator. Due to the limited ability to social distance in elevators, it’s recommended that only one family or those traveling together per elevator.
Due to one-way traffic for social distancing, visitors may only use the elevators to exit the cavern.
The following areas continue to be available:
- All desert trails
- All park roads
For the protection of the bats, the following area is closed from 5 pm to 8 am each day:
- Bat Flight Amphitheater. The bat flight can still be viewed from the east parking lot, past the visitor center.
With public health in mind, the following are suspended at this time:
- Ranger-guided tours
The health and safety of our visitors, employees, volunteers, and partners continues to be paramount. At Carlsbad Caverns National Park, our operational approach will be to examine each facility function and service provided to ensure those operations comply with current public health guidance, and will be regularly monitored. We continue to work closely with the NPS Office of Public Health using CDC guidance to ensure public and workspaces are safe and clean for visitors, employees, partners, and volunteers.
While these areas are accessible for visitors to enjoy, a return to full operations will continue to be phased and services may be limited. When recreating, the public should follow local area health orders (cv.nmhealth.org/), practice Leave No Trace principles, avoid crowding, and avoid high-risk outdoor activities.
The CDC has offered guidance to help people recreating in parks and open spaces prevent the spread of infectious diseases. We will continue to monitor all park functions to ensure that visitors adhere to CDC guidance for mitigating risks associated with the transmission of COVID-19, and take any additional steps necessary to protect public health.
Details and updates on park operations will continue to be posted on our website www.nps.gov/cave and social media channels. Updates about NPS operations will be posted on www.nps.gov/coronavirus.