Carlsbad Caverns, New Mexico

Carlsbad Caverns, New Mexico

Carlsbad Caverns

You're journeying from light into dark into a sunless world where the weather doesn't change, and time seems frozen. This is the middle ground between light and dark -- "the twilight zone."

 Natural Entrance Carlsbad Caverns

Natural Entrance Carlsbad Caverns

Coming to the caverns is an experience like no other. You have two options for going into it: the first is from the natural entrance which will lead you down a steep slope that lasts a little more then a mile; the second is taking the elevator straight down into the big room. If you have trouble walking or cannot walk on steep slopes, do not take the natural entrance because once you start, there is no going back.

If you are up to it, you should absolutely start at the natural entrance because of the incredible views (such as Devil's Spring), and because the walk is quite enjoyable.

 Devils Spring Carlsbad Caverns

Devils Spring Carlsbad Caverns

 Devils Spring Carlsbad Caverns

Devils Spring Carlsbad Caverns

As you walk down, you will pass Iceberg rock on your right hand side as well as the scenic rooms that you can enter only with a ranger. When the incline stops, you'll have reached the start of the Big Room. Elevators back to the top as well as food and water are located here. 

 Entrance of Big Room

Entrance of Big Room

As you start into the Big Room, you will pass the Hall of Giants that contains the Giant Dome and Twin Domes.

 Giant Dome and Twin domes

Giant Dome and Twin domes

 Fairyland Carlsbad Cavern

Fairyland Carlsbad Cavern

 

 

 

As you continue through the narrower part of the Big Room, you will see the Temple of the Sun right before the room opens up.

 

 

 Big Room Carlsbad Caverns

Big Room Carlsbad Caverns

 Temple of the Sun

Temple of the Sun

 Carlsbad Cavern Chandelier

Carlsbad Cavern Chandelier

 Carlsbad Cavern Chandelier

Carlsbad Cavern Chandelier

As soon as you pass the Temple of the Sun, you will see the infamous Chandelier in front of you. The view is breathtaking to say the least.

After rotating around the Chandelier, you will run into the Totem Pole. 

 Totem Pole Carlsbad Cavern

Totem Pole Carlsbad Cavern

Unfortunately the water had decreased drastically since the last time I had visited, over 15 years prior to my most recent trip. There used to be large pools of water that cast off incredible reflections. It is unknown to me if it was caused by the fact that I visited during October this time rather than April, but unfortunately it makes taking pictures of reflections a bit more challenging.

 Reflection Chandelier Carlsbad Caverns

Reflection Chandelier Carlsbad Caverns

The last couple of items to catch on your way out are the Rock of Ages as well as the Painted Grotto.

 Rock of Ages Carlsbad Caverns

Rock of Ages Carlsbad Caverns

 Painted Grotto Carlsbad Cavern

Painted Grotto Carlsbad Cavern

 

Travel Tips:

  • Check out the Frequently Asked Questions posted by the National Parks Service
  • Bring warm clothes
  • Bring a flashlight
  • Bring bottled water, but no food or other beverages

Photography Tips

  • A tripod is an absolute must. I forgot mine initially and had a rough time trying to shoot freehand until I could get down to the elevator to go back up to my car to get it
  • Bring clothes you can get dirty in. I would say that I spent 20% of my time on the floor trying to get particular shots that I wanted
  • If you only have a Tripod, DSLR, and a 24-70 lens you will be in great shape for shooting

Gear

  • Canon 6D
  • Canon 5DSR
  • Canon 24-70mm ƒ2.8 L II
  • Canon 70-200mm ƒ2.8 IS II
  • Canon 24mm ƒ1.4 II

Carlsbad Cavern Education and Nonprofit work

  • Carlsbad Cavern Education-- A research paper from the NPS
  • The National Park Service has an enormous amount of volunteers that help keep the cave operational. They have people that simply pull lint extremely carefully from the formations because with 600,000 visitors a year around 8-10 pounds of lint are left behind! If you feel so inclined, feel free to cast your support to the NPS.

 

Drake Passage & Shetland Islands

Drake Passage & Shetland Islands

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