Carlsbad Caverns National Park Photo Gallery

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The cavern from which Carlsbad Cavern National Park gets its name is the undeniable crown attraction. Draped with icicle-like formations, the ceilings and walls of the limestone cave were formed more than 250 million years ago. There are 117 caves in all—some of the largest in North America.  
Credit: National Park Service 
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Park staff will point you in the direction of Big Room, the largest underground section of Carlsbad Cavern. This self-guided tour explores a vast chamber decked out with sculpted limestone, stalactites, and illuminated pools.  
Credit: National Park Service 
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Another self-guided tour, the Natural Entrance Route is a challenging course that slopes more than 750 feet on a narrow trail through the Main Corridor, a lengthy trunk passage. The path is flanked by side caves packed with impressive rock forms.  
Credit: National Park Service 
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Keep your eyes peeled for Devil's Spring, Green Lake Overlook, and the Boneyard, where patterns of eroded limestone resemble mini moon craters. Green Lake Room gets its name from the Kryptonite-colored pool in the corner of the cave.  
Credit: Photodisc/Getty 
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Six cave tours led by rangers range from breezy to strenuous. The Kings Palace jaunt isn't a tough trek, but it traverses a steep grade and challenging climb along its one-mile path. True daredevils will get a kick out of the Hall of the White Giant tour. Groups elbow through muddy passageways, climb a flowstone chimney, and scale ladders to the main attraction—a 20-foot-tall stalagmite.  
Credit: Stephen St. John/National Geographic/Getty 
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But there's more to the park than cave tours—two-thirds of the area is designated wilderness. Great hiking trails and backcountry campsites stretch out just beyond the caverns.  
Credit: Stephen St. John/National Geographic/Getty 
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Summer evenings at the caves kick off with the dinnertime flight of 400,000 Mexican free-tailed bats. The web-winged mammals hang out (upside-down) on the ceiling of Bat Cave during the day and swarm in enormous black clouds to feast on insects at dusk. Morning folk can catch them on the return trip.  
Credit: Photodisc/Getty 
 
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