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Walnut Canyon Desert Drive

Address: 3225 National Parks Highway, Carlsbad Caverns National Park, Carlsbad Caverns National Park, NM
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Type: Scenic Drives, Outdoor Activities, Sights & Landmarks
Owner description: This is a 9 mile gravel road that makes a loop through Carlsbad Caverns National Park. It is shown...
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Attraction details
Type: Scenic Drives, Outdoor Activities, Sights & Landmarks
Owner description: This is a 9 mile gravel road that makes a loop through Carlsbad Caverns National Park. It is shown on the map at the NPS website, and mentioned in guidebooks such as National Geographic's Guide to the National Parks.
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16 reviews from our community

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English first
Oklahoma City
Top Contributor
54 reviews 54 reviews
32 attraction reviews
45 helpful votes 45 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 12, 2014

This drive winds through the hills slowly climbing to the upper rim near the entrance to Carlsbad Caverns Visitors Center. There is an impressive variety of desert flora visible from the road. And, if you stay to see the Bat Flight, you may get to see some desert animals as they go in search of a bite to eat! Hey,... More 

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Fredericksburg, Texas
Top Contributor
138 reviews 138 reviews
44 attraction reviews
138 helpful votes 138 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 10, 2014

The Scenic Loop Drive is just that - a very scenic drive. the Drive begins just as the visitor center comes into view. Be sure to pick up a road guide which explains a lot that you will see a and more importantly what you might not notice. The road follows the ridge for 4 miles and then drops into... More 

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Portland, Maine
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
5 attraction reviews
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 17, 2014

This is a very good example of a road through the desert. There were fascinating plants and wonderful geology. Great for the lover of nature in all of its forms. Not for the 'convenience' or the 'just the pretty things' focused visitor.

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Baltimore, Maryland
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
7 attraction reviews
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed April 15, 2014

This was a rutted, poorly maintained road that would never end. You truly could not go more than 15 mi. per hour and in places even less. Feared bottoming out my car. There was nothing of interest along it or that you hadn't seen driving through the deserts of N.M. It said it was 9 miles I believe but it... More 

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Bloomfield Township, Michigan
Top Contributor
403 reviews 403 reviews
93 attraction reviews
529 helpful votes 529 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 4, 2014

We drove in a mini van. This is not something I would want to do everyday. But I am glad we did it once. If you looking for Macy's, Dillards, Chili's or Applebees, you might be disappointed (some people think I have a good sense of humor). This is kind of a bumpy ride in a desert, that makes you... More 

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Eau Claire, Wisconsin
Top Contributor
81 reviews 81 reviews
12 attraction reviews
39 helpful votes 39 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 17, 2014

Took this 9.5 mile drive to finish off our visit to Carlsbad Caverns. It was a very pleasant introduction to the Chihuahuan desert with lovely vistas and a number of turnouts. Despite no picnic tables there were a number of places to have a picnic. The road was nearly deserted so was a wonderful way to get away from the... More 

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Tucson
Senior Contributor
44 reviews 44 reviews
28 attraction reviews
37 helpful votes 37 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 3, 2013

We took the 9.5 mile Walnut Canyon Desert Drive, which is very enjoyable on a cool fall October day. An information flier is available at the Visitor Center, and it featured a variety of plant, geology, and historic points of interest. In the glossy Carlsbad Cavern brochure, it says there are picnic tables in Walnut Canyon, but in fact there... More 

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Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
9 attraction reviews
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 28, 2013 via mobile

We drove the 9.5 mile loop after visiting the Caverns. We thought the scenery was breathtaking. It would probably be boring for families with kids, but for us (a couple of middle-aged folks) it was a very pleasant drive with beautiful scenery. There were only two other cars on the road, but there were places to pull over and allow... More 

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Los Angeles, California
Top Contributor
53 reviews 53 reviews
18 attraction reviews
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 20, 2013

We drove on it in a rental mid-size sedan (Toyota Corolla) and we did well.... there were some scary downhill turns though...the view is so so, but we had fun..

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Fort Collins, Colorado
Top Contributor
58 reviews 58 reviews
17 attraction reviews
70 helpful votes 70 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed July 2, 2013

My mom & I were hoping to take some photos while enjoying the scenic drive. Our spouses and grand/great grand son were enjoying the Natural Entrance tour at the caverns. The Guide brochure box was empty at the start of the one way drive loop. That should have been our first clue. After starting the drive, we noticed previous fire... More 

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