This is a suggested way of spending two days at Carlsbad Caverns National Park. The order allows the experiences to build on each other. The Natural Entrance and the Big Room are basic standards and are a great way to begin. The King's Palace continues with what used to be a self-guided tour, but is now only available on a scheduled ranger-guided tour. The Left Hand Tunnel experience is by candle lanterns and ups the overall experience. Finally, the Lower Cave tour is by headlamps and features some mild caving opportunities. Fill in the in-between times with book store, gift shop, theater and/or cafe.

Day 1

  • Rent the available audio guide.
  • Start with the NATURAL ENTRANCE ROUTE SELF-GUIDED TOUR. Allow 1 hour.
  • Continue with the BIG ROOM SELF-GUIDED TOUR. Allow 90 minutes.
  • Ride the elevator to the surface and visit the book store and gift shop. Possibly view one of the short movies in the theater. Have lunch in the café.
  • Ride the elevator down again and take either the 2pm or 3pm KING’S PALACE RANGER-GUIDED TOUR.
  • Afterwards, be prepared to kill some time including having dinner (bring some reading material, cards, etc.) and then attend the BAT FLIGHT PROGRAM.


Day 2

  • In the morning take the 9am LEFT HAND TUNNEL RANGER-GUIDED TOUR.
  • Lunch in the café.
  • In the afternoon take the 1pm LOWER CAVE RANGER-GUIDED TOUR.


To make this schedule possible, you’ll need to book the 3 ranger-guided tours well in advance as they regularly sell out. Each of them become available 6 months in advance for booking.