This is a great tour of a cave located outside the Carlsbad Cavern’s main area.  You have to make reservations for the limited guided tour at Carlsbad first.  You will need to drive your own car to the location outside of the main park area (which is 30 miles or so South of Carlsbad). It is an additional 5 mile drive south of the Caverns' turnoff on Highway 62/180 to reach the Washington Ranch Road Turnoff.  Turn Right from the highway.  There will be signs directing you to the Slaughter Canyon Cave parking lot from here on out..  Plan on at least a 35 minute drive from the caverns' visitor center. 

 When you reach the parking lot, you will find a modern outhouse stocked with toilet paper, but no source of water.  Be prepared for the strenuous hike up to Slaughter Canyon Cave by bringing plenty of water.  You probably won't need a lot of water while you are in the cave, but plan accordingly for hot summer desert hikes.  There is a trail that you’ll take up the hill about a 20 degree incline and about 3/4 mile long to reach the cave entrance from the parking lot.  Do not wait on the ranger to show up to start hiking to the cave.  It is up to you to meet the ranger at the mouth of the cave by the time of the scheduled trip's departure.

You must take your own flashlights, hiking shoes or boots; a jacket is a good idea, as it gets cold inside.  Bring drinking water. Don’t wear your best clothes, you’ll have to climb, walk, and crawl over and around things inside.  This is as close to spelunking as a novice will get.  It’s fun, and it may be the highlight of your trip to Carlsbad.  This is not a cave for young children or some handicapped individuals.  You must take a GOOD flashlight with you ~ there is NO lighting inside this cave, thus the cave experience you have will be dependent on the source of light that you bring.  You may even be turned away from the trip if you show up with a cheap light.  A good headlamp is a safe bet, that way you can have your hands free for a short climb up a rope (not a vertical climb, buta slope). You will want drinking water when you return to your car in the parking lot. 

The climb up to the cave is difficult; plan on 45 minutes for this, longer if you are out of shape.  The trail is narrow in places, very steep, and the view is fantastic.  As stated above, there are no lights in this cave, so if you plan to take pictures-bring a high quality flashlight.  Wear good quality tennis shoes or, even better, hiking boots due to the rough terrain.   Bring water on the climb, not just in a cooler in the car, as it can be very warm, especially during the summer. 

This is a great experience for anyone who wishes to see a cave in it's more natural state.  The only real changes were done by guano miners many years ago, the remnants of which are fascinating. There are BEAUTIFUL formations, some still very active.  Notable formations are The Monarch--The Second largest column in the park (may not see it depending on group size), The Hooded Klansman, The Christmas Tree (sparkles when it's dry), The Chinese Wall (A Great, very long, Rimstone Dam), and The Mushroom (Dependent again on the group size/ mobility of the group).