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Carlsbad Caverns - fulfilling my kid's dream

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Orange, California
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Carlsbad Caverns - fulfilling my kid's dream

Dear All,

My daughter is a grad student at Caltech and her dream vacation of all time is to visit Carlsbad Caverns. We live in Southern California and I've looked at multiple options . . .flying into El Paso & renting a car, driving straight through the southwest, visiting family along the way, ad infinitum.

As a child my dad took me on many adventures along route 66 on our annual family road trip to Oberlin, Kansas. Alas, it's not so easy to get to there anymore.

Specifically I'd like opinions on a road trip vs flying & renting a car. This trip is entirely for her, so I'm willing to contribute the time it takes for the dream of a lifetime.

Oh, and I do have family in Kingman, AZ & various parts of Texas for stop overs.

13 replies to this topic
Las Cruces
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11. Re: Carlsbad Caverns - fulfilling my kid's dream

I'm pretty sure that you aren't allowed to hike out of the natural enterance.

West Chicago...
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2,468 posts
131 reviews
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12. Re: Carlsbad Caverns - fulfilling my kid's dream

Actually, you are allowed to hike out the Natural Entrance. They just strongly recommend against it. Also, they restrict the last time that you can leave going up that way. (I remember being surprised when I was there to see that it was allowed...and definitely planning to never, ever do it myself!)


Albuquerque, New...
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for Albuquerque, New Mexico
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13. Re: Carlsbad Caverns - fulfilling my kid's dream

I would be very interested in some of the routes beginning with Tet's at no. 8. And I agree that Taos and Four Corners are detours, but given two weeks you may be able to fit in one or two detours. The Four Corners itself is okay, but I'd look at Durango and Mesa Verde as the "Four Corners" destinations. And if Taos, you certainly would include Santa Fe, yes? Also agree with downplaying Roswell and Meteor Crater. Also seems a shame to not take advantage of relatives in Kingman since that would split Orange County to ABQ trip in half. And hate to sound like a broken record, but ABQ would be good point (via car or plane) from which to make a Carlsbad Cavern loop, as well as a Durango/Mesa Verde/Taos/Santa Fe loop. (Maybe the latter is really two loops and too much since Carlsbad Caverns is really your primary destination.) Also I see your map loops you through Flagstaff and down 17. And you should also be looking at Sedona along that way. I forgot when you are going, but if it's the middle of summer, you may find some bargains for Phoenxi & Scottsdale resorts. Generally, sounds like the makings of a great trip!

PS. Did anyone mention you want your overnight at Carlsbad Caverns in Carlsbad, and not White's City? Holiday Inn Express is usual recommendation.

Edited: 12:56 pm, March 15, 2012
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