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“Fire Damage, not worth the Time investment”

Walnut Canyon Desert Drive
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Attraction details
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.
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 damage on this route. We had seen the fire damage on the ride up to the Visitor Center but had not realized that it had been so large as to make it's way up to this area. Once you get near the 'Rattlesnake Canyon' area. (There is a sign on the left side of the road). Vegetation is greener and photos of the plants turned out quite picturesque. Also shots of the canyon with the distant mountains...The drive seems LONGER than 9.5 miles. We drove this in a Ford Taurus and had no problems with the gravel road.

Thank Sharolyn L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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28 - 32 of 35 reviews

Reviewed June 28, 2013

We looked forward to the drive to "fill out" our experience in the caves. But is was a drive around the country side without explanation. No guide brochures were available, which made the drive pointless.

Thank MrAllan54
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 17, 2013 via mobile

This was ~10 mile scenic drive right near visitor center. Gravel road which was easy drive in our rented Impala although if was my personal car I may not want to have 10 miles of gravel beating on it.

Beautiful views and worth it for the amazing photo opps. If you come all the way to caverns to visit take the extra time to do this drive.

Thank JKK123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 2, 2013

We drove this drive after spending the morning in the cavern. The road is gravel, but decent. We drove it in our mini-van with no problems.
It started out not very interesting; we drove past where they store the water (?) and the pipes that go to the visitor's center. Plus the land was mostly flat at the begining. The scenery got much better as we drove further, with small hills and desert plants and cliffs. We saw a large herd of mule deer near the empty creek bed. According to the drive brochure we picked up at the visitor's center beforehand, there's a small spring along the drive. We stopped to look at it but it was too dry to see much of anything.
The drive has pull-outs along the way where you can get out and walk around. We also just stopped several times on the road to get out of the vehicle and take pictures. Only once did we see another vehicle; they passed us while we were stopped at a pull-out. The sense of isolation and listening to just the wind is a nice experience. This is good drive to take if you have the time to slow down and get out of the car for a bit.

Thank kren250
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 30, 2013

We drove the Loop and enjoyed the desert and the cactus in bloom. No one seems to take the Loop road so we were able to take our time and stop and take some photos. Very different cliffs around as well.

Thank Makattak59
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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