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“An hour of hell!”

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.
Baltimore, Maryland
Level 5 Contributor
66 reviews
33 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
“An hour of hell!”
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 took us at least 45 min. to drive through it and we were laughing so hard about how ridiculous it was that that was the only thing that made us be able to tolerate the hour or so it took.

Visited April 2014
1 Thank ingrid c
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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30 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
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English first
Maplewood, Minnesota
Level 6 Contributor
435 reviews
123 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 140 helpful votes
“Good desert drive”
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 crowds. If you have a "regular" car, it is fine to drive this road very slowly as long as there has not been any recent rain which can cause washouts lower down in the canyon.

Visited March 2014
3 Thank Michael W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 5 Contributor
67 reviews
43 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 58 helpful votes
“Walnut Canyon Desert Drive”
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 are not. Perhaps they burned up in the 2011 fire. We ate our picnic lunch in the car, which was a little inconvenient, but no big deal.

Visited October 2013
5 Thank SharonandJuan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 3 Contributor
22 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
“Nice, long quiet drive”
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 them to pass. It is a bumpy, gravel, one-lane road but we had no problems navigating it. It took us almost an hour to drive it as we stopped several times for photos. We paused to think what the early settlers must have thought when they first arrived here as it is quite isolated. We would highly recommend it if you have the time.

Visited September 2013
1 Thank Susan R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles, California
Level 5 Contributor
51 reviews
17 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
“Nice drive if you have time...”
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..

Visited July 2013
Thank cakewalk2011
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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