Carlsbad Caverns Tours – Big Room, Left Hand Tunnel, King’s Palace & More

Carlsbad Caverns National Park has several self-guided and ranger-led cave tours that allow visitors to see the Big Room, Left Hand Tunnel, King’s Palace and Hall of the White Giant. They also offer adventures to wild caves like the Spider Cave and Slaughter Canyon Cave.

Here is some information about the the Carlsbad Caverns tours:

Natural Entrance Trail Self Guided Tour

A 1.25 mile trail with an elevation change of around 750 feet that features the natural entrance. Formations on the trail include Devil’s Spring, Iceberg Rock and the Whale’s Mouth.

Big Room Self Guided Tour

The Big Room is a large limestone chamber measuring almost 4,000 feet long, 625 feet wide and 225 high at its tallest. It is the largest cave chamber in the United States. The self-guided route is 1.25 miles and takes around 1.5 hours to complete, or take the shortcut to walk only .6 miles. The elevators from the visitor center enter and exit through the Big Room at the head of the Left Hand Tunnel, where the Underground Lunchroom that was built in the 1950s is located.

Here are a few photos of the Big Room:

King’s Palace Tour

A 1.5 hour guided tour through four chambers that goes 830 feet below the surface – the deepest portion of the cavern open to the public. The cost is $8 for adults and $4 for children.

Left Hand Tunnel

A candle-lit lantern tour through an undeveloped section of the cave. Highlights of the tour include the unique history of the lunchroom, the fossils and cave pools. The cost is $7 for adults and $3.50 for kids. The tour lasts for two hours and departs from the visitor center theater. The minimum age is six years old.

Hall of the White Giant

The White Giant is a tall column sitting in the middle of a dark cave chamber. It is reached by narrow passages such as Matlock’s Pinch, a short rope-assisted ascent, and avoiding several drop offs. The duration is four hours and the cost is $20 for adults and $10 for children 12+ years of age.

Lower Cave

The lower cave tour operates lower in the cave than the big room. It is reached via a sixty foot rope assisted descent and ladders. There are no walkways – the path is marked by tape. Highlights include the cave pearls of the Rookery and diverse formations such as the Colonel Boles Formation, and the Texas Toothpick (a very long stalactite). The tour lasts three hours and costs $20 for adults and $10 for children.

Spider Cave

A ranger guided tour through a wild cave that is considered one of the most strenuous at Carlsbad Caverns National Park. If you are looking for an introduction to caving, this is a good choice. It includes a short hike to reach the entrance, belly crawling, climbing and stooping – the Spider Cave tour is not for the claustrophobic or those who are afraid of getting dirty. Highlights of the experience include Mace Room, Medusa Room, and Cactus Spring.

Slaughter Canyon Cave

This off-trail cave tour is listed as moderately strenuous and includes a half mile uphill hike to the cave entrance. Guests caravan in their vehicles to the cave entrance from the visitor center. Sights along the trip include the famous Christmas Tree, the Monarch, the Mushroom and the Chinese Wall / Great Wall of China. Tickets are $15 for adults and $7.50 for children. The tour lasts 5.5 hours.