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The Bat Cave

Posted by Jurisinceptor, 17 July 2013 · 899 views

carlsbad caverns new mexico caving bats wildlife
The Bat Cave I'm not a bird watcher, not that there's anything wrong with that, but my recent visit to the desert southwest has given me new appreciation for those who patiently await the appearance of a winged creature - especially in flight.  Certainly there is something to be said for the awe of 400,000 Mexican Free Tail Bats emerging from an immense cavern in the New Mexico Desert.  (By the way, I did NOT take the picture that is on this Blog.  Cameras, cell phones, etc. are not allowed to be used as the bats exit - unless you have been granted, by the National Park Service,  a special use permit that was applied for 2 weeks in advance.)
Carlsbad Caverns is located near Calsbad, New Mexico.  The Visitor Center, and entrance to the cavern, is atop a small mountain and the road to it is very nicely maintained by the National Park Service.  It is very easy to get your motorhome to this cavern's entrance and once you're there, RV parking is plentiful.  A 36' motorhome towing a vehicle has no problem getting into this facility and parking for the duration of the visit.  On the day of my visit, it was about 105 degrees of hot, dry heat so the constant 57 degrees of the caverns was a welcome respite.
The visitor area has an immense gift shop and they also maintain kennels for your dog if you don't want to leave it in the motorhome.  Entrance to the caverns is via your own two feet - or - an elevator that will take you almost a thousand feet down into the earth where you will emerge into, of all things, a snack bar.  Shocking as it may be, since my RV tours usually involve a sampling of local fare, I did not take the time to have a meal in the caverns, or even a snack for that matter.
There are a multitude of options for touring and activities at Carlsbad.  You can take the self guided tour or you can explore off the beaten path with your very own Park Ranger guide.  It's all up to you.  I opted for the self guided tour which was a couple of miles long and was extremely enjoyable.  Although the throngs of people seemed to set my pace for me, it was worth it to take my time.  Especially in the great room which is large enough to hold a Boeing 747 aircraft.  Amazing.
Upon finishing the tour the options for return to the surface are again, your own feet, or the elevator.  Don't be shocked by the Disney World size line waiting for the elevators.  The lines move fast to take you back to the surface.
My advice is to walk down into the cavern and then take the elevator back up.  I would also suggest that you time your visit (during the summer months only) so as to coincide with the exit of the bats, or you could watch them in the morning as they return. 
As Batman would say, "To the bat cave!"

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