Only 40 miles separate these two parks, and a state line, and now both hold a new place in my heart. I was told that my post had to include both parks, which is okay, because it really does feel like both places go together. Carlsbad Caverns National Park itself does not have a campground so we based our activities out of the campground at Guadalupe NP.
Going to Guadalupe NP in Texas we really didn’t know what to expect except we knew there would be mountains and a campground in which was just a paved parking lot for the RVs. On this portion of our trip we have Hillary’s parents with us, who are towing their tear drop trailer, a trailer that only takes up a 5’x10’ area. When we got to the RV parking lot we found the spots were very wide, so we both parked in the same area, after offering to pay for both vehicles the nice campground host said that the payment was for whatever you could put in the one area…..score. Splitting $8.00 a night, hard to beat that!!!
The camping area, and the spot we chose was right next to the trailhead that was the gateway to multiple trails. On the first night Hillary and myself did the Devils Hall trail, rated at moderate, it had areas that I would of rated more on the difficult side during this 4.2mile hike. Hillary’s dad and myself on one of the afternoons did the hike up toward Guadalupe peak where we tackled the steepest portion for 1.5 miles where we got a commanding view of the highest point in Texas, and also of the valley floor and its many ravines. Our hike took as to the portion of the 8.5mile trail known as “Around the Bend”. The morning before doing that hike Hillary, Richard, and Myself did the 2.3mile Smith Spring Trail, where we were greeted with an Oasis of lush plants and running water in an otherwise arid desert environment.
The campground at Guadalupe had a restroom with running water, nice wide paved spots in a parking lot style. The area did fill up, so I highly suggest not pulling in at night, although I believe you can stay at the visitor center as over-flow. Camping is $8/night, before any discounts if they apply to you. No electrical hookups, or dump, but there is filtered water if needed.
Now onto Carlsbad Caverns, which we did as a day trip from our campground 40 miles away. Carlsbad Caverns has to be one of the most amazing areas I have ever explored. One of the highlights is that you can do two of the trails inside the caves as a self-guided tour. The Natural entrance at the surface near the visitor center is where I started, and after walking 1.25 miles we were down 800 feet under the earth’s surface. If you don’t want to walk that far, you can also take the elevator down. Once down 800 feet, you can explore the Big Room which is a large area of cave with another 1.25 mile loop. I would highly recommend doing both if you are physically capable of doing so. The self guided trails are all paved and smooth, and include a handrail 100% of the way. I would of loved to be on the crew who did the handrail job, all of which was stainless.
If you think Carlsbad Cavern is large with its Big Room and 30 miles of passages, you will be excited to find out not far away in a un-disclosed area is another cave named Lechuguilla Cave. Lechuguilla is the 7th longest cave of 138 miles, discovered in 1986 it is said to have larger rooms and formations seen no where else. Microbes have been also been discovered there that can destroy cancer cells.
After spending a few days in this area, one thing is for certain, and that is I will be back for more!!!
About the Author: Hi, I’m Jason. Husband of a wonderful wife, and papa of crazy dogs. I am a Journeyman Sheet Metal Worker by trade, however you can often find me with tools from other trades in my hand. I am an avid CrossFitter, and when I can’t make it to a CrossFit box you can catch me doing some other form of working out while on the road. As part of RV LIKE MIDGLEY you will find me writing how-to articles, snapping pictures, and just doing what I can to keep us on the road. Thanks for reading!!!