Carlsbad Caverns National Park Tours, NM
Slaughter Canyon CaveCave Tour
5 hr. 30 min.
Notice:Tours cannot be reserved less than 48 hours prior to the start of the tour. All tours within the 48 hour period are sold on site on a first come first served basis.
Carlsbad Caverns suffered severe flooding throughout the park. The access road and trail to Slaughter Canyon Cave is impassable and will not be repaired until after the normal end of the seasonal tours. Slaughter Canyon will be closed for future reservations. The park will offer Lower Cave tours in lieu of Slaughter Canyon Cave.
Slaughter Canyon Cave tours will not be available until March 2015
Slaughter Canyon Cave has some of the most beautiful and enchanting cave formations in the park. The tour takes you into the darkness where you will see not only beautiful decorations but remnants of days gone by, during a time when the cave was mined for its guano. Today, the trail cuts through an ancient pile of guano and if you look close you will see the tiny, fragile bones of a long extinct bat.
There is no stooping or crawling on this tour but it is extremely strenuous. To get to the cave you must walk up a steep, rocky 1/2 mile trail from the parking lot. On a hot summer day the temperature outside can exceed 100 degrees F (38 C) in the shade. Be prepared with water and sunscreen. Once inside the cooler cave, things do not get easier. The trail is rugged and in many places, extremely slippery. At one point you will climb up smooth and slick flowstone using a handline.
Know Before You Go
Recently, Carlsbad Caverns National Park has made significant changes to the logistics of the SCC tour. These changes were made not only to ensure the safety of each participant, but to help stop the spread of White-nose Syndrome, a fatal disease affecting bats. It is caused by a fungus and has killed more than 5 million bats in several states in the Eastern US and Canada over the past several years. The fungal spores are spread from bat to bat contact, but can also be transported from one cave to another on the shoes, clothing and caving equipment of humans.
Once you have been provided with equipment and a safety orientation from the rangers, you will drive in your own vehicle to the trailhead and meet up again with the rangers. The hike up to the cave is a steep, ½ mile climb up a rocky trail.
The following is a recommended list of items to bring for your safety and comfort:
There is no handicap accessibility on this tour.
A rustic toilet is located at the trailhead. No other amenities are available. There are no restroom opportunities during the tour.
Note: Some Tours may be available only from the Tour Park on a first-come-first-served basis. Arrival dates earlier than the online-reservation-window may also be available at the Tour Park.