Photo: Carlsbad Caverns National Park Tours Photo: Carlsbad Caverns National Park Tours

Carlsbad Caverns National Park Tours, NM

Slaughter Canyon Cave

Cave Tour
5 hr. 30 min.


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.
Ticket Availability


Tour Description

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.
Sorry, children under 8 years of age are not allowed on this tour.

Tour Details

  • Duration: 5 hr. 30 min.
  • Distance: 1 miles
  • Accessible: No
  • Effort: Difficult

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.
The fungus is not harmful to people or other animals, but is deadly to bats.

Please read the following carefully to be fully prepared for your Slaughter Canyon Cave Adventure Tour!

  • Please arrive at the Visitor Center no later than 8:00 am
  • Please do not wear or bring clothing, shoes or equipment that has been in any cave in the past five years.
  • You will meet your Ranger Guide at the Visitor Center.
  • Participants are required to bring four (4) AA batteries.
  • Do not bring a flashlight.
  • Don't forget the camera! However, no tripods are allowed in the cave.
    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:

  • Drinking water (no other beverages or food are allowed in the cave).
  • Sturdy shoes or boots (no open toed shoes allowed while in the cave).
  • Sunscreen and hat
  • A snack that you can leave in your car for after the tour.
  • Reserved tickets must be picked up no later than 10 minutes prior to the posted tour starting time. Tickets will not be issued if within 10 minutes of the start of any tour. No refunds for late arrivals.


    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.
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