The Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico are not the largest or longest caverns in the USA or Canada. Regardless, they were still cool and we wanted to stop for another unique reason, the bats! A recent attempt to determine the peak number of bats that exit the cave estimated 793,000 bats emerging over a period of 3 hours. Sadly the saw more like 7 bats before we left. We arrived very early in the season and the main migration of bats had yet to arrive. While you can't plan a 6 month roadtrip to match the perfect time for all our locations, we didn't leave disappointed.
While not the largest cavern, Carlsbad does shine with it's accessibility. Unlike the nearby Lechuguilla Cave which is only accessible for scientific expeditions, Carlsbad is considered a show cave. This means that it has been made accessible with constructed trails and lighting. But don't let that fool you about the commitment of this cavern. You still have to descend 750 feet underground and walk the 2km of trails. Once you reach the bottom you are treated with hundreds of stalagmites and stalactites of all shapes and sizes. It was amazing to see some of the larger open spaces this far down. The largest chamber, known as the Big Room was over a kilometer long (1,220m) and 625ft wide. After an hour underground we had a quick bite to eat and headed back up. This was another stop that left us wanting to come back and next time, we'll time it just right to see the bats! You can see how cool it is from the almighty YouTube!