Carlsbad Caverns Wilderness
Carlsbad Caverns Wilderness is in the Guadalupe Mountains
While Carlsbad Caverns is an incredible subterranean National Park, most of the landscape above the caves, part of the designated Carlsbad Caverns Wilderness, is almost equally dramatic. With elevations ranging from 3,600' to 6,350' across the 33,125 acres, this is a countryside of craggy ridges rising above steep and rocky canyons.
Because of the location at the western edge of the Great Plains and the northern edge of the Chihuahuan Desert, Carlsbad Caverns Wilderness has incredible biodiversity: 950 species of plants, 67 species of mammals, 55 species of reptiles and 357 species of birds.
Carlsbad Caverns Wilderness covers almost 3/4 of the National Park surface area and bounds up against Lincoln National Forest to the west and northwest. Of the 43 miles of hiking trails in the park, some 25 miles are in the Wilderness. Any caves found within the Wilderness are managed as part of the Wilderness.
This is a water-challenged area so whatever you want to do out here, bring your own water. Summers are hot and dry. Winters are pretty mild but the tops of the Guadalupes often carry snow. And spring can be very windy.
Carlsbad Caverns Wilderness map
Carlsbad Caverns Wilderness area map