Secret Cave Tour
Carlsbad Caverns is an impressive and breathtaking system of caves. Walking through it in the dim light, in the cool, still air, with nothing more than whispers between guests to break the silence is a haunting experience. Carlsbad Caverns is a very special place. Click here to see our photo gallery on this national park.
But looking around these formations created by God, there is a very obvious abundance of man's influence, from lights to concrete paths to information signs. It makes you wonder what it would be like to walk into this unique subterranean world for the first time, just like the first discoverers, with nothing but a candle to light the way. Well now you can and we did!
Once a day for a $7 fee, a special candlelight cavern tour called the Left Hand Tunnel Tour is available for up to 15 guests guided by a Ranger through a system of caves that deny all influence from man. We jumped at this opportunity and were lucky enough to be at the park at the time it was available!
Each guest is given a candle in a lantern and then descends down the main elevator down from the visitor center into the cave system. But instead of going into the main rooms, we turned away from the general public to an offshoot cave that sat behind a locked gate.
It felt incredible to enter this dark world away from the masses and each step we took into the darkness felt like a step back in time. We could barely make out exploration markers in our candle light along the path showing that this cave is still very much unexplored and unknown. The ranger advised us how to carefully walk through the makeshift path so as not to damage any stalagmites that took thousands of years to form.
The range of our dim candles would grow as our eyes adjusted to the darkness and looming shadows hung beyond the glow of our candles. The first cavers to have entered Carlsbad Caverns had the same amount of light and excitement.
There were five of us in the group, including the ranger, so we only had five candles. There were parts of chambers we walked through where, even with all our candles grouped together, we couldn't see the far side wall, if there was one.
Only when we reached our turnaround point did the ranger turn on the flashlights she brought, to reveal to us the millions of formations that were just out of sight with the candlelight. It was truly amazing.
She even asked us all to take a seat, blow out our candles and sit in utter silence and darkness for a minute or so. The cavern is so far from noise, light and any other pollution of the senses, that we were honored with a true experience of senselessness for a brief moment. It was quite spiritual.
The tour takes between 1.5 to 2 hours, depending on group size, but it felt much shorter because we had such a great time. We could have stayed and explored much longer. We highly recommend this trip to anyone who is daring enough to step into the unknown!
Book Your Tour!
877.444.6777 or visit Recreation.gov.