Things to Do in Carlsbad, New Mexico

The city of Carlsbad in New Mexico has a lot to offer. Several unique things to do in Carlsbad will leave you amazed. Some of the top attractions in the area include the Living Desert Zoo & Gardens State Park and Carlsbad Caverns National Park.

If you’re planning a trip to the Carlsbad area of New Mexico, then you’ve got a lot to look forward to. Not only does the area have a variety of attractions and activities, but it also has access to a wide range of natural resources. For example, the city is the gateway to the vast bat-filled caves of Carlsbad Caverns National Park.

Best places to visit in Carlsbad, New Mexico

Carlsbad Caverns National Park

Carlsbad Caverns National Park is a World Heritage Site. It is one of the oldest national parks in the United States.

Carlsbad Caverns has an underground labyrinth of sprawling caverns. It is filled with stalactites and stalagmites and is home to winged residents such as bats. Nomadic Native American tribes once inhabited the park.

Carlsbad Caverns
Carlsbad Caverns

James Larkin White was the first American to explore the cave. He began giving tours of the cave with kerosene lanterns. He also facilitated early scientific expeditions into the cave. After guiding these exploratory endeavors, he promoted the cave as a tourist site.

Carlsbad Caverns is considered the eighth wonder of the world. There is a vast array of activities and attractions. Visitors can take guided and self-guiding tours. Several lodging options are available.

Carlsbad Caverns, NM
Carlsbad Caverns, NM

Visitors should expect to spend at least two hours inside the park. Tours include the Lower Cave, Kings Palace, and Left Hand Tunnel. If you plan on visiting during the summer, you should dress warmly.

Living Desert Zoo & Gardens State Park

Living Desert Zoo & Gardens State Park in Carlsbad, New Mexico, offers visitors the opportunity to learn about the Chihuahuan Desert in the southwestern part of the United States. A park is also an excellent place for a picnic. It features a 1.3-mile nature trail that winds through the habitat zones of the desert.

Living Desert Zoo, Carlsbad, NM
Living Desert Zoo, Carlsbad, NM

Visitors can see many native animals, including black bears, elk, and javelinas. Additionally, they can view a wide variety of plants. For instance, there is a Succulents of the World exhibit, which features cacti from the Southwest. In addition, the Wildlife Wonders Show offers animal encounters and demonstrations.

There is also a Reptile House where visitors can observe several types of snakes. Also, a nocturnal exhibit offers visitors the chance to see a variety of bats, salamanders, and kangaroo rats.

Brantley Lake State Park

The Brantley Lake State Park is a recreational site in New Mexico. It is one of the southernmost lakes in the state, located along the Pecos River. This park offers several attractions and events. You can enjoy hiking, canoeing, and fishing.

Brantley Lake Sunset, Brantley Lake State Park, New Mexico
Brantley Lake Sunset, Brantley Lake State Park, New Mexico

The park is open year-round. It features a boat ramp, a visitor center, and picnic areas. There are also primitive campsites. Visitors can participate in various activities during the summer months, including swimming, wildlife watching, and water skiing.

There are two hiking trails at the park. Visitors can experience a scenic nature walk, or they can take a longer hike that will allow them to see the lake. These trails are popular with families. They range from 91 to 104 feet in elevation gain.

Lake Carlsbad Beach Park

Lake Carlsbad Beach Park is a popular area for swimming and other water activities. There are 120 acres of land with a beach and walking pathways. The park also has covered places with grills and picnic tables. It is ideal for families with children.

Dammed up Pecos River at Carlsbad
Dammed up Pecos River at Carlsbad

Other attractions in the area include several golf courses. One is a nine-hole par-3 course, and the other is an 18-hole course. Both courses are perfect for beginners. In addition, they offer a great variety of scenic views. A full-length, 18-hole course can be played in less than an hour.

Lake Carlsbad is also an excellent place to go for boating, fishing, and water sports. Renting a paddle board or pedal boat is a fun way to enjoy the area.

Pecos River Flume

The Pecos River Flume was a large concrete structure that was a part of the Carlsbad Irrigation District in Carlsbad, New Mexico. It was a technological marvel of its day, 475 feet long and 25 feet wide. At its construction, it was the largest concrete structure of its kind in the world. Today, it is weed-choked and a leaky overpass. However, it is still a great place to explore.

Pecos River Canal Flume
Pecos River Canal Flume

The Pecos River was an essential source of water in the northern Chihuahuan Desert and was also a significant player in the Spanish exploration of Texas. In 1887, settlers in the region drew up plans for an irrigation canal to irrigate crops in the semi-arid Pecos Valley.

A large-scale irrigation scheme was introduced to the valley without clearly understanding the local agricultural potential. Consequently, many companies wasted massive amounts of money on inefficient technology that did not serve the agricultural needs of the area.

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