The Big Room, Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico

By RON LIZZI - GoOutsideBook.com

 

 

Here are seven photos from the Big Room in New Mexico's Carlsbad Caverns National Park.

 

When Consumer Reports magazine rated national parks in 1997 based on readers' experiences, Carlsbad Caverns tied for second place. That lofty position is surely due to the spectacular Big Room, a gigantic and highly decorated cave.

 

The Big Room is rare—perhaps unique—among caves in that self-guided tours are the norm. Not only does this allow visitors to view the formations at their own pace, it also enables quality photography. Lighting is dim, so taking good photos generally requires a tripod and long exosures. Flash typically doesn't work well because, assuming the formation is close enough for the flash to reach it, the light can fill in the shadows that show the formation's detail and beauty.

 

The Big Room Trail is 1.25 miles (2.0 kilometers) and may be reached by elevator from the visitor center. Alternatively one may enter via the Natural Entrance Trail, which is also 1.25 miles (2.0 kilometers) with a descent of about 750 feet (229 meters).

 

 

Giant Dome and Twin Domes - Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico

 

Twin Domes and 62-foot (19-meter) high Giant Dome (right)

 

 

 

Twin Domes - Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico

 

Twin Domes

 

 

 

Chandelier - Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico

 

Chandelier

 

 

 

Rock of Ages - Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico

 

Rock of Ages

 

 

 

Doll's Theater - Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico

 

Doll's Theater

 

 

 

Lion's Tail - Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico

 

Lion's Tail

 

 

 

Temple of the Sun - Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico

 

Temple of the Sun