Monday, June 5, 2023


Free Night Sky programs at Carlsbad Caverns NP

Late May through mid-October, Carlsbad Caverns National Park hosts very special free family Night Sky Programs.

Bat Flight Program 

Every summer evening park rangers present compelling  programs about the Brazilian free-tailed bats that live in the caverns between spring and autumn.

“The best bat flights normally occur in August and September when baby bats, born in early summer, join the flight along with migrating bats from colonies further north,” according to rangers. In late October or early November, the bats begin migrating south for the winter; they return in April or May, depending on weather.

The starting time for the “Bat” talk is 7:45 p.m.  Programs could be canceled because of inclement weather. Check at the visitor center for updates.

Night Sky Programs

Milky Way (NASA)

Star Viewing

2022 Evenings include: July 29-30, Aug. 12-13, Sept. 23-24, Oct. 7-8

“The park is a perfect spot for viewing the wonders of the night sky due to its location miles away from the lights of the local communities,” according to rangers.

Learn about the night sky in the Chihuahuan Desert. “Programs discuss a variety of topics from nocturnal creatures, cultural folklore, and astronomy.”

Night Hikes

2022 Evenings include: July 22-23, Aug. 26-27, Sept. 16-17, Oct. 14-15

Be prepared to hike 1.5 miles round trip through the desert. Dress for the weather and in appropriate shoes and long pants.

Although these hikes are free, attendance is limited to first-come, first-served, with a maximum of 12 participants for each event. Register for programs at the visitor center information desk on the day of the event.

Bring a red lens flashlight or headlamp if you have them. These events start immediately after Bat Flight.

Carlsbad Cavern Self-Guided Tour

Although the visitor center and cave are not open during evening events, plan on arriving earlier in the day and take a tour through this fantastic natural wonder.

Carlsbad Cavern Natural Entrance Trail. (Julianne G. Crane)

If you go: 

Carlsbad Caverns National Park
727 Carlsbad Caverns Highway
(GPS systems may not find this address)
Carlsbad, New Mexico 88220

Visitor information: (575) 785-2232.
Bat Flight information: (575) 785-3012

Hours for the Cavern
8 a.m.–2:30 p.m. (last cavern entrance time); final elevator out at 4:45 p.m.
Entry Fee: Adults (16 and older): $15; Children (15 and under): Free; Pass Holders: Free

Visitor Center Hours: 8 a.m.–5 p.m.

COVID-19 Operations Update: Reservations are required to enter Carlsbad Cavern and must be purchased online or by calling (877) 444-6777.

  • No reservations available at the park
  • Reservations are only for selecting the entry time.
  • Purchase entrance tickets at the visitor center.

Nearby Camping: For information on RV and tent camping near Carlsbad Caverns, click here for information on Brantley Lake State Park.

—Julianne G. Crane
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Julianne G. Crane
Julianne G. Crane
Julianne G. Crane writes about the RVing and camping lifestyles for print and online sites. She was been hooked on RVing from her first rig in the mid-1980s. Between 2000-2008, she was a writer for The Spokesman-Review newspaper in Spokane, Wash. One of her popular columns was Wheel Life about RVing in the Pacific Northwest. In 2008, Crane started publishing RV Wheel She and her husband, Jimmy Smith, keep a homebase in southern Oregon, while they continue to explore North America in their 21-foot 2021 Escape travel trailer. Over the years they have owned every type of RV except a big class A. “Our needs change and thankfully, there’s an RV out there that fits every lifestyle.”


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9 years ago

I have never seen anything as celestial as the night skies of New Mexico. It's as if you can reach out and touch the stars!
Peaceful and makes the worries of the world fade away.

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