Heading to Carlsbad Caverns National Park is definitely something you should do at least once in your lifetime. But zeroing in exclusively on the caverns limits you from experiencing all that the City of Carlsbad provides.
Here’s a roundup of 12 engaging activities that will render your Carlsbad trip truly standout.
Beyond the caverns, the neighboring Guadalupe Mountains also warrant your attention for their scenic beauty.
THE BACKCOUNTRY TRAIL
One: For those who love the great outdoors, driving the Guadalupe Backcountry Scenic Byway is a must. Located 12 miles north of downtown Carlsbad, the road climbs nearly 3,000 feet, meandering through pale limestone cliffs peppered with patches of prickly pear and spiky sotol vegetation.
Two: The byway also serves as an entryway into the Guadalupe Mountains National Park. This national reserve is famous for containing the world’s largest Permian fossil reef, a wide variety of flora and fauna, and historical tales about the Mescalero people, the Butterfield Overland Stage, and the pioneers who founded the park.
Three: The byway further routes you to the Sitting Bull Falls Recreation Area, where you can cool off in the waterfall’s natural pools or wander along multiple trails in the vicinity. Cap it off with a picnic in one of the area’s vintage shelters.
CYCLE OR GALLOP ON LA CUEVA PATHS
Four: Choose your mode—be it mountain biking, horseback riding, or a simple hike — on the La Cueva Non-Motorized Trail System, which features 15-plus miles of well-maintained tracks. The system is a challenge for mountain bikers of varied skill levels and offers serene walkways to enjoy the desert’s plant life, critters, and bird species.
DISCOVER CHIHUAHUAN ECOSYSTEM AT THE LIVING ZOO
Five: Acquaint yourself with the biodiversity of the Chihuahuan Desert at the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens State Park. The facility showcases upwards of 40 native animal species and a broad array of regional plants. The walking tour provides sweeping vistas of the Pecos River Valley, accompanied by amenities like shaded benches, rest facilities, and drinking stations for a refined hiking experience.
IMMERSE YOURSELF IN CARLSBAD’S HERITAGE AND ARTISTRY
Six: Inaugurated in 1931, the Carlsbad Museum operates as an educational and cultural venue. Its mission revolves around amassing, preserving, displaying, and providing context for artifacts, manuscripts, and art pieces pertinent to Carlsbad’s early history, nearby communities in southeast New Mexico, and the expansive American Southwest.
EXPLORE CREATIVITY AT HALAGUENO ARTS PARK
Seven: For those inclined toward the arts, Halagueno Arts Park is a great spot to visit. The park boasts an array of sculptures and art pieces by local talents that embody Carlsbad’s unique spirit. Among the installations are figures of native wildlife such as coyotes, roadrunners, cottontails, and turtles, all watched over by the Emerald Dragon, an artwork made from recycled materials.
Eight: These and other art pieces, form an integral part of the Pearl of the Pecos Arts and Culture District. Despite Carlsbad’s rural status, this district serves as a centrally situated, accessible hub. Often dubbed as Carlsbad’s “cultural epicenter,” it features a blend of boutique galleries, innovative ventures, dining establishments, and unique accommodations.
TEE OFF AT LAKE CARLSBAD
Nine: Golfers will enjoy the Lake Carlsbad Golf Course, which boasts an 18-hole Championship course spanning a 6,220-yard fairway within a par-72 setting. For those looking for a shorter game, there’s also a nine-hole, par-3 layout. And for beginners or those looking for light fun, a newly erected miniature golf course is at your disposal.
WATER FUN AT BRANTLEY LAKE
Ten: Known for its variety of water-based recreation, Brantley Lake State Park is the place to be for boating, fishing, paddle sports, swimming, and even water skiing. The park also offers hiking trails, birdwatching spots, as well as modern and rustic camping areas, complete with washroom amenities that include showers. Fishing enthusiasts can reel in species such as walleye, white bass, channel catfish, trout, and more.
DISCOVER RECREATION AT LAKE CARLSBAD
Eleven: Make sure to visit the Lake Carlsbad Recreation Area, which features an expansive network of trails along the scenic Pecos River. The recreational space boasts amenities like splash zones, tennis and pickleball facilities, volleyball setups, paddleboat hiring options, and even a seasonal water amusement park.
AQUATIC FUN FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY
Twelve: If you’re looking for a family-friendly outing, don’t miss the Carlsbad Water Park, complete with a variety of water slides, a meandering lazy river, and a specially designed children’s splash area.
CHECK OUT THE UNIQUE PECOS RIVER FLUME
Thirteen: Before wrapping up your trip, swing by the Pecos River Flume. Often referred to as the “river that loops over itself,” this 497-foot long engineering marvel was originally constructed to channel up to 9,000 gallons of water per second for agricultural irrigation. Though it’s been over a hundred years since its feature in Ripley’s Believe It or Not, the flume continues to stand, remarkably still crossing its own path.
THIS STORY SPONSORED BY THE CITY OF CARLSBAD
Posted by Ruidoso.com