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Chihuahuan Desert Nature Trail

A short interpretative trail near the visitor center that highlights local flora and fauna.

Hiking Easy

1.3 km
18 m
18 m
0-1 hrs
Low Point
1.3 km
High Point
1.3 km
Chihuahuan Desert Nature Trail Map

The Chihuahuan Desert Nature Trail is both the shortest and easiest hike in Carlsbad Caverns NP. The path is mostly paved, completely accessible, and offers interoperative trailside signage highlighting the regional flora and fauna. Plantlife such as juniper, prickly pear cactus, sotol, and mesquite paint the dull landscape while wildlife such as bighorn sheep, coyotes, mountain lions, and even black bears roam wild.


While the Nature Trail should take visitors less than 30-minutes to complete, the trail is rarely hiked on its own. The caverns tucked beneath the landscape are the park's main attraction. Beginning from the visitor center, two trails lead into the caverns and can be explored at your own pace, as long as you purchase an entrance ticket first. The Big Room Trail is the most popular route and can range from 45 - 90 minutes based on the exact route. In contrast, the Natural Entrance (which can be seen along the Nature Trail) is a steeper route into the cavern that takes at least an hour to negotiate the 750' descent.

More information on these hikes can be found here.




Walking along a well-kept trail that’s mostly flat. No obstacles are present.

Low Exposure

1 out of 4

The path is on completely flat land and potential injury is limited to falling over.


1 out of 4

Close to help in case of emergency.

Best time to visit

all year round


  • Wildlife
  • Historical
  • Picturesque
  • Wild flowers
  • Family friendly

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area