More Elevator Woes at Carlsbad Caverns
Since September 2010, the two primary elevators that whisk visitors in and out of Carlsbad Caverns National Park have been out of service while a project is underway to replace important structural steel beams in their hoistway.
While the main elevators are unavailable smaller secondary elevators have been used to provide access to the cave. Now however, it has been discovered that these secondary elevators are also needing servicing.
Beginning on January 30th until March 8th, the availability of the remaining secondary elevators at Carlsbad Cavern will be limited to only a few hours per weekday while they undergo needed maintenance.
This leaves the Natural Entrance Route – a (1.25 mile) trail into the cave that descends (800 feet) – as the primary access to the cave. For most people the route takes between 30 and 90 minutes, each way.
During the maintenance, visitors on weekdays wanting to take an elevator into the cave should arrange their visit with the elevator schedule - 9:30 to 10:00 am, 12:30 to 1:30 pm. and 4:30 to 5:00 pm. Keeping in mind that the last time visitors may enter the cave via an elevator will be 1:30 pm, and the last time to enter via the Natural Entrance Route will be 2:30pm.
While the primary elevators remain out of service, visitors should expect long lines to take an elevator and plan for more time.
The primary elevators are expected to return to service sometime this spring.