Carlsbad Caves (NOT Carlsbad Caverns)
Everyone has heard of Carlsbad Caverns. Some have heard of Lechigilla Cave. The Guadalupe Mountains are home to hundreds of known and still under discovered caves. They are some of the largest and most beautiful in the world. The Guads are one of the premier locations for cavers from all over the world. The Guadalupe Mountains (Guads) and adjacent gypsum plain are home to potentially thousands of caves. Many remain undiscovered and unexplored by humans.
The Guads caves are formed in limestone. It is thought that they formed from below with the rising of hydrogen sulfide from the adjacent petroleum deposits combining with groundwater to form sulfuric acid that dissolved large chambers. Some of the largest in the world. Later, surface water seeped into the chambers and formed the beautiful cave decorations. There are hundreds of known caves in the Guads. There are likely many more waiting to be discovered.
The Gypsum plain in Eddy County, NM and Culberson County, Tx could have the densest area of cave development anywhere in the world. There are thousands of caves formed in the highly water soluble gypsum bedrock. One of these caves, Parks Ranch, is the second longest gypsum cave in the western hemisphere.
This beautiful area near Carlsbad is unique anywhere in the world. For their protection, it is not legal to enter wild caves without a permit. Permits to enter and explore some of the caves are available from National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, or the Forest Service offices in Carlsbad.