Carlsbad Caverns National Park vs. Canyonlands National Park

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If you’re planning a vacation and would like a quick comparison of Carlsbad Caverns National Park and Canyonlands National Park, we’ve got you covered.

We’ll take a look at what they have to offer in terms of hiking and wildlife, plus what the best time of year to visit might be.

Let’s get started with an overview of Carlsbad Caverns National Park.

Carlsbad Caverns National Park Overview

High ancient sea ledges, deep rocky canyons, flowering cactus, and desert wildlife—treasures above the ground in the Chihuahuan Desert. Hidden beneath the surface are more than 119 caves—formed when sulfuric acid dissolved limestone leaving behind caverns of all sizes.

Canyonlands National Park Overview

Canyonlands invites you to explore a wilderness of countless canyons and fantastically formed buttes carved by the Colorado River and its tributaries. Rivers divide the park into four districts: Island in the Sky, The Needles, The Maze, and the rivers themselves. These areas share a primitive desert atmosphere, but each offers different opportunities for sightseeing and adventure.

Hiking At National Parks

Most national parks have some of the best hiking trails you’ll find anywhere in the US.

If you’re planning to take along your furry friend, double-check the rules before you go – as many of the parks have different rules about bringing animals along with you.

Carlsbad Caverns National Park Hiking Trails

Carlsbad Caverns National Park offers a variety of hiking trails for visitors to explore. The easiest trail is the Natural Entrance Trail, which is just over a mile long and relatively flat. For those looking for a more challenging hike, the Big Room Guided Tour takes hikers through some of the largest rooms in the cavern, including the Carlsbad Room and the Temple of the Sun. This trail is over two miles long and includes some steep sections. The most difficult trail at Carlsbad Caverns National Park is the Rattlesnake Canyon Trail. This trail is only accessible with a ranger-guided tour and includes several strenuous sections. However, it also rewards hikers with stunning views of the surrounding desert landscape. Regardless of which trail you choose, Carlsbad Caverns National Park is sure to offer an unforgettable hiking experience.

Best Hikes At Carlsbad Caverns National Park

The ratings below are based on user-submitted data at

Hike Name Elevation Gain Difficulty Rating Type Average Rating
North Slaughter Canyon Trail 469.6968 3 out and back 4
Carlsbad Caverns Highway to Carlsbad Caverns National Park 309.9816 1 out and back 4
Juniper Ridge Trail 140.8176 1 out and back 3.5
Yucca Canyon Trail 443.7888 3 out and back 4
Slaughter Canyon Cave Trail 140.8176 3 out and back 5
Rattlesnake Canyon 207.8736 3 out and back 4
Walnut Canyon Trail 7.9248 1 out and back 2.5
Carlsbad Caverns National Park Trail 13.716 1 loop 5

Hiking Overview at Canyonlands National Park

Canyonlands National Park is a hiker’s paradise, with plenty of trails to suit all levels of ability. For those who are looking for an easy hike, the Canyon Overlook Trail is a great option. It’s only 0.5 miles long and takes around 30 minutes to complete. The trailhead is located near the Canyonlands Visitor Center, making it easy to find. For those who are looking for a more challenging hike, the Mesa Arch Trail is a great option. It’s 1.2 miles long and takes around 90 minutes to complete. The trailhead is located near the Grand View Point Overlook, making it easy to find. However, be aware that the last part of the hike involves scrambling over rocks, so it’s not suitable for everyone.

Top 10 Hiking Trails at Canyonlands National Park

Hike Name Elevation Gain Difficulty Rating Type Average Rating
Confluence Overlook Trail 409.956 3 loop 4.5
Maze Overlook Trail 293.8272 3 out and back 5
Lost Canyon 238.9632 3 loop 4.5
Shafer Canyon Overlook 13.716 1 out and back 4.5
Cave Spring Trail 11.8872 3 loop 4
Squawflat Trail to Lost Canyon Peekaboo Trail 453.8472 5 out and back 4.5
Murphy Trail Loop 491.9472 5 loop 4.5
Salt Creek and Horse Canyon OHV Trail 279.8064 3 out and back 4.5
Devils Pocket Loop 511.7592 3 loop 5
Elephant Hill Trail 221.8944 1 out and back 4.5

Wildlife at Carlsbad Caverns National Park

Carlsbad Caverns National Park is home to a diverse array of wildlife. Visitors can expect to see everything from bats and birds to small mammals and lizards. The park also boasts a variety of plant life, including cacti, yucca, and ocotillo. In addition, Carlsbad Caverns is home to several endangered species, such as the Mexican long-nosed bat and the Carlsbad talus snail. With over 1,300 species of plants and animals, Carlsbad Caverns National Park is truly a nature lover’s paradise.

Wildlife at Canyonlands National Park

Canyonlands National Park is home to a wide variety of plants and animals. Canyonlands is divided into three major ecosystems: desert, riparian, and canyon. The desert ecosystem is the most widespread, covering 60% of the park. In this arid environment, you can find plants such as cacti and Joshua trees. Animals that call the desert home include lizards, snakes, rabbits, and mice. The riparian ecosystem can be found near rivers and streams. Here you will find cottonwoods and willows as well as animals such as beavers, otters, and fish. The canyon ecosystem is the most diverse, with a variety of plant life including ferns, mosses, and wildflowers. Canyon animals include birds of prey, bats, and small rodents. No matter where you explore in Canyonlands National Park, you are sure to see a wide variety of plants and animals.

What’s the best time to visit?

A lot of times, weather can dictate when it makes the most sense to visit a particular national park.

Plus, depending on the types of activities you’re hoping to take part in, seasonality will be a huge factor in whether those things are even available.

Carlsbad Caverns National Park Weather Considerations

Carlsbad Caverns National Park regulates its temperature at a cool 60 degrees Fahrenheit year-round. This makes it a great destination for those who want to escape the heat of summer or the cold of winter. However, the park does experience a wide range of weather conditions throughout the year, and some times of year are better suited for visiting than others. The spring and fall months are typically the best times to visit Carlsbad Caverns National Park. The weather is milder during these months, and there are often fewer crowds. However, the park is also beautiful during the winter, when it sometimes snows at the higher elevations. And although summer can be hot, it is also a great time to explore the caverns, which stay cool even on the hottest days. So whether you’re looking for mild weather or cooler temperatures, Carlsbad Caverns National Park has something to offer visitors all year round.

Canyonlands National Park Weather Considerations

Canyonlands National Park is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the United States. The park is known for its stunning views of canyons, red rock formations, and desert landscapes. Canyonlands National Park is located in Utah, and its weather varies greatly depending on the time of year. The best time to visit Canyonlands National Park is during the spring or fall. During these months, the weather is mild and the landscapes are beautiful. However, Canyonlands National Park can be extremely hot during the summer, and winter can bring cold temperatures and snow. As a result, Canyonlands National Park can be a great destination for all types of travelers.