Carlsbad Caverns National Park vs Wrangell – St Elias National Park & Preserve

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Carlsbad Caverns National Park vs Wrangell - St Elias National Park & Preserve

Carlsbad Caverns National Park and Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve are two of America’s most diverse and awe-inspiring parks. While both parks offer unique and unforgettable experiences, they are vastly different in terms of their landscapes, wildlife, and recreational opportunities. Whether you’re a seasoned adventurer or a family looking for a fun and educational vacation, these two parks are sure to captivate and inspire you. So, buckle up and get ready for a journey through two of America’s most incredible natural wonders!

Hiking Trails in Carlsbad Caverns National Park and Wrangell – St Elias National Park & Preserve

Carlsbad Caverns National Park and Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve offer vastly different hiking experiences. Carlsbad Caverns is known for its underground hiking trails, which lead visitors through a series of caves and tunnels to see unique and stunning formations. The park offers several trails ranging from easy walks to strenuous hikes, but the most popular trail is the Big Room, which is a paved, self-guided trail that takes visitors to the largest underground chamber in the Western Hemisphere.

On the other hand, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve is a true wilderness park that offers a wide range of hiking opportunities, from short nature walks to multi-day backpacking trips. The park is home to several mountain ranges, glaciers, and valleys, which provide stunning views and challenging hikes. Some of the most popular trails include the Root Glacier Trail, which takes visitors to the edge of a massive glacier, and the Kennicott Glacier Trail, which provides breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains.

In terms of difficulty, Carlsbad Caverns is generally considered an easy to moderate park for hiking, while Wrangell-St. Elias is considered a more challenging park due to the remote and rugged terrain. However, both parks offer a range of trails for all skill levels, so visitors can choose the hikes that are best suited to their abilities.

Most Popular Hiking Trails in Carlsbad Caverns National Park

Name Length Elevation Type Difficulty Visitor Ratings
Carlsbad Caverns National Park Trail 0.80 mi 45.92 ft loop Easy 5/5
North Slaughter Canyon Trail 11.08 mi 1,541.60 ft out and back Moderate 4/5
Carlsbad Caverns Highway to Carlsbad Caverns National Park 14.67 mi 1,016.80 ft out and back Easy 4/5
Juniper Ridge Trail 1.90 mi 462.48 ft out and back Easy 3.5/5
Yucca Canyon Trail 3.79 mi 1,456.32 ft out and back Moderate 4/5
Slaughter Canyon Cave Trail 1.00 mi 462.48 ft out and back Moderate 5/5
Rattlesnake Canyon 5.39 mi 682.24 ft out and back Moderate 4/5
Walnut Canyon Trail 0.30 mi 26.24 ft out and back Easy 2.5/5

Most Popular Hiking Trails in Wrangell – St Elias National Park & Preserve

Name Length Elevation Type Difficulty Visitor Ratings
0.00 mi 0.00 ft /5

Wildlife in Carlsbad Caverns National Park and Wrangell – St Elias National Park & Preserve

Carlsbad Caverns National Park and Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve offer vastly different wildlife experiences. Carlsbad Caverns is home to a variety of bats and insects, including the Mexican free-tailed bats that roost in the park’s famous caves. The park also has a small population of mule deer, rattlesnakes, and other desert-dwelling animals. In contrast, Wrangell-St. Elias is one of the largest and most diverse national parks in the country, with a wide range of wildlife that includes grizzly bears, caribou, moose, wolves, and mountain goats. The park is also home to numerous bird species, including bald eagles, peregrine falcons, and various species of waterfowl. The park’s vast wilderness also provides habitat for numerous plant species, including wildflowers, shrubs, and trees. Both parks offer unique opportunities to observe and learn about the region’s wildlife, but Wrangell-St. Elias offers a much broader and more diverse range of species.

Below are lists of the most commonly spotted wildlife at Carlsbad Caverns National Park and Wrangell – St Elias National Park & Preserve. However, you can see a full list of wildlife at each national park here.

Birds

Carlsbad Caverns National Park Wrangell – St Elias National Park & Preserve
Peregrine Falcon Peregrine Falcon
Northern Harrier Northern Harrier
Sharp-Shinned Hawk Sharp-Shinned Hawk
Osprey Osprey
Tree Swallow Tree Swallow
Mallard Mallard
Canada Goose Canada Goose
Lincoln’s Sparrow Lincoln’s Sparrow
Ruby-Crowned Kinglet Ruby-Crowned Kinglet
American Robin American Robin
Great Horned Owl Great Horned Owl
Red-Tailed Hawk Red-Tailed Hawk
Northern Flicker Northern Flicker
Merlin Merlin
Barn Swallow Barn Swallow
Savannah Sparrow Savannah Sparrow
Great Blue Heron Great Blue Heron
Hermit Thrush Hermit Thrush
American Kestrel American Kestrel
Bald Eagle Bald Eagle
Song Sparrow Song Sparrow
European Starling European Starling
Northern Pintail Northern Pintail
American Wigeon American Wigeon
Green-Winged Teal Green-Winged Teal

Mammals

Carlsbad Caverns National Park Wrangell – St Elias National Park & Preserve
Coyote Coyote
American Beaver American Beaver
Muskrat Muskrat
Big Brown Bat Little Brown Bat
Bobcat Black Bear
Striped Skunk Porcupine
Deer Mouse Red Fox
Raccoon Puma
Black Bear Mink
Porcupine Mule Deer
Silver-Haired Bat Wolf
Hoary Bat Short-Tailed Weasel
Long-Tailed Weasel Snowshoe Hare
House Mouse Land Otter
Mountain Lion Common Shrew
Mule Deer Water Shrew
Common Gray Fox Red Squirrel
Gray Wolf Montane Shrew
Long-Legged Myotis Long-Tailed Vole
Long-Eared Myotis Lynx
American Badger Wolverine
California Myotis American Marten
Fringed Myotis Northern Flying Squirrel
Brazilian Free-Tailed Bat Grizzly Bear
Townsend’s Big-Eared Bat Meadow Vole

Amphibians

Carlsbad Caverns National Park Wrangell – St Elias National Park & Preserve
Barred Tiger Salamander Wood Frog
American Bullfrog
Woodhouse’s Toad
Red-Spotted Toad
Plains Spadefoot

Fish

Carlsbad Caverns National Park Wrangell – St Elias National Park & Preserve
Largemouth Bass Steelhead
Green Sunfish Longnose Sucker
Mosquitofish Lake Trout
Northern Pike
Burbot
Silver Salmon
King Salmon
Slimy Sculpin
Threespine Stickleback
Sockeye Salmon
Pink Salmon
Chum Salmon
Dolly Varden
Cutthroat Trout
Arctic Grayling

Beautiful Landscapes in Carlsbad Caverns National Park and Wrangell – St Elias National Park & Preserve

Carlsbad Caverns National Park is famous for its massive underground caves and unique formations, including stalactites, stalagmites, and other intricate structures. On the other hand, Wrangell – St Elias National Park & Preserve is famous for its breathtaking mountain ranges, glaciers, and vast wilderness areas.

At Carlsbad Caverns National Park, visitors can witness the beauty of the Big Room, a large underground chamber filled with towering stalagmites and other unique rock formations. The park also offers several trails that lead to scenic overlooks, offering views of the surrounding desert landscape.

Wrangell – St Elias National Park & Preserve, on the other hand, boasts the largest protected wilderness area in the United States. The park is home to several mountain ranges, including the Wrangell Mountains, which rise over 16,000 feet and are some of the tallest peaks in North America. Visitors can also explore glaciers, including the Root Glacier, and witness the power of nature as it shapes the landscape.

Whether you’re looking for an underground adventure or a scenic mountain hike, both Carlsbad Caverns National Park and Wrangell – St Elias National Park & Preserve offer breathtaking landscapes and unique natural wonders.

Things To-Do and Activities in Carlsbad Caverns National Park and Wrangell – St Elias National Park & Preserve

Carlsbad Caverns National Park and Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve offer vastly different experiences when it comes to popular activities. At Carlsbad Caverns, visitors can explore the cave system and take ranger-led tours to see the stunning formations and underground wonders. Hiking is limited to the surface trails, but birdwatching is a popular activity as well. On the other hand, Wrangell-St. Elias offers a wide range of outdoor activities including backcountry camping, hiking, fishing, and mountaineering. The park is known for its scenic drives and scenic flights and visitors can also visit historic sites and glaciers. Both parks offer a unique experience, and it depends on what kind of outdoor activities you prefer. If you’re interested in exploring caves and underground wonders, Carlsbad Caverns is the place to go. If you’re looking for a more rugged and adventurous experience with many outdoor activities, Wrangell-St. Elias is the place for you.

Best Time to Visit Carlsbad Caverns National Park and Wrangell – St Elias National Park & Preserve

Carlsbad Caverns National Park and Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve have vastly different weather patterns due to their geographic location and altitude. Carlsbad Caverns National Park, located in southeastern New Mexico, has a warm and arid climate with hot summers and mild winters. The best time to visit is from spring to fall when temperatures are mild and comfortable for outdoor activities. On the other hand, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve, located in Alaska, has a subarctic climate with cold, snowy winters and cool summers. The best time to visit is during the summer months when temperatures are mild and there is more daylight for exploring.

The weather in both parks can be unpredictable and visitors should be prepared for sudden changes. At Carlsbad Caverns National Park, strong winds and thunderstorms can occur during the summer months, while at Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve, visitors should be prepared for sudden snowstorms and low visibility even during the summer months. The weather in both parks can greatly impact outdoor activities, so it’s important to check the forecast and come prepared for any weather conditions.

Family Friendliness of Carlsbad Caverns National Park and Wrangell – St Elias National Park & Preserve

Carlsbad Caverns National Park and Wrangell – St Elias National Park & Preserve offer different experiences for families. Carlsbad Caverns is more suited for families with children as it offers a number of accessible trails, ranger-led tours, and educational programs. The park’s main attraction, the Carlsbad Caverns, is a series of underground caves that can be explored on a self-guided tour or on a ranger-led tour. The park also offers a variety of ranger-led programs and activities for children, making it a great option for families looking for an educational experience.

On the other hand, Wrangell – St Elias National Park & Preserve is a more remote wilderness area that offers a unique experience for families who enjoy outdoor activities. The park is home to glaciers, mountains, and pristine wilderness areas, making it a great option for families who enjoy hiking, fishing, and camping. The park also offers a variety of ranger-led programs and activities, but it is important to note that many of the park’s trails are strenuous and not suitable for young children. Overall, both parks offer unique experiences for families, but Carlsbad Caverns is a better option for families with young children looking for an educational experience, while Wrangell – St Elias is better for families who enjoy outdoor activities in a remote wilderness setting.

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