Exploring The Caves At Parks Ranch Campground
Parks Ranch Campground is a BLM camp located near Carlsbad Caverns National Park. We didn’t actually stay here, but in a dispersed camping spot on the same road. We did hear there may be a cave or two at the camp though and decided to go explore.
I did a bit of research and this is what I learned. I couldn’t find much information though and cannot completely confirm what I’m about to tell you is true. To the best of my knowledge it is accurate. The cave is formed of gypsum karst. Gypsum is a soft sulfate mineral composed of calcium sulfate dihydrate.
The Parks Ranch Cave is about 4.3 miles in length and is the second longest gypsum cave in the Western hemisphere. It is said to have at least 18 different entrances and is perfect for the beginner caver.
Upon arriving at the campground we found the two cave openings. Each is surrounded by a fence and gate which is unlocked. The caves are open to the public for exploration. Signs on the gate warn of potential flash floods though and suggest you call the local Ranger’s office for information before beginning your descent.
Also make sure you close the gate when entering and leaving. I believe the fences are in place more for the protection of the local wildlife.
Now Jamey and I went and checked out the caves, but we didn’t venture very far in. Neither of us have any cave exploring experience. We’re both also pretty much terrified that once we’re in the whole thing will collapse down on our heads and in 100 years archeologists will find our bodies. We would both love to do a little safe cave exploration in the future, but perhaps with some peeps with a bit of experience.
I posted some GPS coordinates below if your in the area and want to do a little cave exploration yourself: