Kings Palace Tour
Some cavern features are so large that they seem almost manufactured. Kings Palace, in Carlsbad Caverns, is such a feature. The tour of this area has some challenges to it and should be exciting enough for the average explorer. This is one of the mid-level difficulty tours available from park staff. While it does require a bit of climbing and descending, the tour is principally difficult in terms of the 8-story hill that leads visitors out of the cavern. This should be suitable for most visitors and anyone over 4 years of age may come along.
The Kings Palace tour lasts an hour and a half. During that time, a ranger will guide visitors through these cave features, describing to them the origins and nature of many of the sights they will encounter. While visitors will only travel a mile in total, the journey may feel, at times, as if one were on another planet. Some of the natural features found on this tour will help educate visitors to the basics of cave geology while showing them some amazing sights as they learn.
The Kings Palace tour consists of a trip through 4 chambers. This will be the deepest descent available to the general public, with over 800 feet of Earth eventually separating visitors from the world above. Some of the features visitors will see include draperies, columns, soda straws and helictites. Many of these features are named in line with the theme of the cave, such as the Queen’s Draperies feature. While underground, the rangers will conduct periodic blackouts, where all lights are turned off. Though most people have experienced a moonless night, few have actually experienced the total darkness that can only be found in a cave. The experience is quite thrilling.
This journey should be appropriate for all but a few visitors. Those who have trouble with walking may have difficulty descending and climbing. Remember that descending is particularly hard on bad knees and other parts of the body. This tour leaves from the underground rest area and heads straight down to the heart of the caverns. The tour is offered several times per day during the peak season of Memorial Day through Labor Day and twice per day during the off season. The Kings Palace Tour costs $8 for adults and $4 for children. Children under 4 are not allowed on this tour.