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How much time should we allow for Carlsbad?

Hilo, Hawaii
Level Contributor
4 posts
15 reviews
How much time should we allow for Carlsbad?

Aloha,

We are heading out for spring break '17 - March 17-24th. We're flying into Vegas, driving to Bryce for a couple of nights, then to Moab for a couple of nights. From there we head to Canyonlands and MV for a night, Albuquerque and Santa Fe for a night and then to Carlsbad. I only have one day for Carlsbad - is that enough? We fly out of El Paso back to HI. It sounds like a lot of driving, but from what I've read it's enjoyable drives. Coming from the islands - distance driving is a nice change. Any comments on our plans?

9 replies to this topic
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Destination Expert
for Santa Fe, Mesa Verde National Park, Boulder, New Mexico
Level Contributor
22,352 posts
61 reviews
1. Re: How much time should we allow for Carlsbad?

Way too much driving and you may also run into winter weather along the way. Here's what you have planned...not a lot of time to see things, plus you are missing MANY wonderful places. You could spend the entire trip just in UT.

You need at least a 5 hour visit to see Carlsbad Caverns, that is minimum in my opinion.

I don't think you can make it to Carlsbad Caverns in the time you have and the spots you want to stay. I would take Carlsbad Caverns out of the trip and fly out of Phx or Las Vegas, seeing more of UT and possibly Northern AZ.

Edited: 22 January 2017, 19:10
Hilo, Hawaii
Level Contributor
4 posts
15 reviews
2. Re: How much time should we allow for Carlsbad?

Thanks for your insight.

Fruita, Colorado
Destination Expert
for Fruita, Grand Junction
Level Contributor
7,604 posts
269 reviews
3. Re: How much time should we allow for Carlsbad?

If you are flying out of El Paso then I think Carlsbad makes perfect sense. It is one of the most magnificent cave systems you will ever see. As much as I love Santa Fe (and used to go there often when I lived in NM) I would give up both Albuquerque and Santa Fe to see the Caverns. You won't regret seeing them.

Albuquerque, New...
Level Contributor
2,459 posts
135 reviews
4. Re: How much time should we allow for Carlsbad?

I agree that you have to much on your plate. If you are really into Monument Valley, Moab, Canyonlands, etc. I would eliminate Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Carlsbad, and return to Vegas to fly out. You save on air fare, and rental return of your car at a different location. One way charges can be high.

If you are really intent on doing the Caverns, then I would do Grand Canyon south rim, then head south through Phoenix and Tucson, overnighting there, and then drive on to Carlsbad via El Paso. You would still have the one-way drop off charge for your car. El Paso drop-off could be pretty expensive, as it is a small airport, and not a lot of car rental traffic.

WestSlope,CO
Destination Expert
for Colorado
Level Contributor
11,561 posts
178 reviews
5. Re: How much time should we allow for Carlsbad?

Do you have flights booked? Vegas isn't the best place to fly in for visiting either Moab or Carlsbad, especially with only a week.

I love Carlsbad Caverns and would try to include it, but I agree with others--skip something and investigate other airports. (Grand Junction is closest to Moab) You might make a decent loop trip from Albuquerque.

Hilo, Hawaii
Level Contributor
4 posts
15 reviews
6. Re: How much time should we allow for Carlsbad?

Mahalo! We do have flights booked. We're picking up family in Vegas and heading out the same day. I think we may skip Albuquerque and SF. The only reason I booked out of El Paso was to see the caverns. Our family loves that kind of stuff! Fortunately we will have 3-4 drivers in one SUV. I'll report back after the trip.

Fruita, Colorado
Destination Expert
for Fruita, Grand Junction
Level Contributor
7,604 posts
269 reviews
7. Re: How much time should we allow for Carlsbad?

I suggested the Caverns because it seemed you were into natural wonders (Bryce, etc.) and that it is. I agree that Las Vegas is too far away for Moab. Grand Junction is very close. Smaller airport, easy to get through it and rent your car right outside (no need for a shuttle) and you will be on the way. Do be aware that Arches is undergoing lots of road/parking construction this year so be prepared for that. It will be messy with some closures of trails, etc.

imho, I'd give it a pass and go on to other places. https:/…construction.htm

Hilo, Hawaii
Level Contributor
4 posts
15 reviews
8. Re: How much time should we allow for Carlsbad?

That's music to my eyes! Thanks for the feedback. I think we'll skip Albuquerque and SF. I am so looking forward to the caverns!

Fruita, Colorado
Destination Expert
for Fruita, Grand Junction
Level Contributor
7,604 posts
269 reviews
9. Re: How much time should we allow for Carlsbad?

We were both typing at the same time. Be aware there will probably be extra charges on the rental contract for extra drivers, especially if they are under 25 yoa. Hope you have a great trip.

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