Carlsbad Caverns Wiki
The City of Carlsbad
—  City  —
The City of Carlsbad
Eddy County New Mexico Court House
Eddy County Courthouse
Carlsbad New Mexico logo
Nickname(s): The Cavern City,
"Cavemen Country"
Location in the state of New Mexico.
Country United States
State New Mexico
County Eddy
Founded 1888
 - Mayor Dale Janway
 - Total  dunams (73.6 km2 / 28.4 sq mi)
 - Land 28.4 sq mi (73.5 km2)
 - Water 0.0 sq mi (0.1 km2)
Elevation 3,295 ft (1,004 m)
Population (2006)
 - Total 27,410
Time zone MST (UTC-7)
 - Summer (DST) MDT (UTC-6)
ZIP codes 88220-88221
Area code(s) 575
FIPS code 35-12150
GNIS feature ID 0887199
Website City of Carlsbad

Carlsbad (pronounced /ˈkɑrlzbæd/ KARLZ-bad) is a city in and the county seat of Eddy County, New Mexico, in the United States.[1] As of the 2000 census, the city population was 27,463. Carlsbad is the center of the designated micropolitan area of Carlsbad-Artesia, which has a total population of 51,658. It is a center for potash, petroleum production, and tourism.

Carlsbad is located in the Chihuahuan Desert and the Pecos River Valley at an elevation of 3,295 feet (1,004 m). Carlsbad Caverns National Park is located eighteen miles (29 km) southwest of the city, with Guadalupe Mountains National Park lying forty miles further southwest across the Texas border. There are also three man-made lakes within fifty miles of the city, including Lake Carlsbad. Carlsbad has a mayor-council government type. The city has multiple recreational parks and facilities, including those for senior citizens.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 28.4 square miles (73.6 km²). 28.3 square miles (73.5 km²) of the city is land and 0.1 square miles (0.1 km²) is water.


Carlsbad is part of the Interior West climate zone[2]. It is classified as semi-arid (Köppen BSk), meaning average annual precipitation is less than potential evapotranspiration, but more than half. A moderate amount of rain falls each year, with the maximum occurring during September. 53 tornadoes have been reported in Eddy County since 1950.

Climate data for Carlsbad, New Mexico
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 86 88 95 99 109 114 111 108 106 100 90 85 114
Average high °F (°C) 58 64 72 79 87 95 96 94 88 79 68 59 78
Average low °F (°C) 28 32 38 46 56 64 68 66 59 47 35 28 47
Record low °F (°C) -16 -6 12 25 32 43 54 50 40 21 -1 -4 −16


Located along the banks of the Pecos River, Carlsbad was originally christened the town of Eddy on September 15, 1888 and organized as a municipal corporation in 1893. With the commercial development of local mineral springs for medicinal qualities, the town changed its name to Carlsbad, after the famous European spa Carlsbad, Bohemia (now Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic). On March 25, 1918, the New Mexican governor proclaimed Carlsbad a city.

The re-discovery of Carlsbad Caverns (then known as "Bat Cave") by local cowboys in 1901 and the subsequent establishment of Carlsbad Caverns National Park on May 14, 1930 gained the town of Carlsbad substantial recognition.

In 1925, potash was discovered near Carlsbad and for many years Carlsbad dominated the American potash market. Following the decline of the potash market in the 1960s, the residents and leaders of Carlsbad lobbied for the establishment of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP). Congress authorized the WIPP project in 1979 and construction began in 1980. The DOE Carlsbad Area Office opened in 1993 and the first waste shipment arrived in 1999.


As of the census[4] of 2000, there are 25,625 people, 9,957 households, and 6,949 families residing in the city. The population density is 903.3 people per square mile (348.7/km²). There are 11,421 housing units at an average density of 402.6/sq mi (155.4/km²). The racial makeup of the city is 77.40% White, 2.20% African American, 1.25% Native American, 0.71% Asian, 0.08% Pacific Islander, 15.84% from other races, and 2.52% from two or more races. 36.75% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There are 9,957 households out of which 32.9% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.1% are married couples living together, 13.1% have a female householder with no husband present, and 30.2% are non-families. 26.6% of all households are made up of individuals and 12.0% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.51 and the average family size is 3.03.

In the city the population is spread out with 27.1% under the age of 18, 8.4% from 18 to 24, 24.7% from 25 to 44, 22.6% from 45 to 64, and 17.1% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 38 years. For every 100 females there are 92.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 88.8 males.

The median income for a household in the city is $30,658, and the median income for a family is $35,640. Males have a median income of $31,214 versus $19,228 for females. The per capita income for the city is $16,496. 16.5% of the population and 13.1% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 21.4% of those under the age of 18 and 11.2% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.


City government (as of March 2010):[5]
Mayor Dale Janway
Ward 1 Paul C. Aguilar, Nick G. Salcido
Ward 2 Sandy Nunley, Richard Graves Jr.
Ward 3 Wesley A. Carter *, Judith E. Waters
Ward 4 Fred Woody, Richard W. Doss
* denotes Mayor pro Tempore

The city of Carlsbad has a mayor-council form of government. Voters elect both the mayor and the eight members of the city council (two for each ward), who pass laws and make policy. After the first meeting of the city council once newly elected council members are seated, the council elects a Mayor pro tempore who serves as mayor in absence of the elected mayor.


The economy of the Carlsbad area is based primarily on the mineral extraction sector; the city overlies the rich oil- and gas-producing formations of the Permian Basin and produces more potash than any other location in the United States. Carlsbad is home to the DOE's Carlsbad Field Office which operates the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant to safely store the transuranic nuclear wastes from the nation's defense sites. The services sector is the newest growth industry in Carlsbad with a large medical transcription center. Tourism is a major factor with two national parks, Lincoln National Forest, the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens State Park and the annual Christmas on the Pecos Light Show all located within fifty miles of the city.

Media and Journalism[]

Area Newspaper[]

  • Carlsbad Current-Argus


Carlsbad has no professional athletic teams. Annual run/walks sponsored by the Carlsbad Runner's Club, as well as bike races by the Keep Carlsbad Beautiful committee are popular. Carlsbad also has a recently built sports complex on the southwest side of town, containing six softball and four soccer fields. Multiple regional tournaments are held at the complex yearly.

Carlsbad High School is a AAAAA school in the Fourth District of the New Mexico Activities Association. Carlsbad High School has teams competing in the sports of Football, Baseball, Softball, Basketball, Track and Field, Golf, Tennis, Men's and Women's Soccer, Swimming, Wrestling, and Rodeo.

Notable high school baseball players[]

  • Cody Ross: Major League Baseball outfielder, for the San Francisco Giants.
  • Shane Andrews: Major League Baseball third baseman. Played for three different clubs over eight years.


Mass Transit[]

  • Carlsbad Municipal Transit System provides public transportation within the city limits of Carlsbad and portions of Eddy County immediately adjacent to the city.
  • New Mexico Transportation Services provides daily transportation to and from the WIPP site

Bus service[]

  • Greyhound Lines



  • Cavern City Air Terminal (CNM) is located just south of Carlsbad with New Mexico Airlines currently offering non-stop service to Albuquerque, Hobbs, and Alamogordo.
  • Roswell International Air Center (ROW) is located three miles south of Roswell, New Mexico, which is served by American Airlines offering daily service to Dallas, Texas.


  • El Paso International Airport (ELP) is located in the northeastern part of El Paso, Texas, less than 3 hours from Carlsbad.
  • Midland International Airport (MAF) is located southeast of Midland, Texas, approximately 3 hours from Carlsbad.

Major Highways[]

  • US Highway 62/US Highway 180: Greene Street/Canal Street
  • US Highway 285: Pierce Street/Canal Street


  • Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway: Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corporation


  • Carlsbad Medical Center


Carlsbad Municipal School District is a public school system in Carlsbad. It operates one kindergarten school, ten elementary schools, two middle schools, and one high school. The district also operates a Jefferson Montessori Academy. Three private schools also operate in Carlsbad: Faith Christian Academy, Victory Christian Academy, and Saint Edwards School.

Carlsbad is home to New Mexico State University-Carlsbad, as well as Eddy County Beauty College. College of the Southwest and Northwood University both previously had branch campuses in Carlsbad.

Research, Development, and Technology Facilities[]

Carlsbad has several research facilities, such as the Carlsbad Environmental Monitoring and Research Center operated by NMSU, the National Cave and Karst Research Center operated by New Mexico Tech, units of the National Park Service, and the City of Carlsbad. The United States Department of Energy's Sandia National Labs and Los Alamos National Laboratory each have branch operations in Carlsbad. The Carlsbad Department of Development and the City operate the Aero-Tech Industrial Technology Park including the Advanced Manufacturing Technology Training Center.

Points of interest[]

  • Carlsbad Caverns National Park
  • Guadalupe Mountains National Park
  • Living Desert Zoo and Gardens State Park
  • National Cave and Karst Research Center
  • The Cascades of Carlsbad
  • Lincoln National Forest
  • Project Gnome
  • Project Playground
  • Carlsbad Skate Park
  • The Artist Gallery
  • The Carlsbad Museum
  • Pecos River Flume

Notable people from Carlsbad[]

  • Bruce Cabot: actor who played Jack Driscoll in the 1933 film King Kong.
  • Jason D. Cunningham: Air Force Pararescuemen who died saving the lives of ten fellow servicemen. Air Force Cross Recipient.
  • Dan Blocker: Actor famed for playing Hoss Cartwright in the TV series Bonanza.
  • Sam Etcheverry: former professional football player who played in the National Football League as well as the Canadian Football League.
  • Cody Ross: Major League Baseball outfielder, for the San Francisco Giants.
  • Barry Sadler: American author, musician, and veteran. Best known for his series of novels focusing on Casca Rufio Longinius.
  • Sonny Throckmorton: songwriter
  • Linda Wertheimer: senior correspondent for National Public Radio.
  • Jim White: the discoverer of Carlsbad Caverns.



  1. "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  2. STRATUM Climate Zones, United States Forest Service Retrieved March 21, 2010
  3. "Monthly Averages for Carlsbad, New Mexico". The Weather Channel. Retrieved March 11, 2010. 
  4. "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  5. "City of Carlsbad Council". Retrieved March 30, 2010. 

External links[]