A Glorious Fall Getaway

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Come to Carlsbad this fall for an exhilarating experience in the great outdoors. Be dazzled by the brilliant colors of our fall foliage as you hike panoramic mountain trails. Play an invigorating round of golf by the banks of the beautiful Pecos River. Explore an underground labyrinth of otherworldly caverns, considered the Eighth Wonder of the World. Then stroll our-tree-lined city streets and five-mile lakeside walkway as the sun sets in a kaleidoscope of hues. However you enjoy being out in nature, you’ll have a grand time in Carlsbad, one of New Mexico’s most popular places.

Guadalupe Mountains National Park

Start your autumn adventure with a trek into the mighty wilderness of Guadalupe Mountains National Park, where miles of scenic trails are yours to explore. Located in the Chihuahuan Desert, 56 miles southwest of Carlsbad, this natural treasure has stood for more than 10,000 years. Through the centuries, Mescalero Apaches skirmished here with Buffalo Soldiers, and the Butterfield Overland Mail stagecoach once rumbled across this land, followed by the arrival of ranchers and settlers. This spectacular convergence of desert, forest and gypsum sand dunes was established as a national park in 1972, and the 8,000-foot landmark monument, El Capitan, towers proudly above it all. Marvel at one of the world’s finest examples of a fossilized reef, which is more than 260 million years old. Hike through the park and admire the brilliant yellow, orange and red colors of fall foliage, which lasts until mid-November. Keep an eye out for abundant wildlife, including mule deer and kit fox and some 300 bird species. Website

Putting by the Pecos River

Whether you can backswing like Tiger Woods, or simply wish that you could, you’ll have great fun golfing in sunny Carlsbad. When it’s tee time, head to Lake Carlsbad Golf Course, perfect for players of all levels. Beginner, junior and senior golfers will take to the nine-hole par three course, which runs along the legendary Pecos River. Up in the foothills east of the river, a regulation 18-hole course offers elevation changes, tight fairways and other challenges for novice and experienced golfers. At twilight, can play a round for discounted green fees. Lake Carlsbad Golf Course also provides a putting green and a driving range. Call for tee times: 575-885-5444

Subterranean Beauty

Deep beneath the surface of the earth lies the captivating world of Carlsbad Caverns National Park, 18 miles southwest of Carlsbad, and free to visit on National Public Lands Day, on Veterans Day, November 11. One of only 20 World Heritage Sites in the U.S., this wonderland of caves showcases stunning stalagmites, stalactites and flowstone, each formed some 250 million years ago from a single drop of water. As you wind your way through the caverns, heading further underground, you’ll marvel at the magical beauty hidden beneath our planet’s surface. Back above, take in the breathtaking scenery of the  Chihuahuan Desert on a 9.5-mile drive through the park, or while hiking any of the 50 miles of primitive backcountry trails. (Note: Because tickets to the caverns are limited during this time, available on a first-come, first-served basis, they can sell out by 9 a.m. Up to 35 visitors at a time are admitted every 15 minutes, until 1:45 pm. Your ticket indicates your entrance time.) Website

A Waterfall Wonderland

A visit to Sitting Bull Falls Recreation Area can be a balm for the spirit.  Cool off in pools of clear water beneath the majestic 150-foot Sitting Bull Falls. Then let your cares slip away as you relax in this wondrous oasis of water cascading down canyon walls. Located in the Lincoln National Forest, the recreation area also offers 16 miles of trails for hiking, biking and horseback riding. When you’re ready to dine al fresco in the fresh fall air, enjoy a meal in one of the picnic areas, outfitted with charcoal grills and potable water. In this serene setting, you’ll find the perfect ending to your autumn getaway in Carlsbad. Website

Pumpkin Picking

What could be more fall fun for the family than visiting a pumpkin patch and getting lost among the acres of a corn maze? During the month of October at Heirloom Acres in nearby Artesia, choose from some 40 pumpkin and gourd varieties, and pluck them right from their vines.  Then, become blissfully lost as you wander through an eight-acre corn maze. When you find your way out, more fun awaits, including a zip line, duck races, campfires, a farm animal pen and other attractions. You’ll find more pumpkins perfect for carving into Jack-o’-lanterns at the Balzano FamilyVineyard & Pumpkin Patch, open October 1-31. Choose your own pumpkin, meet the farm animals, see the fairy garden and savor caramel apples, pumpkin pie and other fall fare. Then dangle a fishing pole in Papa’s pond and see if the fish will bite. Website