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Guadalupe Backcountry Byway (BLM)
Queens Highway Carlsbad, NM 88220

12 miles north of Carlsbad and 23 miles south of Artesia lies the Guadalupe Backcountry Byway. The Byway is a paved two-lane road and is accessible by car. Low speeds are required in the winding canyons and switchbacks. For 30 miles, the Byway transitions from cholla cactus in the Chihuahuan Desert west of Carlsbad up into the pines of the Guadalupe Escarpment. Travelers can see mule deer, pronghorn antelope, gray fox, scaled quail, mourning dove, songbirds, and small mammals. The Byway is located along the Capitan Reef of the Permian Basin and passes through an area of producing oil and gas wells. The plains give way to steep limestone outcrops cut by dry arroyos. Beneath the surface are numerous caves, including Carlsbad Caverns and Lechugilla Cave. The Byway has interpretation stops along the way explaining different aspects of multiple-use public land management. The interpretive stops include explanations of activities taking place on this "working landscape," including oil and gas development, livestock grazing, recreation uses, and other land uses and natural resource protection measures. Numerous intersecting improved roads and unimproved off-highway vehicle trails provide access to public lands with excellent opportunities for hiking/backpacking, primitive camping, caving, horseback riding, nature study, mountain biking, hunting, and other outdoor experiences. This is a fee-free area without restrooms and drinking water.