No, you can't take your car into the caves, but it won't be totally useless, either. For a close-up as well as panoramic view of the Chihuahuan Desert, head out on the Walnut Canyon Desert Drive, a 9 1/2-mile loop. You'll want to drive slowly on the one-way gravel road, both for safety and to appreciate thoroughly the dramatic scenery. Passenger cars can easily handle the tight turns and narrow passage, but the road is not recommended for motor homes or cars pulling trailers. Pick up an interpretive brochure for the drive at the visitor center bookstore. Allow about 1 hour.

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