image of Living Desert Zoo & Gardens State Park

Hiking at the Living Desert Zoo & Gardens State Park

Walking Tour

The walking tour through the Living Desert Zoo & Gardens State Park is 1.3 miles roundtrip. The trail descends gradually in elevation for the first half and then climbs back up to the Visitor Center. The elevation change is only 70 feet. This is the same trail that the zoo visitors take but many visitors call this a pleasant hike and a great way to experience the flora and fauna of the Chihuahuan Desert.  Since the park is on the top of a ridge in the Ocotillo Hills there are excellent views of the Pecos River valley and the town of Carlsbad. Benches, shade, restrooms and drinking fountains along the route make this a very civilized hike! Regular entrance fees apply.

Ocotillo Hills Nature Trail
The Ocotillo Hills Nature Trail is adjacent to the Living Desert Zoo & Gardens State Park. This trail is accessed from Skyline Drive or behind New Mexico State University Carlsbad. The trail is 0.9 miles long and travels through the canyon south of the Living Desert Zoo & Gardens on State Park and other public land. There is an elevation change of approximately 245 feet. The trail is maintained by the City of Carlsbad. Directions and information may be accessed here:

Hiking this trail is free.


We are not affiliated or associated with The Living Desert in Palm Desert, California.

Park Alert Image


Memorial Day to Labor Day:
Labor Day to Memorial Day:
Last Entry into Zoo is 3:30pm
Gift Shop: 9am-4pm



1504 Miehls Drive N.
Carlsbad, NM 88220



David Heckard
Zoo Director


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