Kartchner Caverns

Formations in Kartchner Caverns. Photo (c) Arizona State Parks

The Strawberry Room, on Kartchner Caverns' Big Room tour. Photo (c) Arizona State Parks

Sunday’s Washington Post had an article on one of Cochise County’s great attractions, Kartchner Caverns in Benson. The writer expected to be bored, but the sights inside the two park’s tours really seemed to pique his imagination.

Caves are one of the unique wonders of this earth. We think of the ground as solid, but vast rooms can be lurking under foot. That’s what Gary Tenen and Randy Tufts found. The two spelunkers discovered the cave in 1974 and kept it a secret so they could help preserve it. Thanks to their efforts and that of the State Parks system, Kartchner Caverns is still a “living” cave. It is still being formed as rainwater seeps into the earth through the nooks and crannies of limestone below. As it trickles through the soil and rocks, minerals collect in the water in one area and are deposited in others, forming stalagmites, stalactites and “soda straws,” which are thin, hollow tubes of minerals. Incidentally, Kartchner Caverns has one of the world’s longest soda straw stalactites, measuring 21 feet 2 inches.

You can choose from two tours at Kartchner. The Big Room tour is open from mid October through mid April. In the summer, more than 1,000 bats use the caves for a nursery roost. Visit Kartchner Caverns’ website to learn more about the science behind the bats and the cave formation.

You can purchase tickets online. Some tickets are also available on a walk-in basis. Reservations are recommended especially during high season (spring and fall).


Filed under Sights, Things to do, Travel

5 responses to “Kartchner Caverns

  1. Greg

    Thanks for the cool tidbits on the caverns. I’m really excited to visit!

  2. Kartchner Caverns – one of Arizona’s real treasures! We recently highlighted the caverns as a great educational tool for kids. Check out some tips for making the trip fun for your children (and get them excited about reading, too) on our site:


  3. Only visited once with my daughters school, but it was magnificent! Made me think of the human race and our obsession for “outer beauty”. Just think on the outside this Miracle is just another hill in Arizona, but on the inside… undescriblable. I just wish people would look at each other that way, the outside look is only a glimpse into each person’s Miracle!

  4. tourcochisecounty

    What a great way to think about the caverns! Thanks for commenting. I’m glad you enjoyed your trip!

  5. Pingback: AZ State Parks: Kartchner Caverns, Tombstone Courthouse face budget cuts « Tour Cochise County

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