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).