Kartchner Caverns State Park, nestled in southern Arizona’s Whetstone Mountains, is a colorful still living and growing cave with stunning wet limestone formations that adorn its walls. Water percolates from the surface and calcium carbonate features continue to grow in the darkness. On the guided cave tours, visitors view dynamic structures such as icicle-like stalactites and giant stalagmites that rise from the ground.
On the Rotunda Tour, discover how the formations in the cave are growing with each tiny drop of water. You will see the discoverers’ original trail, 45,000-year-old bat guano and “Kubla Khan,” the highest known column in an Arizona cave. The Big Room Tour features unique formations including flowstone consisting of calcium carbonate, gypsum and other mineral matter accumulated on the floors and walls of the cave, turnip shields, large fried egg stalagmites and delicate white soda straws that dangle from the ceilings.
The new Saturday “Helmet and Headlamp Tour” is the ultimate experience for those wanting to be a secret cave explorer. On this tour, wear helmets with headlamps and explore the cave in darkness with only your own light to illuminate the magnificent features. See the cave just as the original explorers, Randy Tufts and Gary Tenen, saw it decades ago.
Visitors should arrive at least one hour prior to their scheduled tour to enjoy all of the facilities including a large visitor center, theater, gift shop, café, hiking trails and a large, modern RV and tent campground adjacent to the Coronado National Forest.
Reservations for camping or cave tours can be made 24-hours a day at www.AZStateParks.com or by calling (520) 586-2283 between 8am and 5pm (Mountain Standard Time) seven days per week. Kartchner Caverns State Park is located on Highway 90, nine miles south of I-10 near Benson, Arizona.