Kartchner Caverns State Park

Explore Southern Arizona’s underground spectacle just south of Benson off Highway 90.

This massive limestone cavern was discovered in 1974 but kept a secret until all protections were in place for Arizona State Parks to open the living cave to the public in 1999. The ADA-accessible park and trail system inside the caverns ensure all who want to see this spectacular place can. Start at the Discovery Center, where a video presentation chronicles the discovery of the cave and the passion project that took 25 years to complete.

Go Underground

Guided tours of Kartchner Caverns reveal an incredible underground world. Visitors pass through airlocks and misting systems to protect the delicate ecosystem from the arid environment up top. The Rotunda/Throne Tour follows the original trail a half mile through the caverns and features Kubla Khan, the tallest column formation known in Arizona at 58 feet. The tour also passes the miraculous “soda straw” stalactite, which is more than 21 feet long and growing. Other ways to experience the caverns include The Big Room Tour, Helmet & Headlamp Tour and Photo Tour — the only time visitors are allowed to bring anything other than themselves into the caverns.

Above-Ground Hikes

Near the Discovery Center, the Ocotillo Trail and Foothills Loop combine for a three-mile hike through the surrounding Coronado National Forest. Hikers trek through dry desert washes and gentle hills above the cave studded with vibrant desert plants. The Guindani Trail offers more strenuous hiking on a rugged four-mile trek. From the highest points of the Whetstone Mountains, hikers can see the sky island mountain ranges that rise along the Southern Arizona horizon.

Gateway to Southern Arizona

Sixty camping and RV sites near the Discovery Center invite visitors to stay the night in a “dark sky park” that preserves the area’s clear skies and starry nights. Hotels in nearby Benson and Tucson also make the perfect home base to visit many of Southern Arizona’s signature attractions. Visitors discover ties to Arizona’s heritage at Tombstone and Bisbee, legendary sites that hold onto their Wild West roots. The closest metro area to Kartchner Caverns State Park is Sierra Vista, a gateway to outdoor adventures including Ramsey Canyon Preserve and segments of the Arizona National Scenic Trail that wind through the Huachuca Mountains all the way down to the Mexico border.

For More Information

Kartchner Caverns State Park
2980 S. Hwy 90
Benson, AZ 85602
(520) 586-4100

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From the abundance of Saguaro cactuses and unique wildlife in the Sonoran Desert to the high country and forests of the White Mountains to the breathtaking Grand Canyon, Arizona’s regions are full of experiences that don’t disappoint.