Founded as a railroad town in the 1800s, Benson lies on the old Butterfield Overland Mail Route, and although stagecoaches no longer run here, the town retains its Wild West atmosphere. This small desert community still conjures up images of dusty cowboys riding into town for a drink at the local saloon. But today’s settlement has a new breed of visitor: Tourists find Benson a great jumping-off point for numerous outdoor adventures.
Caves and Corrals
Discovered in 1974, the astounding stalagmites and stalactites of Kartchner Caverns State Park were not introduced to the world until 1988, when a way was found to protect the caves from vandals. Today, high-tech locks and a misting system make it possible for visitors to enjoy this underground marvel while preserving the limestone caverns.
The San Pedro River is a quiet respite in this arid land, providing shelter to over 350 species of birds. Named a Riparian National Conservation Area, the river sets the perfect stage for bird-watching.
Benson’s Western roots shine with the Singing Wind Cowboy & Cowgirl Roundup each January, a poetry and music celebration at the Singing Wind Bookshop. The venue is located on the ranch of Winifred Bundy, the store’s proprietor and rancher.
Taking a Stand
Cochise Stronghold lies 30 miles to the east in the rugged Dragoon Mountains, marking the spot where the namesake Apache warrior agreed to peace with settlers. Visitors who explore this fortresslike wilderness can easily imagine the fierce combat that raged here.
Taking the Stage
October brings with it the Butterfield Overland Stage Days, with wild rodeos, a parade, art festival and, of course, a stagecoach, all celebrating the Butterfield Overland Mail Route that once traveled from St. Louis to San Francisco.
For More Information
Benson Visitor Center
Arizona Office of Tourism