Going Deep in Kartchner Caverns, Arizona

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April 11, 2017

Kartchner Caverns Big Room, image by Mike Lewis RV trip to kartchner caverns

Take an RV trip to Kartchner Caverns in southwest Arizona.

Located in southeast Arizona, Kartchner Caverns State Park is a phenomenal example of a “living” limestone cavern. The state park offers 2.4 miles of underground passages, many of which can be accessed via tours.

Some of its rock formations have been growing for more than 50,000 years, and are still growing. Fossil and skeletal remains of an 86,000-year-old Shasta ground sloth, a 34,000-year-old horse and an 11,000-year-old bear have been found in the cavern. Remains found of more recent reptile and animal inhabitants are also on display at the excellent Discovery Center (Visitor Center) onsite. The cavern is a must-do item for your bucket list while in Arizona.

Located nine miles south of Benson, the cavern staff put on two tours known as the “Rotunda/Throne Tour” and the “Big Room Tour” available daily, with reservations recommended in advance. Note: The Big Room Tour is closed from mid-April to mid-October, when it serves as a nursery roost for as many as 2,000 Myotis velifer cave bats!

Going Deep to Stalactites, Satalgmites and More

Limestone from Kartchner Caverns State Park.

Within the cave, interesting formations are abundant. You will be fascinated by stalactites, stalagmites, helictites, cave bacon, one of the world’s longest soda straw stalactites, brushite moonmilk, and more. Your tour guide will point out and explain these to you as you travel along the easy walking paths created carefully throughout the cavern yielding visitors (including handicapped) access to approximately 40 percent of this cave system.

The cavern was discovered in 1974. Kept secret following its discovery, and closed to the public for 25 years until opening as a state park in 1999, the caretakers of this property were able to preserve its pristine condition for today’s visitors to enjoy by taking an RV trip to Kartchner Caverns.

An RV Trip to Kartchner Caverns Leads to the Throne

It’s possible to accomplish both tours in one day if you desire. Bearing in mind the closed dates above of the Big Room Tour, you should pick a scheduled tour time that allows for a 2-hour window between the two tour times chosen. There is a Bat Cave Cafe onsite for lunch and snacks. Tickets not reserved in advance are sold on a first-come, first-served basis and sell out early.

Check out more Kartchner Caverns State Park for more information. Looking for a place to stay?Nearby Butterfield RV Resort is another excellent option.

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