Kartchner Caverns State Park is a natural wonder in that offers visitors a chance to explore a living cave with stunning formations and diverse wildlife, plus hiking, camping, and interpretive museum exhibits!
The highlight of the park is its two main cave tours: the Rotunda/Throne Tour and the Big Room Tour, each showcasing different aspects of the cave’s history, geology, and ecology. The Rotunda/Throne Tour takes you to see the largest column in Arizona, Kubla Khan, and the 45,000-year-old bat guano deposit. The Big Room Tour reveals the colorful and bizarre shapes of the cave’s stalactites, stalagmites, and columns, as well as the ancient and modern creatures that inhabit the cave. Both the Big Room Tour and Rotunda/Throne Tour are wheelchair accessible. The park also offers a Helmet & Headlamp Tour for a more adventurous experience, where you can explore the cave using only the light from your helmet! Cave tours require advance reservations and have different seasonal availability. Visit the Cave Tours page on the park's website for more information and to reserve your spot! Note that Big Room tours are only available from October 15 to April 15.
Discovery Center, Dark Skies, Hiking, and Camping
If you prefer to keep your adventures above ground, the park is home to four hiking trails, all of which are moderately difficult with some strenous portions. The trails offer excellent views of the Whetstone Mountains, located to the west of the park.
The park also has a Discovery Center with museum exhibits, a theater, a large gift shop, regional displays, a theater, a cafe, and educational information about the caverns and the surrounding landscape. The exhibits tell the story of the cave's geologic history, the story of its discovery, rock samples that you can touch, and fossils of ancient wildlife found within the park! There are also campgrounds, hiking trails, lockers, shaded picnic areas, a cafe, an amphitheater, and a hummingbird garden. Tickets for tours and information from park rangers can also be found at the Discover Center.
Cabins and RV/Tent campsites are available. All campsites include water and electric hookups. Cabins are air-conditioned and include a queen bed and 2 twin bunk beds, a microwave, and a mini-fridge. Restrooms and showers are located within walking distance. Restroom, shower, and dump station facilities are available to all campground and cabin users. Campsites can be reserved for $30 a night, and cabins can be reserved starting at $99 a night. Picnic areas and group use ramadas are also available for day users.
Along with Oracle State Park, Kartchner Caverns State Park is also designated as a International Dark Sky Park by the International Dark-Sky Association! The park offers excellent opportunities for stargazing and star photography, due to its remote location and the lack of light pollution.
Kartchner Caverns State Park is located about 70 miles, or 1 hour and 10 minutes' driving time, from Marana, off of Arizona State Highway 90 near Benson. Take Interstate 10 to Arizona Highway 90 (Exit 302), and head about 10 miles south. The park is located west of AZ-90.
The park is open year-round, but the cave tours require advance reservations and have different seasonal availability. Visit the Cave Tours page on the park's website for more information and to reserve your spot!
Shaded/Covered Picnic & Dining Areas
Kartchner Caverns State Park2980 AZ-90, Benson
Benson, AZ 85602