Arizona is home to many unique natural landmarks, including the Kartchner Caverns. Discovered in 1974, the Kartchner Caverns are carved out of limestone and contain 50,000-year-old cave formations.
The park offers two different cave tours that will take you underground, giving you a first-hand view of the caverns’ fascinating minerals and formations, making Kartchner Caverns a must-see for anyone interested in exploration.
The Rotunda/Throne tour:
- Open since 1999
- Half a mile long
- Takes an hour and a half to complete
- Available year-round, except September 17-22
The tour explains the role water has had in the creation of the caverns. Also featured in this tour is the original trail of the first discoverers of the cave.
The Big Room tour:
- Opened in 2003
- Half a mile long
- Takes nearly two hours to complete
- Available from mid-October to mid-April
The Big Room tour will teach you about the cave fauna, the strange formations and new scientific research findings on the caverns.
The Discovery Center
Other features of Kartchner Caverns State Park include the Discovery Center, which includes the park’s museum exhibits, gift shop, regional displays and information about the caverns and the surrounding landscape. Kartchner Caverns State Park also has campgrounds, hiking trails, lockers, shaded picnic areas, a deli, an amphitheater and a hummingbird garden.
Interesting facts about the Kartchner Caverns:
- Kartchner Caverns is home to one of the world’s longest soda straw stalactites at 21 feet 3 inches (Throne Room).
- The tallest and most massive column in Arizona is Kubla Khan at 58 feet tall (Throne Room).
- The world’s most extensive formation of brushite moonmilk resides at Kartchner Caverns (Big Room).
- The first occurrence of “turnip” shields (Big Room) was reported here.
- The first cave occurrence of “birds nest” needle quartz formations.
- Many other unusual formations such as shields, totems, helictites and rimstone dams appear in the caverns.