Katchner Caverns State Park in Benson Arizona has limestone caves and a campground

Kartchner Caverns in Benson, AZ opened in the mid-1990s. Two guys discovered it in 1978. The caverns hold some unique geological forms. Two main tours take visitors through the Throne Room and the Big Room.  They also have a campground with electric sites. The Park also offers night tours and star parties.

Information

Tours are approximately an hour and a half long and cover a half mile. The temperature in the cave is 72 degrees. Tours cost $22.95 for adults and $12.95 for children under 14.

Tour highlights

The Throne Room houses one of the longest soda straw stalactites measuring 21 feet 3 inches, and Kubla Khan at 58 feet tall, the largest column in Arizona in heighth and width. The Rotunda/Throne Room was what the discoverers first encountered in 1974. The tour shows visitors the trail the discoverers found. This tour describes how water creates the formations. Visitors spend fifty minutes in the cave. Children six years and under may become scared in the dimly lit cave. This is not unusual.

The Big Room features the brushite moonmilk, an extensive formation and “turnip” shields. This tour features recent discoveries and guides talk about the living nature of the cave and the creatures that live there.

The tours also feature quartz forms called “birdsnest” and other unusual formations like rimstone dams, helictites, shields, and totems.

Campground

Campsites cost $25. They all have electrical hookups. They also have tent sites but the cost is the same. Four host sites, three handicapped sites with one pull through site. The campground also has twelve pull through sites and 43 other sites with varying sizes. Waste bins and shower/restroom facilities are at the upper west end of each campground. Restrooms offer bottled water vending machines and sinks for dishwashing located at the backend of the east side.

Reservations

The Park recommends making reservations for the tours. Each tour must have five people or more. Visitors must arrive one hour before their scheduled tour. The Park cancels tours with fewer than five people. Children under seven years of age cannot join the Big Room Tour. Tours for the Big Room Tours only occur October to mid-April. From September 16 -20, the Park does not give either tour. The Caverns close for Christmas Day.

Kartchner Caverns is a relatively new park having only opened in 1999. The formations are delicate so visitors should not touch them.  The park has no self-tours. Plan to use the provided lockers because the guides do not want visitors carrying in backpacks, bags, purses, bottled water. They do not allow strollers in the caverns.