Tucson's Other Underground Scene: The Kartchner Caverns

Exploring Kartchner Caverns State Park in Arizona

When two intrepid spelunkers discovered Kartchner Caverns—one of the most massive cave systems in the country—they kept the secret, knowing the fragile state of the centuries-old mineral deposits inside the underground chambers. Twenty-five years later, in 1999, Kartchner opened to the public with all the protections and perks of a state park. A sophisticated discovery center was erected. Wheelchair-friendly underground paths were paved. Engineers found a way to maintain the caves’ natural temperature and humidity (68 F and 98 percent respectively). And rangers were empowered to point out straw-skinny stalactites and Roman-columnar stalagmites to ticketed visitors well into the 21st century.2980 S. Hwy. 90, Benson, 520.586.2283. More Info