Kartchner Caverns State Park: Cave tours & camping

Kartchner Caverns Tours

Kartchner Caverns within the Arizona Kartchner Caverns State Park was recently discovered in 1974. The 13,000-foot limestone cave full of interesting passages has only been opened to the public since 1999. The caverns include two gargantuan underground rooms that each take up as much space as a football field. Guided tours, given by park rangers, begin every thirty minutes.

Rotunda/Throne Room

The Rotunda/Throne Room, an entire half-mile long, includes an educational but fascinating description of the part that water played in the formation of the Kartchner Caverns. Intricate rock formations coupled with color variations, making this cavern one of the top ten, located in this room are some of the tiniest that you will see, while the column is the largest in Arizona.

Rotunda Throne Room
Rotunda/Throne Room

Big Room Tour

Although the Big Room Tour is only available from mid-October to mid-April, the reason behind it is fascinating. Every summer, the Big Room becomes a nursery to over one thousand baby bats whose mothers provide the only connection between this underground ecosystem and the outside world.

Hiking Whetstone Mountains

Several hiking and walking trails in the Park add a bit of outdoor adventure for those who like to see the light of day. The Guindani Trail provides hiking in the Whetstone Mountains above the cave on a shared non-motorized path. Accessible through the Kartchner Caverns State Park campgrounds, this trail provides a unique look at a variety of interesting geological formations, as well as native vegetation.

Although classified as a moderate to difficult hike, The Foothills Loop Trail is well worth the trip through native vegetation including Indigo Bush and Desert Bird of Paradise. An educational jaunt along its pathway leads visitors to a short and scenic trail that ends at the panoramic beauty offered by the Mountain View Lookout.

Hummingbird Garden

The Hummingbird Garden is filled with a delightful array of many of the hummingbird’s favorites in native vegetation. The pathway is lined with brilliant colors and the fluttering of wings, providing a pleasant and relaxing journey for those seeking a less adventurous walk than the hiking trails.

Discovery Center

The Kartchner Caverns State Park is home to an outstanding Discovery Center and an amphitheater. The Center with its interactive displays is well-equipped to answer your questions concerning not only the caverns but also, native vegetation and wildlife. A multi-screen video presents exciting facts about the history of the caves, as well as the efforts to preserve it.


Onsite gift shops are a terrific way to pick up a few souvenirs of your trip. Plus, if you prefer to spend more than just a single day, over sixty campsites with full hookups are available for your comfort.

Kartchner Caverns State Park includes all of the amenities to make for a pleasant visit. Near the Discovery Center, shaded ramadas and attractive outdoor dining areas present pleasant getaways from the hustle and bustle of tours and hikes. Clean restrooms, accessible telephones, vending machines, and roomy lockers add the finishing touches to all your needs.

For more information and tour schedules, visit the Kartchner Caverns and the Kartchner Caverns State Park websites.

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