Online Campground Reservations


Kartchner Caverns Locator Map

Elevation 4,700 feet   Fees

Contact the Park:
(520) 586-2283
Reservation Line

(520) 586-4100
Information Line

Kartchner Caverns SP
P.O. Box 1849
Benson, AZ 85602
9 mi. S of Benson on Hwy 90


Visitor Center Parking Restrooms Handicapped Accessibility Gift Shop Bat Cave Café Exhibits Group Day Use Areas Camping Electric RV Sites Dump Station Showers Picnic Areas/Shelters Hiking Trails Pets Wildlife Viewing

Nearest Services: 9 miles

Click icons for more info

511 Speed Code

511 logo

Park's Speed Code: 4220#


Park Entrance Fees*:
Per Vehicle (1-4 Adults): $6.00
Individual/Bicycle: $3.00
*Entrance Fee Waived for Reserved Tour Ticket Holders

Camping Fees:
Electric site: $25.00
All sites are electric

Cave Tour Fees:
See Cave Tour Information Page

Fee Schedule

Friends Group

Friends of Kartchner Caverns State Park

Enjoy exploring above and below the grounds of Kartchner Caverns State Park. Check out the NEW Headlamp tour for a unique experience in the dark depths of the caves.

Cave Tour Reservations:

Reserve online Online Reservations (24-hours) or call (520) 586-2283. You can call 7 days a week, from 8 am to 5 pm MST. Please review the Cave Tour Info Cave Tour Info before placing your reservation. School/group tours should review additional information. To make same day Cave Tour reservations (based on availability) please call (520) 586-2283. Please arrive AT LEAST 1 hour prior to your scheduled tour time. Late arrival may result in the forfeiture of your reserved tour time.

Gate Hours 7 am – 10 pm, Discovery Center Hours 9 am – 5 pm Tours depart between 9am and 3pm based on availability and staffing and we highly recommend prior reservations.

Big Thank You to Doug & Sharon Quarles for the dedication of their beautiful Kartchner Caverns mural on 9/26 at the Quarles Art Gallery.

We enjoyed great music, colorful local color and support from Benson's local radio station Cave 97.7.

Mural dedication at the Quarles Art Gallery in Benson, AZ.

Read about Doug's work in a story from the Benson News Sun HERE. After your cave tour, head into Benson to 4th & Huachuca St. to grab a selfie & see the beautiful work at the Quarles Art Gallery. Visit them online at

October 17 - International Astronomy Day

5:30pm. Astronomy Day is a world-wide event observed each spring and fall, and the Huachuca Astronomy Club of Southeastern Arizona will celebrate Astronomy Day at Kartchner Caverns State Park. The public is invited to come enjoy this family-friendly, educational event.  

Astronomers from HAC and the Astronomers of Verde Valley will host a solar observing program in the bus parking lot outside of the DiscoveryCenter starting about noon. Weather permitting, guests will safely view our star through a variety of telescopes designed to display the many fascinating features of the sun including sun spots, filaments and solar prominences. There will be NASA Space stickers for the kids, and several fun activities throughout the day. READ FULL EVENT INFO HERE

October 24
Annual Hallowwen Party at Kartchner Caverns State Park®, 10/24, 5pm.

5pm. Join Park staff, campers and visitors as we celebrate with chilrdren's games, craft activities, candy and prize drawings. Group photo for all costumed guests at 5:30pm.
FREE Admission to Park's Discovery Center for all costumed guests.

Saturday, November 7

2015 "Guano Happens" 5K Trail Run & 1 Mile Kids Fun Run event at Kartchner Cavernes State Park® on November 7, 2015.

Early Registration ends Oct. 1 - CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

Kartchner Caverns Video Tour

Introductory Park Video

About the Park

Big Room Tour
Starting October 15, the Big Room re-opens for tours. Book now and experience nearly 1 hour underground. Children age 6 and under are not allowed on this tour. The Kartchner Cavern story is about amazing discoveries past, present and future. Marvel at the many strange and colorful formations. Learn about the cave fauna, both living and ancient. Read Cave Tour Information.

Experience a stunning limestone cave in Southeastern Arizona that boasts world-class features. This “live” cave, discovered in 1974, is host to a wide variety of unique minerals and formations. Water percolates from the surface and calcite formations continue to grow, including stalactites dripping down like icicles and giant stalagmites reaching up from the ground. Tour guides will unveil this fascinating underground landscape during a memorable 1½ hour tour.

The Discovery Center features museums exhibits, a large gift shop, regional displays, theater, and educational information about the caverns and the surrounding landscape. There are also campgrounds, hiking trails, lockers, shaded picnic areas, a deli, an amphitheater, and a hummingbird garden.

Read Cave Tour Information (Next)


2015 "Guano Happens" 5K Trail Run & 1 Mile Kids Fun Run event at Kartchner Cavernes State Park® on November 7, 2015.

2015 "Guano Happens" 5K Trail Run & 1 Mile Kids Fun RunSaturday, November 7

Start Training Today! Expected start time will be 9:30am. Early registration will open soon. Registration fee will be $25 until October 1, 2015, open to ages 10 and up. All 5k participants will receive a T-shirt. Free kids race should start at 9:00 am and is open to kids 14 years and under. (Cave tour not included.)

Download a race flier and get registration info by scanning this code:

Scan this QR code to learn more about the Guano Happens 5K Trail Run at Kartchner Caverns State Park on Nov. 7, 2015 at 9:30am. Scan me with your smartphone app, or download an Event Flier HERE (PDF Document 3 MB PDF) or download a PDF of the 2014 Race Results HERE. (PDF Document 30 KB PDF)

Cave Discovery

It wasn't until February 1978 that Tenen and Tufts told the property owners, James and Lois Kartchner, about their amazing discovery. During the four years of secret exploration, the discoverers realized that the cave's extraordinary variety of colors and formations must be preserved.

The cave's existence became public knowledge in 1988 when its purchase was approved as an Arizona State Park. Extraordinary precautions have been taken during its development to conserve the cave's near-pristine condition.

Trip Advisor“Bats Yes ... No Batman!” 5 Stars

“Fascinating experience. Walking through a living cave and seeing all the beauty that nature offers. If you in that area of Arizona it it a must. Make reservations early”. —Sue T., July 21, 2014 Read Other Visitor Reviews. External Link

“Amazing Caverns — Must See!”5 Stars

“This is by far one of the best physical caverns I've seen, and absolutely one of the best tours ever!” —HumerousUserName, July 21, 2014 Read Other Visitor Reviews. External Link

“Excellent — Kids Enjoyed It.”5 Stars

“My three boys (ages 5, 7, 8) enjoyed this cave tour very much, as did my husband and I. My kids are mellow, so walking in the cave for 45+ minutes was an easy undertaking. If your kids are rambunctious, you may want to wait until they are older.” —SDFive, July 14, 2014 Read Other Visitor Reviews. External Link

Cave Formations

Kartchner Caverns
This bell canopy is one of many fascinating features on the Rotunda-Throne Room tour at Kartchner Caverns State Park. It is formed by water flowing over a bump on the wall, then dripping to create this beautiful formation.

In November 1974 two young cavers, Gary Tenen and Randy Tufts, were exploring the limestone hills at the base of the Whetstone Mountains. In the bottom of a sinkhole they found a narrow crack leading into the hillside. Warm, moist air flowed out, signaling the existence of a cave. After several hours of crawling, they entered a pristine cavern.

The formations that decorate caves are called “speleothems.” Usually formations are composed of layers of calcite called travertine deposited by water. The form a speleothem takes is determined by whether the water drips, flows, seeps, condenses, or pools.

Kartchner Caverns is home to:

  • One of the world's longest soda straw stalactites: 21 feet 3 inches (Throne Room)
  • The tallest and most massive column in Arizona, Kubla Khan: 58 feet tall (Throne Room)
  • The world's most extensive formation of brushite moonmilk (Big Room)
  • The first reported occurrence of “turnip” shields (Big Room)
  • The first cave occurrence of “birdsnest” needle quartz formations
  • Many other unusual formations such as shields, totems, helictites, and rimstone dams.

Please Remember: Many of the formations you will see have been continuously growing for tens of thousands of years. The formations grow very slowly and are extremely fragile. When visiting remember that formations damaged even by accident will stop growing. To avoid damage to the cave and injury to yourself please refrain from touching any of the formations.

Call for Cave Tour Tickets (520) 586-2283 Cave Tour Reservations Campground Reservations

Star Night PartyKeep up with all the great Star Party events Here.
Download Star Party & Astronomy Events brochure (PDF Document 5.7 MB PDF) Download and share our new brochure with event dates! Includes live links to Partner Group websites and park home pages.

Read Story About Kartchner Caverns

Read a story by Mark Duggan and see exclusive photos by visiting Arizona Public Media website.External Link

Read Cave Tour Information (Next)

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