Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Kartchner Caverns State Park December 20, 2011

Soda Straws inside the cave

Over the Holiday break my wife and I traveled from Nevada to Arizona to visit family in Sierra Vista. While in Arizona we visited a number of interesting historical and ecological sites. This first post will chronicle Tara and my trip to Kartchner Caverns Statepark.

Information: Kartchner Caverns is located south of Benson, Arizona, about 20 miles. The cave was discovered in 1973 on land belonging to Mr. Kartchner. The initial discovery remained a secret for 14 years before Kartchner sold the land to Arizona State Parks. In 1993 work began on creating a suitable entrance to take visitors into the cave. Contractors did a great job in not destroying any features of the cave during construction. This is a live cave so formations are constantly forming.

Today, Arizona State Parks offers two tours- The Big Room and The Throne Room. Each tour is 1.5 hours long and costs $22.79. (The Throne Room tour is not offered from March to October because of roosting bats). During the Big Room Tour we saw many beautiful features including stalagtites, stalagmites, soda straws, turnups, bacon and eggs. Our guide was very informative giving us ample information on the cave's development and features inside the cave. It is important to remember that volunteers lead many of the tours. and are instrumental in maintaining many of our state parks and historic sites. (Information and pictures inside the cave from Arizona State parks)

Hiking: Above ground a 2.5 mile loop trail gives visitors great views of desert life and the surrounding mountains. An access trail also leads into the National Forest.

Camping is offered in the State Park at $14 per night.

Inside the Big Room

Ocotillo in the foreground, looking across valley

Kartchner Cavens State Park; notice the many different species of plants including agaves, ocotillo, yucca.

Kartchner Caverns State Park

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