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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

Facilities

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

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511 Speed Code

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Park's Speed Code: 4220#

Fees

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

Wrap-Up Photo Gallery

Kartchner Caverns Added to Global Star Park Network!

Star AwardOn March 3, 2011, Kartchner Caverns State Park (with the Huachuca Astronomy Club) and Alamo Lake State Park (with the Astronomers of Verde Valley) were the first state parks in the United States to be granted the "One Star at a Time" award and became a member of the the Global Star Park Network. This award acknowledges the public stargazing events held at both parks in an effort to increase awareness of astronomy and preserving dark skies for future generations. The awards were presented by the StarLight Initiative, the One Star at a Time organization and Astronomers Without Borders. The Global Star Park Network aims to protect night environments, educate the public, and improve human habitat.

The next Star Night Event at Kartchner Caverns is September 24, 2011. Night Under the Stars at Alamo Lake will take place November 19, 2011.


March 26, 2011: Star Night at Kartchner Caverns

Kartchner Caverns State ParkOn Saturday, March 26 the event started off with Kartchner Caverns Astronomer Bob Gent presenting an “Introduction to the Night Skies of Kartchner” talk in the Discovery Center auditorium at 5:30 pm to a full house! Later, over 300 people enjoyed the magnificent night skies through telescopes of the Huachuca Astronomy Club External Link (HAC) and Astronomers of Verde Valley External Link The Bat Cave Café and the Gift Shop were open to support this special event.

"Thanks to all the HAC members who attended or brought telescopes. I was pretty busy with my scope most of the time, but later in the evening, I was able to visit some of the other scopes. Ken, our webmaster, brought his new Dob, and the view of Saturn was excellent. He had a 10mm with a 2x Barlow, and the resolution was very good at just before 10 pm when Saturn was a bit higher in the sky. Earlier, I had observed Saturn through Swanee’s scope, and the view was quite good then, too. Glen told me he had a good number of attendees at his scope, and Bob K was set up near Glen. Howard had a small refractor at the end of the scope line. Tony set up his scope, too. Bob Hoover had his SCT set up, so this gave us a good number of scopes to handle the crowds.

SaturnWayne Johnson, aka Mr. Galaxy, attended and as usual, his knowledge of the night sky was quite helpful. Doug was busy taking photos, talking with attendees, and taking SQM readings. HAC members Jim and Dianne stopped by, and Cindy Lund attended with others members. [Saturn image courtesy of NASA’s Cassini spacecraft]

Star NightOnce again, JD Maddy and his wife Karen drove from Verde Valley. JD is the president of the Astronomers of Verde Valley. They arrived with their RV the day before, and they had been hosting solar observing for quite a while when I arrived in mid afternoon. They had at least three scopes set up, and many people visited their table. They are nothing short of an exceptional traveling astronomy show. They had a slide program running much of the evening. Karen enthusiastically helped with the Globe at Night measurements that estimated limiting magnitudes. We also took multiple SQM readings at her station. I took dozens of readings ranging from about 21.29 to 21.48.

The Technical Director of the International Dark-Sky Association, Pete Strasser attended, and he helped with SQM readings and IDA handouts. Pete, it was great to see you again and thanks for the help!

During my talk in the Discovery Center auditorium, Bob Casavant (ASP scientist) and I presented the Star Park certificate to KCSP. Based on their pledge to preserve and promote our night skies, Kartchner Caverns State Park is now designated an official member of the Global Star Park Network. This program is managed by the “One Star at a Time” program, and it is supported by the StarLight Initiative, Astronomers without Borders, and UNESCO. Along with Alamo Lake State Park, these are the first two state parks in the USA to win this designation. Congratulations and thank you to AZ State Parks!

None of this would have been possible without the enthusiastic support of your HAC board and members, the KCSP staff, and the Astronomers of Verde Valley. The next Star Night at Kartchner Caverns is scheduled for September 24. Hope to see you there! Clear skies and bright stars" —Bob Gent

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Infra-Red Photography courtesy JD Maddy. Fisheye lens photos courtesy Doug Snyder.

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