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

Kartchner Caverns State Park - Park is Open

Arizona State Parks Annual Passes can now be purchased online. Go to: for more information.

Enjoy 16 days of First Day Hikes at "your" Arizona State Parks.First Day Hike - 1/1/2015

Start 2015 off on the "right foot" with a morning Nature Walk & Scavenger Hunt through the Foothills Loop Trail.

1 - 3pm. Nature Walk/ Scavenger Hunt
Join us on New Year's Day 2015 in search of plants, animals and geologic formations at the Park. Learn about the biology and geology of the Park while participating in a fun photo scavenger hunt. Prizes will be awarded to winners! Join Ranger Sean and Park volunteers for this fun adventure as we explore the surface of Kartchner Caverns State Park along the Foothills Loop Trail. Bring a camera for the scavenger hunt. Moderate difficulty hike - please wear close-toed shoes, and a hat, and bring water. Family-friendly activity.

Want to make a weekend out of it? Camp or bring your RV to the park, stay the night, then tour the caves in the morning!


To make Cave Tour Reservations and Book Tickets: 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.

Award of ExcellencePark Wins Certificate of Excellence

Kartchner Caverns SP has been awarded a 2014 Certificate of Excellence, signifying that it has consistently earned outstanding feedback from TripAdvisor travelers.

Winter Hours (November 1 – May 31)

Gate Hours 7 am – 10 pm, Park Hours 8 am – 5 pm, Discovery Center Hours  8 am – 5 pm Tours depart between 9am and 4pm based on availability and staffing and we highly recommend prior reservations.


Cave Fest 2015 - February 14-16, 2015. Check back for more information.




First Day Journey Now Showing: The First Day Journey

Take a 20-minute journey from the Sinkhole to the Big Room, following the path of cave discoverers Gary Tenen & Randy Tufts! WARNING: Due to point-of-view, helmet-mounted camera footage, film is not recommended for visitors susceptible to motion sickness.


Family Campout Program

Family Campout ProgramFamily Campout ProgramFamily Campout ProgramThe Fall & Winter 2014 Family Campout Program is designed for families that have little or no experience camping. We will introduce you to the great experiences you can share with your family outdoors! You will learn how to set up a tent and an introduction to cooking outside, plus you will get to try some fun activities you can do while camping! Take a one weekend introductory adventure at one of 8 Arizona State Parks. Learn more about the program, see a list of other participating parks and dates, and start the registration process.

Read Story About Kartchner Caverns

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

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)

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.

Watch the Halloween Party movie trailer. The party was October 25. We had a great turnout and look forward to seeing you all out there next year.


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

Read Cave Tour Information (Next)

Top of Page (Top)     Park Rules (Next)