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FAQ's: General Questions About the Tour

Are the tours guided or self-guided?

  • All tours are led by a trained guide, no self-guided tours are available. For your safety and the protection of the cave staff/volunteers will always be with you.  

 

How do you get up the hill to access the cave?

  • A tram takes every group up the hill and drops you off 100 feet in front of the cave door.

 

Most caves I’ve been in are cold –is Kartchner also a cold cave?

  • No. At Kartchner the caverns are very warm. Due to the high humidity (99 percent), some people may find it harder to breathe.
  • The cave has an average temperature of 70° Fahrenheit (21° Celsius) and 99 percent humidity year-round. Think Florida in August.

 

What is the Maximum Grade inside the cave?

  • There are several areas in the cave where the trail grade exceeds 12%. Grade changes do occur frequently. Inside the cavern, there are a few narrow passage and sharp turns.

 

Is the tour continuously moving or does it stop at times along the route?

  • Tours have designated stops in the cave. You typically won’t travel more than a few hundred feet before a stop to view a part of the cave and to hear a story.
  • All stops have flat surfaces and Benches are located adjacent to the steeper incline/decline routes where one may avoid those areas but still enjoy the program.

How long is the tour?

  • Rotunda/Throne Tour -Length: ½ mile. Time: 1½ hours. 50 minutes of which is underground.
  • Big Room Tour-Length: ½ mile. Time: 1¾ hours. 1 hour underground.

 

Can I take food or water into the cave?

  • Due to safety and the cave environment food & drinks – including water bottles, are not allowed in the Discovery Center or carried into the cave.
  • Make sure you’re well-fueled and hydrated before you get on the tram for your tour.
  • No additional items such as bags, purses or packs will be allowed on tours unless approval has been provided for specific medical purposes. 

 

I have diabetes and require carrying a medicine bag at all times, is this permitted?

  • Absolutely! If any medical considerations are needed please speak to the reservation staff prior to arrival and again, when you check in at the front desk.

 

What happens if I need to leave the cave during the tour?

  • Anyone not feeling well or uncomfortable in the cave is permitted to leave the cave for their well-being and safety.
  • You will never have to leave alone –a Park ranger or volunteer will escort you out of the cave and onto the tram and back down to the Discovery Center.

Is it easy to exit the cave from anywhere inside?

  • Yes. No matter where you are inside the cave, you are never more than 1-2 minutes from an exit. 

 

How do infants do in the cave? Can I take a stroller inside?

  • Most infants do not tolerate the cave environment very well, so prepare accordingly when planning your visit to the park.
  • Strollers and backpack carriers are not permitted on the tour. For very young children (birth to one year) soft slings or pouches with the child on the front of the mother or father are recommended.

Are the doors to the Discovery Center and bathrooms easy accessible?                                                      The Discovery Center doors are automatic or manually activated automatic. All restrooms and shower areas are wheelchair accessible but the doors are NON-automated and must be opened manually. Door weights are greater than 5lbs and may require an assist for some people.

Do you have a Family Room?

  • Yes, a family room is located just before you enter the Discovery Center. The door can be locked; it is air conditioned and the space inside can accommodate several people and or a caregiver/family member who is providing any medical care.
  • There are also 2 family rooms located at the campgrounds. 

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  ARIZONA STATE PARKS  

Outdoor Recreation Info Center
Visitors Welcome!
23751 N. 23rd Ave. #190
Phoenix, AZ 85085

 (877) MY-PARKS

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Mission Statement
"Managing and conserving Arizona's natural, cultural and recreational resources for the benefit of the people, both in our Parks and through our Partners."