Accessing Kartchner Caverns
Read about the tour given to the team at Ability 360 by clicking the link above, and learn how they made their tour an exceptional experience for people of all abilities!
Most above ground and below ground areas on the park are handicapped accessible except for most parts of the hiking trails. (Hiking trails include uneven, unpaved surfaces; extended inclines/declines, steps, turns and miscellaneous obstacles such as rocks or logs.) Access to parking areas, campgrounds, picnic areas and buildings are designed to be wheelchair 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.
The cave is accessible by wheelchair and scooter and by most visitors with limited mobility. All cave trails include switchback curves, inclines and declines and some grades of up to 12 percent that may exceed the Americans with Disabilities Act guidelines. Most of the cave trails have rest areas at regular intervals along the way and the program is designed to incorporate periodic stops. Benches are located adjacent to the steeper incline/decline routes where one may avoid those areas but still enjoy the program. Stainless steel railing also lines the majority of the trails, although there are short stretches where the rail does not exist. It is suggested that you ask about any specific conditions or limitations prior to making reservation to ensure that we will be able to facilitate your specific needs. When taking a tour, please advise the front desk staff of your needs upon arrival so that the appropriate arrangements may be made.
Most motorized and manual wheelchairs may be used in the cave, but due to the limits of the trail dimensions, certain chairs may be restricted. Wheelchairs with a seat width of 18” or less and an overall width of 30” are permissible. If your personal wheelchair exceeds these dimensions, refer to the “Wheelchair Loans” section below. Motorized wheelchairs should be electrically powered and have a closed cell battery. Wheelchairs should have functioning brakes capable of parking on an incline/decline. Ramps exist at all access points to the tram and the first car of each tram is designed to allow an individual to enter the car and remain in the wheelchair during the tram ride. Ambulatory visitors who wish to store their wheelchair on the car and ride on the seat may do so as well.
Motorized scooters are allowed on tours but due to the dimensions of the trails, some limitations exist. Scooters should have a width of 30” or less and a total length of 40” or less. If your scooter exceeds these dimensions, refer to the “wheelchair loans” section below. Motorized scooters should be electrically powered and have a closed cell battery. Scooters should have functioning brakes capable of parking on an incline/decline. Ramps exist at all access points to the tram and the first car of each tram is designed to allow an individual to drive onto the car and remain on the scooter during the tram ride. Ambulatory visitors who wish to store their scooter on the car and ride on the seat may do so as well.
The cave trails include inclines/declines, periodic waiting/stopping areas and handrails through most areas. Crutches and walkers are not allowed on tours but canes with rubber tips and walkers w/hand brakes are allowed. The temperature and humidity may aggravate respiratory issues. If you have any issue that may cause difficulties on the tour, it is suggested that you use a park loaner wheelchair for your ease and comfort. Please refer to the “wheelchair loans” section below.
If your personal wheelchair/scooter exceeds the recommended dimensions but you are able to use a wheelchair of these dimensions, manual wheelchairs are available for loan at the Discovery Center. An ID (driver's license, state ID card etc.) will be required to borrow a wheelchair. The ID will be retained at the front desk until the chair is returned. It is suggested that a designated person accompany each visitor in a scooter or wheelchair to assist or push if needed. Please remember that no additional items such as bags, purses, packs or bottled water, will be allowed on tours unless they have been approved for specific medical purposes at the front desk.
Service animals meeting the American with Disabilities Act standards are allowed inside buildings and on cave tours. All owners are responsible for the actions of their service animals and should consider the effect that darkness, enclosed spaces, warm temperatures and humidity may have on their service animals when going on tour.
Please note: Comfort/therapy animals are not service animals as defined by ADA standards.