Masks are required when visiting our ranger stations, restrooms, stores, or historic buildings. Please also wear a mask while recreating outside if social distancing cannot be maintained. New tour restrictions in place - please see the tour page for more info. Parking may be limited. FIRE BAN in effect - no campfires or smoking (except in an enclosed vehicle).

Kartchner Caverns Writing Contest

Sharpen your pencils, underground explorers! Kartchner Caverns wants to hear YOUR story, from the stalagmites to the stalactites!

The dark silence and dripping formations of caves have captured the imaginations of writers, poets, and even scientists throughout the centuries. Finding its way into many stories and folktales, the cave has served as a place of mystery, fear, wonder, or refuge for any character who dared venture inside. Now, the legacy of caves in literature continues with you.

Write a short story or poem in which a cave(s) plays a prominent role in the work. The nature of the role is up to the author, but its prominence must be obvious. If the surface setting of Kartchner Caverns State Park inspires you more, then you are welcome to have our desert grassland habitat play the prominent role instead.


  • There are a few things to keep in mind when writing and submitting your work:
  • Any genre is welcome EXCEPT for historical fiction based on the discovery story. That story has already been written, and no fictional representation of any of the people involved will be published without their permission.
  • One entry per author (i.e. either one poem or one story, not one of each)
  • Serious themes or ideas may be explored, but entries must remain family friendly (i.e. PG). Any entry not deemed suitable to showcase in our Discovery Center will not be considered.

After You’ve Submitted:

  • A panel of rangers and volunteers will read all the entries and are responsible for deciding the winners of the contest.
  • The number of winners will also be decided by the panel based on factors such as number and variety of entries.
  • Winners will receive two cave tour tickets and have their work showcased both online and as a physical copy in our Discovery Center!

This contest is open to all ages and begins September 1, 2020. All entries must be submitted by November 21, 2020 to be considered. Winners will be announced December 21, 2020. Submit your piece below!

Please direct questions, comments, or concerns to our contact ranger:

Ranger Zia
(520) 586-4117