These unique caves offer a look at history and nature underground. Kartchner Caverns is a living cave, accessible only through guided tours, while Coronado Cave is accessible for independent hikers.
Kartchner Caverns State Park
Named one of the top 10 caves in the U.S., Kartchner is an extraordinary living cave. Under the management of Arizona State Parks, visitors can enjoy an interpretive center, nature walk, hiking trail and two guided cave tours. The Rotunda–Throne Room cave tour is available all year around; the Big Room is only available from October 15 to April 15, as it serves as a nursery roost for bats during the summer. Allow 4 hours. Hwy 90 West Bypass 4.5 miles to the intersection of Buffalo Soldier Trail. Turn right (north) on Hwy 90 West, 24 miles to the park gate on left. 800-288-3861 for information or 520-586-CAVE (2283) for reservations, hours, and fees.
Just a quarter-mile up the road from the Coronado National Memorial Visitor Center, you’ll see the trailhead for Coronado Cave, part of the Memorial. The one mile round-trip hike (500 foot elevation gain) will take you to the cave entrance. At 600 feet long, the cave offers a look at cave geology. Bring water, at least two flashlights, and gloves. You’ll need to scramble over a few rocks to descend to the cave floor, but this cave is perfect for folks who would like a caving experience without rappelling, squeezing through tiny passageways, or belly crawling. Legend has it that Geronimo used the cave as a hideout in the late 1800s. Stop by the Memorial visitor center on your way up to learn about cave safety, preservation, geology, and ecology. Free, open daily, sunrise to sunset.