5 Unmissable Activities at Kartchner Caverns State Park
Miles of winding pathways carved deep into Paleozoic rocks. Dripping stalactites and stalagmites. Hiking trails with panoramic views of the Arizona desert. Fun for the whole family. There’s no reason why Kartchner Caverns State Park shouldn’t be at the top of your must-see list.
Here are five activities you must do at this amazingly preserved network of caves:
1. Check Out the “Throne Room”
The Throne Room is sure to impress. You’ll get to examine 45,000-year-old bat poop (because why not?) and “Kubla Kahn,” the largest column formation in the state. The Throne Room tour takes approximately 1.5 hours and covers half a mile.
2. Tour the “Big Room”
Another impressive cavern to see, the Big Room tour is available between mid-October to mid-April (the remainder of the year is reserved for bat nesting season – nearly 2,000 bats make the cave their home during this time). During this tour, you’ll learn about incredible now-extinct animals that once roamed this corner of the globe, as well as ongoing scientific research. The tour takes approximately 1.75 hours and covers half a mile.
3. Explore the Discovery Center
The park’s Discovery Center is more than just a place to pick up your tour tickets. Visit the Center to see an educational video presentation about the 1974 discovery of the cave. The accompanying museum provides information about cave formations, ancient flora and fauna and hydrology. You’ll leave feeling like an expert.
4. Enjoy the Hummingbird Garden Walk
Located on the southwest side of the park, the Hummingbird Garden Walk is an excellent reason to get outside and admire many of the local plants that thrive here, even in the heat of the desert. Many of the blooming plants attract hummingbirds, butterflies and more. Looking for more of a traditional hike? The park offers several other trails, varying in difficulty, for your enjoyment.
5. Visit Nearby Bisbee or Tombstone
Destinations Bisbee and Tombstone give visitors a taste of what the Wild West was like. An excellent mix of both old and new, Bisbee offers a busy downtown with eateries and fascinating mining history. Tombstone is home to the infamous O.K. Corral and provides shopping, gunfight-re-enactments, food and more. They both require around an hour drive.