The Spirit of Arizona Blog Series:                                     Kartchner Caverns State Park

Kartchner Caverns State ParkDeep within the bowels of the earth in the Whetstone Mountains is a magical place 200,000 years in the making--a pristine limestone cave.  Discovered in November 1974 by two young cavers, Gary Tenen and Randy Tufts, when they found a narrow crack at the bottom of a sinkhole leading into the hillside. The warm moist air that flowed from the crack signaled the existence of a cave.

Curious, they crawled deeper and after several hours found the "live" limestone cave.  This underground wonder is home to a wide variety of unique minerals and formations, including:

  • one of the world's longest soda straw stalactites: 21 feet 3 inches (Throne Room)
  • the tallest and most massive column in Arizona, Kubla Khan: 58 feet tall (Throne Room)
  • the world's most extensive formation of brushite moonmilk (Big Room)
  • the first reported occurrence of “turnip” shields (Big Room)
  • the first cave occurrence of “birdsnest” needle quartz formations
  • many other unusual formations such as shields, totems, helictites, and rimstone dams.

For an unforgettable adventure be sure to put the Kartchner Caverns State Park on your "must see" list.  During a memorable 1 1/2 hour tour, your guide will unveil the mysteries of this fascinating underground landscape.  The park's Discovery Center features museum exhibits, a large gift shop, regional displays, theater, and educational information about the caverns and the surrounding landscape. There are also campgrounds, hiking trails, lockers, shaded picnic areas, a deli, an amphitheater, and a hummingbird garden.



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