Your Guide to Caves and Caverns near Tucson
Exploring caves in Tucson can be a great activity, no matter what age you are. There is so much to learn from these mighty natural wonders and with so many caves to explore, you are bound to never get bored. We are lucky here in Tucson to have several places where you can take tours of caves, or explore these huge caverns all on your own.
Three Great Places to Explore Caves in Tucson
Kartchner Caverns State Park – Kartchner Caverns State Park is a great place to visit if you are looking to take a tour through a series of caves. There are three different tours you can take at Kartchner Caves. The Rotunda Throne Tour is a .5 mile tour where you head underground to discover the rotunda/throne of the cave. The Big Room Tour is available October through April. This .5 mile tour helps you to learn more about Kartchner Cavern while touring the big room of the cave. If you are looking for a true cave experience, then you might want to take the Helmet & Headlamp Tour. Year round on Saturdays you can strap on a helmet and headlamp and explore the cave as discoverers once did. You can reserve and book tickets online, tour prices are $13 for children 7-13 and $23.00 for ages 14 and up.
Colossal Cave Mountain Park – Not just a place you visit to explore caves, this park is also home and refuge to many species of mammals, birds, and reptiles, however the cave is a must see when visiting the park. The Tour of Colossal Cave is a .5 mile long tour that takes around an hour. You will be guided through the cave whilst learning its history and geology. You can catch a tour year round, tickets are available online and cost $13.00 for regular cave tours. If you are looking for a little more adventure, you may want to take a ladder tour, these tours are priced at $30.00.
Coronado Cave – This cave is a part of the Coronado National Memorial and is nestled in a limestone layer at the bottom of Montezuma Peak. You can choose to explore the cave on your own, or you can take part in a ranger led tour. If you wish to take a ranger led tour they occur on Saturdays at 10am from January through April. The ranger will guide you through the cave explaining the history and formations. These tours start at the Coronado Cave trailhead and last for around two hours. It is a one mile moderate hike to the cave and back, ranger led tours are free to the public.
Tips and Tricks fo Exploring Tucson’s Caves
- Use high speed film and a flash for cameras.
- For videocams use the candlelight setting.
- Most caves are steady at around 70 degrees, so no need for layers of clothing.
- If you are exploring a cave on your own, check in at a visitor center or ranger station first, or let a friend or family member know where you are going.
- Have two sources of light and be sure to have extra batteries.
- Wear gloves if you plan on exploring on your own, touching the cave walls can bring damage to the formations.
- Wear sturdy shoes and be sure to have a helmet.
Exploring all that Tucson has to offer could take you a lifetime, exploring caves in Tucson is a great way to find out more about these geological wonders, alongside the history of the Tucson area.
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