Arizona might not have innumerable caverns and cave systems, but whatever it has, people are quite happy with these ancient rock formations. These caves contain massive strong stones to fragile crystals, nurturing diverse fauna inside them. Let us delve into the popular cave systems to visit across Arizona.
The cave system falls under the category of the biggest dry caverns of the country as well as the whole world. The limestone cave has multiple tourist facilities like a lift that will drop you around 200 meters down the earth’s surface from where you can opt for any one from the 5 types of guided tours offered. The shortest one is of 25 minutes and the longest one being 2 hours long. There is a single hotel room, rather a suit that can be booked for staying overnight. The temperature of the cave stays around 56°F, throughout the year without slightest humidity. A woodpecker discovered the cave for the first time in 1927, hoping it might be a gold mine. Although he did not find any gold, but had already gifted people from all over the world a cavern to look forward to.
This cave system is within the premises of the mountain park that is around 2,400 acres wide. Laden with massive formations of helicities, stalagmites, and stalactites, and crystal-like delicate rocks this cave has about 400 steps to take you down to the core of it through guided tours like “Wild Cave” and “Ladder Tour” covering around ½ mile of the cave. The standard timing of these tours last for around 1 hour, and the temperature inside the cave is nearly 70°F. Since many of the formations are in a delicate state, people are not allowed to touch anything except for the famous one, “Old Baldy”. This cave is conveniently located around 22 miles away from the city of Tucson.
As a result of a volcanic eruption, the lava tube was formed around 70,000 years ago. As a part of Coconino National Forest, this place is unusually cold throughout the year, maintaining a range of 30°F-40°F. Even if you are lucky enough, you may spot ice, due to immense cold inside the cave. Visitors should wear warm clothes and shoes accordingly. There is no guided tour, so you have to hike yourself through the deep cave.
Close to Benson, this cave was discovered in 1974 by two enthusiast people, Randy Tufts and Gary Tenen. In order to preserve the cave system, the land which belonged to Kartchner family (the caves are named after them), was bought by the state. The caves have the world’s highest stalactite formation. The interesting thing is that the geological formation inside the caverns is still growing. There are 3 types of tours -“Big Room Tour” (2 hours), “Rotunda Tour” ( 1 hour 90 minutes) and the one where you can explore the cave wearing headlamps and helmets. Since the cave has perfect temperatures for many living things to thrive at, bats roost inside the caverns and during that time, the caverns are closed to people.
Amidst 1,000 caves of the Grand Canyon National Park, this one is the only one that is officially open to all people. Hiking is a must to enter the cave, and for that, only permitted hikers can only go through the cave. As a part of Grandview Trail, reaching there and returning is actually a one-day affair for hike enthusiasts. The caves have countless stalagmites and stalactites formations that people should not ideally touch.
For cave exploration or spelunking, this cave is simply the best in Arizona, as it has the mysterious aura about it. A part of Coronado National Memorial Park, there is no official guided tour or anything that could help people with the detail of the geological information of the cave. So, people often take up the responsibility of educating themselves by exploring the cave on their own. It is dark inside the cave, so taking some torches and light backups is necessary.
With a lake inside, this limestone cave is in a very primitive state, and there is no proper arrangement for tourists. There are some metal ladders to help cave explorers to reach the interior. “Birthing Canal” or “The Rabbit Hole”, and “Big Room”, are some of the marked areas that might help people for easy access. The temperature of the cave is around 70°F, almost throughout the year with humidity. The cave in the Santa Catalina Mountains is one of the most popular destinations for enthusiast people.
There is another solutional cave that is Onyx Cave, located in the Santa Rita Mountains. This is not a famous one, but amidst local people, this is a known name. As a part of Coronado National Forest, this was enlisted in 1974 as a National Natural Landmark.
The Emerald cave in Willow Park is a popular kayak destination, but that cannot be considered as one of the land caves. Also, there are certain caves like Cave on Cave Creek and Cave of the Bells, which are not accessible by people frequently. There are certain times of the year when the corresponding authorities decide if people can go inside or not.
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