Ranch hands who roamed over these hills on horseback suspected there was something different about the ground under them. It sounded hollow. It was decades later before anyone knew why.
Discovered in 1974 by two amateur cavers from Tucson, Kartchner Caverns is a stunning limestone cave system in Southeastern Arizona near Benson. It is host to world-class cave formations considered to be the best of their kind in the world.
Explorers Randy Tufts and Gary Tenen, kept the cave a secret for 14 years to protect it from vandalism and exploitation and to ensure the survival of its delicate ecosystem. Kartchner Caverns is a wet living cave into which water still percolates from the surface above and calcium carbonate features are still growing. It has an unusually wide variety of brilliantly colored cave formations, including the longest known Soda Straw stalactite formation in the world.
Photography inside the caverns is prohibited. The Interior cave image and text excerpts are courtesy of the Friends of Kartchner Caverns.