by John Denholm
May 17, 2005
The theme of this park is preservation. Kartchner Caverns is a "wet cave," meaning that it is still being formed by hydrological processes. For this reason, the environment inside the cave is closely monitored. Air-tight doors ensure the dry desert does not deplete the humid subterranean environment.
The tour starts at the visitor's center, where you meet your guides. Tour groups are made up of about 15 people. A tram takes everyone up to the cave. There are two tours, the Rotunda Room tour and the Big Room tour. We took the Rotunda tour since the Big Room was closed due to mating bats. The trail underground is wheelchair-accessible and an easy walk. Stairs would lead to accidents since most people are too mesmerized by the sights to look where they are going.
While not as large as other caves, Kartchner boasts some of the most exotic formations one will come across. Make reservations and plan for the temperatures. Inside the cave, it is always a balmy 72°F with almost 100% humidity. Park rangers will persuade you to take as little into the caves as possible.
From journal Southern Arizona Attractions