Caves are incredibly interesting natural structures. They can be found deep underground or on the side of mountains and they look like alien worlds!
Lots of people love to go cave exploring, or spelunking, and it is an absolutely thrilling experience.
Arizona is absolutely jam-packed with caves and they are some of the best in all the United States.
You will find some incredibly unique and interesting caves in this state and if you want to visit some for yourself, then you have definitely come to the right place.
We have put together a list of 10 of the best caves in Arizona that you absolutely have to see for yourself.
Each of the caves on this list has something different to offer, and if you want a more thrilling experience, you will definitely find that when you visit these caves!
So read on to find out a bit more about each of these caves!
1. Wind Cave
Wind Cave is a lot smaller than some of the other caves on this list, but it still deserves a spot on this list. It can be found on Pass Mountain and it was actually created via wind erosion!
The hike up to the cave is an extremely popular hike in the area and it stretches for about 3 miles and has 800 feet of climbing!
When you actually reach the cave itself you can enjoy the shade and enjoy the stunning views that surround the cave and the area.
Wind Cave is quite a shallow cave and you can enjoy your time sitting inside while you enjoy the view. This is a fantastic cave to visit if you want a fun outdoor experience.
2. Cave Of The Bells
This cave can be found about 80 meters below the surface, so if you are looking for a proper cave diving experience, this is the perfect place for you to visit.
Cave of the Bells cannot be accessed by just anyone though. If you want to visit for yourself, you will have to contact the Coronado National Forest Supervisor’s office and request the key, as well as a refundable $100 deposit.
As soon as you do have the keys and you’ve found the gate though, you can explore till your heart’s content!
If you have the experience and you are fond of exploring caves, you will be able to view the underground lake that the caves are famous for and it is truly a sight to behold.
The air in the Cave of the Bells actually gets warmer the deeper in you go and many experts think this is because of a heat source that could be below the lake.
3. Onyx Cave
Onyx Cave is known for being incredibly hard to access, but if you are willing to put in the work to get there, it is incredibly worth what lies within!
The cave is owned is privately owned by the company Escabrosa Grotto, Inc. and you have to mail in your request to get access at least 2 weeks in advance.
However, once you do get access, you will be given the key and you are free to explore the cave as much as you want to!
There are many rooms and passageways within Onyx Cave that are waiting to be explored, but it is important to know that these caves haven’t been explored by the public for many years, so you need to be careful and enter at your own risk!
Onyx Cave was originally gated off in 1974 to help protect it from vandalism and damage.
4. Wave Cave
The Wave Cave is a popular hiking destination that can be found on the southwest side of the Superstition Mountains. It gets its name from the way the interior of the cave looks like waves.
To get to Wave Cave, you will have to go on a 3 miles round trip and it is rated as being difficult, so you want to make sure you are quite an experienced hiker, or at the very least suitably physically fit for the journey.
You have to climb up over 860 feet and the final part of the climb is quite steep. But once you actually get to the cave, it is totally worth it!
Getting up is easier than getting down though, so just take it slow on the way back down.
5. Grand Canyon Caverns
These caves are located pretty close to the actual Grand Canyon and they are made out of limestone walls and the interior is very reminiscent of the Grand Canyon itself.
It was first discovered in 1927 and it has been protected since the 1960s.
This cave is quite a wonder to behold and it is believed that ancient humans actually used the caverns as shelter!
There is evidence of this idea all over the caverns too and there is even a skeleton of a type of extinct giant sloth within!
There are four different guided tours that you can pay for when you visit, and each one caters to different abilities.
This is one of the best-guided cave tour locations in the whole state, and regardless of your ability, you don’t have to miss out on a chance to explore the caverns.
What makes these caverns even better is the fact that they are located super close to the Grand Canyon itself, so you can make a day trip out of being in the local area by visiting both locations throughout the day!
6. Coronado Cave
Coronado Cave is another smaller cave on this list, but it is a lot more accessible than most of the other caves on this list, which makes it perfect if you are traveling and visiting with people of many different skill levels.
Located near the Mexico-Arizona border, you will need to get a permit to visit this cave, but the permit is completely free, so you don’t have to worry about spending any money to get in.
Once you get the permit, you can explore as much as you want.
There are a few different rooms and passageways for you to explore, but some do require you to crawl, so keep that in mind before you venture in too deep!
7. Peppersauce Caves
These limestone caves are located about 10 miles from Oracle, Arizona and they are definitely more suitable for more experienced cave explorers.
There are no official tours for the Peppersauce Caves, as well as no nearby parking and the terrain inside can be quite difficult to traverse.
The entrance alone is a bit of a challenge and will require you to shimmy through a narrow entrance. If you do plan on visiting these caves, you will need sturdy shoes and a headlamp because it can get incredibly dark inside.
If you are more adventurous and experienced though, you will have lots of fun seeing the wonders inside Peppersauce Caves!
8. Lava River Cave
Lava River Cave was formed by a flowing river of lava about 700,000 years ago, and it is now a mile-long cave that is actually quite easy to traverse, regardless of your own ability and skill level.
This cave is quite cold all year round, so if you do visit, make sure that you bring a jacket! It also gets incredibly dark as you go further into the cave, so a headlamp and alternate light sources are also advised!
When you get to the very end of the cave, turn off your light sources to experience what the cave is like in total darkness!
9. Colossal Cave Mountain Park
The Colossal Cave Mountain Park is home to an absolutely massive cave system, and when you visit for yourself, you will see that it definitely lives up to its name!
It is another cave system that was used by ancient people native to the land as shelter and then it was rediscovered in the late 1800s.
There are plenty of guided tours that are available here every day and lots of them are family-friendly!
This is a great cave location to visit if you want to do so with your family, and you won’t be excluded based on your experience or skill level.
10. Kartchner Caverns State Park
While these caverns were discovered in 1874 by two friends, the Kartchner Caverns were not known to the public until 1988. A state park was then established around the caves in order to preserve them.
There are guided tours here that you need to book in advance and most of them take at least 3 hours to complete, so be aware of that before you book one for yourself!
You will be able to experience the incredible geography of these caverns up close and personal when you visit and it’s totally worth the experience!
So there you have it! 10 of the best caves in Arizona you have to see! Each of these caves vary in their difficulty level, but there is something for everyone on this list to enjoy!
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