Located about 50 miles away is Chiricahua National Monument which is a place of wonder and beauty.
The park is known as having some of the best marked trails in the United States and there is a trail for all young and old. At the peak in one area you will even find a nice ¼ mile trail that is paved and is wheelchair accessible which is nice.
Parker Canyon Lake. This place is not easy to find, but well worth the winding, hilly drive. Many of the roads leading up here are dirt. Is is a great place to go relax and fishing or hiking
This lake is located in hill country. There are several recreational activities for those willing to drive the dirt roads that lead to it. I recommend not washing your car before going, because it will be filthy by the time you get there, as the roads can be very dusty.
If you want to go fishing, Parker Canyon Lake offers both warm and cold water species, including stocked Rainbow Trout and resident Bass, Sunfish and Catfish. There is a fishing pier and a paved boat ramp at the lake, as well as a lakeside paved area and a graveled path along the shoreline. There is also a small convenience store at the lakeshore where you can get some basic items such as meat, milk, eggs, bread, and of course, beer. You can also buy a fishing license or rent a boat.
The trails around the lake have plenty to see for nature lovers. There are many species of birds to check out. Whitetail deer can frequently be seen among the oaks and grasses that surround the lake and in the two campgrounds near its shore.
Coatimundi, javalina and roadrunners, can be seen as well. Roadrunners are birds that actually can fly, but they are often faster on foot than in the air. They are really cool to watch. Careful of the wild pigs or javalina, as well as Coatimundi, as they can be dangerous. Also watch out for rattlesnakes out sunbathing. The rattlesnake gets a bad rap, as they don't want anything to do with humans, and will do everything they can to avoid us. The majority of bites occur when people tamper with these creatures or accidently step on them. Be Safe!
Location 25 miles southeast of Sonoita in the scenic Canelo Hills.
Access: From Tucson, travel east on Interstate 10 to State Route 83 (exit 281) and turn south 50 miles through Sonoita to Parker Canyon Lake.
It's open all year
boating and fishing (8 hp limit)
Fishing Pier, paved boat ramp and courtesy dock
Handicap access to most facilities
Parking for vehicles, motor homes and boat trailers
Boats are limited to no more than one 8 hp motor.
Small concession-operated store is open on weekends during winter months and week long throughout the summer.
The San Pedro River. East of Sierra Vista, this river is a great place to go hiking and get outdoors.
I've done some hiking around the San Pedro River. It's a beautiful area if you appreciate desert environments. The river gets rather small in the summer months, and you should always watch out for rattlesnakes. If you are traveling west/east between Sierra Vista and Tombstone or Bisbee, you will cross the San Pedro.
This is one place I never was able to get to, but should have. I know several friends who went and recommended I should go. I'm just posting this so that you are aware that it's here if you are a cave fan and are in the area.
P.O. Box 1849
Benson, Arizona 85602
Information (520) 586-4100
Reservations (520) 586-CAVE
The park is located nine miles south
of I-10, off State Hwy 90, exit 302.
The park is open 7 days a week.
7:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Cave tours: 8:40 a.m. to 4:40 p.m.
Closed Christmas Day.
Entrance per car $10.00
(4 people per car/$1.00 each additional) -
Price includes entrance into Discovery Center, park grounds, hiking areas, picnic areas, and amphitheater
$20 per night camping fee (includes hook-ups)
Under 6 years of age - free (ticket required)
7-13 years of age- $6.00*
14 years and older - $14.00*
*includes reservation charge of $2.
Kartchner Caverns is home to:
the longest soda straw formation in the U.S. (second longest in the world) 21 feet 2 inches
the tallest and most massive column in Arizona, Kubla Khan: 58 feet tall (Throne Room)
the world's most extensive formation of brushite moonmilk (Big Room)
the first reported occurrence of 'turnip' shields (Big Room)
the first cave occurrence of 'birdsnest' needle quartz formations
many other unusual formations such as shields, totems, helictites and rimstone dams.