Kartchner Caverns State Park is a massive 1536-acre park located both above and below the Arizona wilderness. The main attractions of this beautiful and unique site are the Kartchner Caverns, a 2.4 mile stretch of underground caves that have been developing for hundreds of thousands of years. These caves were initially discovered by two hikers, Gary Tenen and Randy Tufts, as they were exploring a plot of farmland owned by James and Lois Kartchner. Originally referred to as just "Secret Cave," it took five years of negotiations before the site was officially accepted into Arizona's list of preserved state parks.
The caves themselves have regular tours that are offered throughout the year, although dog owners should note that only service dogs are allowed in the caves themselves. There are many small fissures and holes that people and animals can get stuck in, so if you do meet the requirements for a service animal, park officials urge you to keep these animals close by during the tour. Since tours sell out quickly, park officials suggest always buying tickets in advance on the park’s website.
There are three distinct campground sites located above the caves, all of which are very dog-friendly. These campsites have water services at every site, as well as shower facilities and lavatories. There are also cabins available for rental, and animals are permitted for an additional fee.
The eight hiking trails provided by Kartchner Caverns State Park are also quite friendly to dogs, provided you keep them on leash. There's plenty of wildlife to be found on these trails, so it's always best to keep your canine within sight. These trails run the gamut from challenging, uphill battles to simple, elevated desert walks. During weekends throughout the year, nature tours are also offered for a nominal fee (sorry dog owners, no canines allowed on these paid tours).