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  • Colossal Cave Mountain Park

    CCMP Logo Beautiful 2,400-acre desert park, on the National Register of Historic Places, showcasing crystal-filled Colossal Cave and historic La Posta Quemada Ranch. Cave tours, museum, Western trail rides, and wooded picnic areas. Spectacular Cowboy Cookouts under the stars.

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    For more information on Colossal Cave and to how to make special reservations, call (520) 647-PARK (7275) or visit their website.

    Colossal Cave Mountain Park

    6711 E. Colossal Cave Road, Vail, AZ 85641
    colossalcave.org

    Bonecrusher. Fang. Starting to sound like the names of professional wrestlers? They're not. These are the names of some of the largest stalactite formations in Colossal Cave in Vail, Arizona. The cave was formed during the Mississippian Period, over 320 million years ago, when water seeped through the rocks and dissolved away part of the limestone, leaving behind the third largest cave in the world. Colossal Cave is one of the 5% of the dry/dormant caves in the world, meaning that it is still alive, but no longer growing. This also means that it is one of the rare caves where pictures may be taken inside.

    You are first greeted with Old Baldy, a stalagmite, who stands guard near the cave tour and requires that you rub his head, in order to make it out alive. Covered with stalactites (limestone hanging from the ceiling) and stalagmites (limestone coming up from the ground), the cave creates an ethereal feeling deep below the ground. Knowledgeable and witty tour guides lead you through a maze of tunnels and stairs, equipped with handrails. Along the way, they explain the rooms, history and "Bandit Legend" of the cave and point out figures in the rock formations, like Scary Witch Emma and Mr. Magoo. Bats are transients in this cave as well, so if you're lucky you may get to see some hanging around the top. After about an hour in the cave, which stays an even 70 year round, you can grab something to eat at the open air café or browse the gift shop, with items ranging from jewelry to bookends. In addition to regular tours, reservations can be made to take special adventures, such as Ladder, Candlelight, and Wild Cave tours, where you can do a more in-depth and rough experience.

    CCMP

    The Cave isn't the only thing that this Park holds for visitors, though. A few minutes down the road, the 120-year-old La Posta Quemada Ranch, site of an old stagecoach station, hosts the Ranch Headquarters House, which is the home for the museum, research library, another beautiful gift shop, and open-air café serving Mexican food. Here, you can sit in the natural habitat butterfly garden and watch as butterflies whiz around your head or observe the tortoises as they wander about their stone enclosure. There is also a riding stable where trail rides are available and the Analemmatic Sundial where you can be the shadow that tells the time. Special reservations can be made for cattle drives, cowboy cookouts, and kids' birthday parties.

    If you like to camp, there are secluded campsites near the Posta Quemada Wash, While there, you can hike on the 2,577 acres that the Park covers and spot many animals, such as a ringtail, coatimundi, javelina, or striped skunk.

    Part of the National Register of Historic Places, Colossal Cave Mountain Park offers a variety of activities for all areas of interest, whether you want to have a day-outing or rough it on a camping trip. No reservation is required for a guided cave tour, and the maximum wait time is 30 minutes. There is no food, drink or gum allowed in the cave, but bottled water is permitted. Reservations are suggested for trail rides.

    Admission prices: There is no park entrance/usage fee.
    Cave admission: $16.00 for adults age 13 and up, $8.00 for children age 5-12, age 4 and under free.  $14.00 for military adult (with ID) and $6.00 for military child (with ID). Museums, gardens, picnicking, camping, hiking, bird-watching: free.
    Trail rides: Trail Ride fees are $38.00 for 30 minutes, $47.00 for 60 minutes, $71.00 for 1.5 hours, and $87.00 for 2 hours (times are approximate). Sunset Rides and Dinner Rides are also available.
    Petting Zoo: $5.00 for an all-day pass.
    Hours of Operation: Open 365 days a year. March 16–September 15: 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m., September 16–March 15: 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.

    Phone: (520) 647-PARK (7275)

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    Attractions and Tourism

    Diane Frisch, Director

    (520) 724-7355


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