Wheelchair Jimmy Comments
The spectacular Kartchner Caverns are located near Benson AZ and about 3 hours south of Phoenix (53 minutes from Bisbee, 35 minutes from Tombstone), and there are 2 wheelchair accessible cavern tours: the Rotunda / Throne tour and the Big Room Tour. Each tour is about 90 minutes and we took the Rotunda / Throne tour. What a memory!
When you drive up and park near the Visitor Center, there are many wheelchair van accessible parking spaces. Check-in at the ticket desk and let them know you’re in a wheelchair, and they will direct you to an accessible tram which takes you to the tours. The trams to the caverns depart from the Visitor Center, are very well-designed and fully accessible for any size wheelchair. There’s a separate car and manual ramp which they extend, and they’ll secure the chair for transport.
The Visitor Center includes a small museum, a limited food area and a couple large fully accessible restrooms.
When you take the tours you’ll experience somewhat steep grades getting up to 12 degrees, and some of the walkways are as narrow as 32 inches. So be aware of the width of your wheelchair. Cavern temperature is approximately 71 degrees year round and humidity is near 100%. The caverns get very warm inside.
NOTE: On our trip from Phoenix, we drove through Benson. There’s not much there but there are a couple chain hotels along the highway. Just past Benson is Tombstone, and there really are not good hotels there either. We stayed at the Copper Queen in Bisbee (and Bisbee has some very steep hills). Sierra Vista is nearby, is level and has a couple better choices for hotels.
I highly recommend Kartchner Caverns. They are absolutely spectacular and were designed for wheelchair accessibility.