November 14, 2020
Foothills Loop Hiking Series at Kartchner Caverns State Park
Phone: (520) 586-4100
Admission: See website for admission options.
Join a ranger for a guided hike along the Foothills Loop Trail. The trail climbs across rocky terrain of the limestone hill north of the cave and descends into the wash that follows the fault between the Whetstone Block and the San Pedro Block.
The Foothills loop trail is approximately 2.5 miles, rated moderate-to-difficult. The trail climbs across rocky terrain of the limestone hill north of the cave and descends into the wash that follows the fault between the Whetstone Block and the San Pedro Block. A short spur trail at the upper portion of the Foothills Loop Trail leads visitors to the scenic Mountain Viewpoint. The viewpoint adds .3 miles up and .3 back down with a steep elevation gain.
Informational signs along the Foothills Loop Trail will discuss such trail highlights as the foothills, scenic view, riparian area, bedrock mortar and the Native Americans that inhabited the area. Some of the vegetation seen on the Foothills Loop Trail hike include: ocotillo, creosote bush, mesquite, desert broom, acacia, wait-a-minute bush, scrub oak, barrel cactus, prickly pear, buckhorn cholla, and hackberry.
About Kartchner Caverns State Park
In November 1974, Gary Tenen and Randy Tufts were exploring the limestone hills at the eastern base of the Whetstone Mountains. They were looking for a cave no one had ever found and found it. The two kept the cave a secret until February 1978 when they told the property owners, James and Lois Kartchner, about their awesome discovery. Since unprotected caves can be seriously damaged by unregulated use, they knew the cave had to be protected.
Tenen and Tufts spent several years looking into the possibility of developing the cave themselves. Some members of the Kartchner family lived in Tucson and were very impressed with the development and operation of Catalina State Park by Arizona State Parks. They decided to approach State Parks to see if the agency was interested in acquiring this outstanding resource.