Recently here at the Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa blog we profiled Kartchner Caverns State Park in the Whetstone Mountains. Well, today we’re putting the spotlight on a different subterranean marvel that’s equally easy to reach from our Tucson-area luxury resort: Colossal Cave Mountain Park!
Edging the Rincon Mountains, the 2,400-acre park encompasses Colossal Cave itself—a balmy and steady 70 degrees Fahrenheit all year-round—as well as the Sonoran Desert beauty of the former La Posta Quemada Ranch. You’ve got both above- and belowground adventures awaiting you here—and some pretty alluring history, too.
Guided Spelunking in Colossal Cave
A variety of guided tours introduce visitors to the karst tunnels and chambers of Colossal Cave, bristling with otherworldly stalagmites, stalactites, boxwork, flowstone, helictites, and other cave formations (or speleothems). The regular tour traces a half-mile course and takes the better part of an hour; you can also venture into less developed and less trammeled depths of the cave on both daytime and nighttime Ladder Tours as well as the Wild Cave Tour.
Colossal Cave is certainly a geological treasure; it’s also a biological one, home to unique invertebrates as well as a number of different bat species—including the cave myotis, pallid bat, and long-tongued bat—which roost here at various times of year, whether to breed or simply shelter. It’s also shrouded in legend: The caverns allegedly served as a hideout more than once in the late 1800s for train robbers and other bandits. The Civilian Conservation Corps, meanwhile, helped develop the cave and the surrounding park in the 1930s.
Aboveground Attractions at Colossal Cave Mountain Park: Hiking Trails, Archaeological Sites, Pony Rides, Desert Tortoises, & More
There’s much to do back on the sunny surface of things at Colossal Cave Mountain Park, from guided trail rides to a kid-friendly petting zoo. Oh, and pay your respects to a pair of native desert tortoises, Cienega and Shelly.
You can also explore the saguaro stands and mesquite woodlands of the backcountry on your own via hiking and biking trails. Among the most intriguing routes is the Path of the Ancestors, which shows off bedrock mortars used by the Hohokam: one of a number of indigenous cultures who utilized this desertscape. In addition, a three-mile reach of the Arizona National Scenic Trail—a long-distance footpath linking the Mexico and Utah borders—runs through Colossal Cave Mountain Park.
Take a Jaunt to Colossal Cave Mountain Park
You’re within an hour’s drive of Colossal Cave here at the Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa—and like Kartchner Caverns, Saguaro National Park, and other easy-to-reach natural preserves—a daytrip here gives you a memorable taste of the majesty of our Sonoran Desert and sky-island backyard.