Grand Canyon Caverns in Arizona
While Grand Canyon Caverns lies about 60 miles south of the nearest rim of the Grand Canyon, its extensive network of underground tunnels are said to extend all the way into the canyon. The land above the caverns is a highly utilized camping stop for visitors hiking to Havasupai Falls in the western portion of the canyon, and the caverns themselves provide a constant underground climate where you can escape summer heat or winter cold for a short while.
They also are home to the world’s largest underground motel room and a unique theater for those desiring an out-of-the-ordinary adventure.
Big enough to contain two football fields, the caverns’ main room is found 21 stories below the earth’s surface. The extensive tunnels comprise the largest dry cavern system in the country — the third-largest known in the world. The dry nature of the caverns mean low humidity of only 6 percent, making the constant 56-degree temperature a welcome respite from summer heat and the icy winter winds.
The cave has gone by several names since its discovery in 1927, including Yampai Caverns, Dinosaur Caverns and Coconino Caverns. With each name change came improvements in accessing the underground wonders, which initially had visitors lowered by rope clutching their own lantern or other light source.
To see the main features of the cave, you can take the “Short Tour,” a 45-minute excursion that covers nearly a mile, primarily in the cave’s main room. Those with mobility issues are welcome to bring wheelchairs or motorized scooters to experience this tour, as you will descend into the earth via a high-speed elevator and stick to pathways that are ADA-Accessible.
If you’re physically fit with a high sense of adventure, you can call ahead to participate in the “Explorer’s Tour,” where you’ll climb and crawl through passageways only accessible on this tour. Tours leave every half-hour during the busy season.
The Cavern Suite
If you like to sleep in a dark room, you won’t want to miss staying overnight in the Cavern Suite, where you’ll be in total darkness once you turn out the lights. You won’t have to worry about what’s in the dark; no animal or insect life is present in the cave.
The suite lies in a 200-foot by 400-foot cavern with a 70-foot ceiling. Your group can relax on two double beds and a fold-out queen sofa, and enjoy modern conveniences such as lighting, furniture, record player and bathroom.
Check-in after the last tour departs for the day and you won’t hear a sound from the outside world until the first tours begin to come through around 10 a.m. Walkways for the tours wind around the outer edges of the room, so if you choose to stay longer, you won’t have privacy until after 4 p.m.
If you’re looking for a unique venue for your wedding, corporate function, concert or movie screening, you may wish to consider renting the Grand Canyon Cavern’s theater. The rock walls provide perfect acoustics and your guests can relax in historic theater seats purchased from the American Film Institute in Hollywood.
Food and beverage catering is available from the restaurant above-ground, and guests can stay overnight either in the Cavern Suite or in the motel and camping accommodations on the surface. Your guests can arrive via small plane at the private on-site landing field, or fly into Seligman airport and be transported to the caverns via charter bus.