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Colossal Cave Mountain Park


Possibly the world's largest dry cavern, it has not yet been explored to the end. Formed of dry limestone, it is rumored that many outlaws stashed their gold here. The tale is often told of Phil Carver, a bank robber who supposedly stored $60,000 in gold in the cave back in 1879. After serving a long term in Yuma prison, it is said he returned to the cave and disappeared.

It's always perfect weather for touring Colossal Cave, just twenty two miles southeast of Tucson, Arizona. One of the largest dry caves in North America, it maintains a pleasant seventy degrees Fahrenheit temperature year-around. Located in the Rincon Mountains at an elevation of three thousand seven hundred feet, the entrance commands a panoramic view of the Sonoran Desert. The cave is not fully explored, but scientists estimate that there are at least thirty nine miles of natural tunnels inside the cavern. Due to the enormously complex three-dimensional maze, it took over two years to map the two miles of passageway that are fully explored.

Groundwater seeping through the Escabrosa limestone formed the cave. Over millions of years, stalactites, stalagmites, columns and draperies formed slowly from water dripping from the ceiling. As the climate became more arid, the cave gradually dried up. Today, Colossal Cave is "dry," or dormant, and the formations are no longer growing.

Colossal Cave Mountain Park is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and it certainly has a history. The cave was officially "discovered" in 1879, but artifacts and soot-blackened ceilings testify to use by prehistoric cultures. Recent studies show it once served as a Hohokam shrine.

Deep inside the cave, tour guides explain how the cave formed, point out the beautiful formations, and tell the "Bandit Legend," the favorite part of the tour for many guests. According to the legend, the cavern served as a bandit hideout twice in 1887, after two exciting train robberies. In one holdup, the robbers disconnected the train's engine, mail and express cars and took off for Tucson, leaving the rest of the train and passengers stranded in the desert. In the second robbery, the bandits turned the locomotive over on its side with the engineer still in it. Up to sixty thousand dollars was hidden away in the cave then later retrieved by one of the robbers. Wells Fargo never did reveal exactly how much money was actually stolen.

You may arrive at Colossal Cave by way of Old Spanish Trail, 12 miles south of the Saguaro National monument. There is freeway access as well, but it's not nearly as nice a drive.

More information contact: 520-647-7275 or www.colossalcave.com





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The Pepper Group™
Diversified Real Estate
5845 N Calle Tiburon
Tucson, AZ 85704
1-520-977-0003
Tucson Real Estate