NEAR BENSON, AZ (ARIZONA HIGHWAYS TV) - Arizona has some pretty spectacular landmarks that sit above the earth's surface. Monument Valley is one that come to mind. But what about the amazing sights that sit below the surface?
Colossal Cave near Benson is one of the oldest and most popular attractions in Arizona. It's got more than three miles of passageways.
It stays 72 degrees in the cave. And this cave is different than nearby Kartchner Caverns. It's a dry cave, which is very usual. Only about 5% of all the caves in the world are dry.
However, water did flow through this cave at one time and visitors can still see the remnants today. The water helped create stalactites and stalagmites.
The stalactites are the formations that hang tight to the ceiling, and the stalagmites are the ones that grow up from the ground. In many areas, the stalactites and stalagmites have grown together forming columns and pillars.
Native Americans were not the only ones to dig deep into this cave. Through the years, outlaws found this cave quite handy. They used the cave to stash loot and to hide from the law.
During the early 1920s, a German conservationist named Frank Schmidt made it his mission to protect this cave. A decade later, walkways and handrails were built. Lighting was also added to make it tourist friendly.
If you take a tour of the cave, you'll also see what's called a silent waterfall. It's one of the more beautiful formations found in the cave.
A walk-through cave might even bring you face to face with its primary residents.
During the summer months, just about every tour of the day, bats are seen flying through the cave.
This cave is on the National Register of Historical Places.