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Vail, Arizona: Colossal Cave

Shelter for Indians, possible site of lost train robber gold, and a name that perhaps raises size expectations too high. Tour highlights include formations named Old Baldy and Fang.

16721 E. Old Spanish Trail, Vail, AZ
I-10 exit 279, then follow the signs north for about seven miles. Don't turn on Colossal Cave Rd.
Mar 15-Sep 15 M-Sa 8-6, Su 8-7, Sep-Mar 15 M-Sa 9-5, Su 9-6. (Call to verify) Local health policies may affect hours and access.
Adults $13.
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
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Visitor Tips and News About Colossal Cave

Reports and tips from visitors and Roadside America mobile tipsters. Some tips may not be verified. Submit your own tip.

Colossal Cave

It's a great site to visit, but beware -- the last bit of road is so pockmarked with potholes that you can't avoid that you might need an alignment when you get done.

[Sally Forth, 08/14/2019]
Colossal Cave

I felt the cave and the tour were fascinating and very affordable. The inside temperature is a comfortable 70 degrees year 'round and the walk and climbs are easy. The caves are off the beaten path but worth the trip and the tour. Also on site is a cute cafe that serves beer and wine.

[Marlene, 03/16/2018]
Colossal Cave

When visiting Colossal Cave, be prepared to explore a dark, cramped, smelly beast of a cave. Long neglected and often abused, Colossal Cave is to ghetto as Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico is to royal palace. Many of the formations in Colossal Cave have been damaged over the years -- tourists and vandals alike have left their scarring marks. As dead as this cave is it is a wonder it is still such a popular tourist attraction. That's my two bits.

[Sam Scholes, 09/01/2007]

Colossal Cave's rather smallish entrance gate.

Colossal Cave

This was an interesting warm cavern. Apparently it is a "dead" cave with no water, so it's the same temperature as outside, which was about 80 degrees when we were there. The tour guide we had was excellent, explaining that Colossal Cave had stalagmites, stalactites and stalaglights (which were the lighting fixtures). The usual train robbers etc. hid here and Indians were around before that.

But the most interesting part was the nearby ranch (part of the paid admission) which had a mini museum with some outside displays with hillbilly references. Probably not politically correct, but they were the best part.

[Cathy, 05/04/2007]
Colossal Cave

The legend of Colossal Cave is that 6 men robbed the Tucson Bank and escaped to the cave with the money...they hid the money and had a shoot out with the sheriff and his posse, and the money was never found by the sheriff, or anyone else, even today. You can take a tour of the cave and listen to the guides explain the legend, and talk about the other people who have gone into the cave to look for the money, but have never been successful. It's really interesting and beautiful, and weird...

[Rheanne, 07/24/1997]

Nearby Offbeat Places

Roadside Glowing CocoonRoadside Glowing Cocoon, Tucson, AZ - 10 mi.
Invisible HorsesInvisible Horses, Tucson, AZ - 13 mi.
Pima Air & Space MuseumPima Air & Space Museum, Tucson, AZ - 15 mi.
In the region:
14-Foot-Tall Cement Bird Totem, Tucson, AZ - 15 mi.

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