Amid picturesque river-valley views, agreeable weather and the Home of Kartchner Caverns State Park, the City of Benson is ideally situated along Interstate-10 as the Gateway to Cochise County.
Founded in 1880 prior to Arizona’s mining boom, Benson developed as a stopping point for the Butterfield Overland Stage mail delivery route. Soon thereafter, the Southern Pacific Railroad came into Benson and continued to serve the area until 1997, when the line was purchased by Union Pacific Railroad.
The City of Benson’s culture is ingrained with the Old West and our traditional Railroad heritage. The Benson Visitor Center – Train Depot, located at 249 East Fourth Street in the heart of Benson’s historic downtown, is a beautiful replica railroad depot using many of the same architectural features as the original depot that was built over a century ago.
The City of Benson is particularly proud of their designation as the Home of Kartchner Caverns State Park. Located on 550 acres at the foothills of the Whetstone Mountains just south of Benson on State Highway 90, Kartchner Caverns State Park offers picnicking, camping, hiking, walking and the magnificent still-living caverns.
The Amerind Foundation
The Amerind foundation is a private, non-profit archeological museum and research center that preserves artifacts of the early Indian inhabitants of the region. It is located in Texas Canyon which is just 12 miles east of Benson.
Gammons Gulch Ghost Town Movie Set
Gammon’s Gulch Movie Studio is an 1890's Town and Mining Camp recreated like the Wild West really was, antique cars, movie memorabilia, nature path, and bird area. Everything in Gammon's Gulch is authentic, from the working telegraph to the shingle nails, even the outhouses were originally used by old west cowboys.
Cochise's Stronghold is the rocky fortress where the great chief and his followers held out against the U.S. Cavalry and the drive provides some fine scenery in addition to the historical experience.
Kartchner Caverns State Park
Located on Hwy 90 in the Whetstone Mountains these unique caverns are the most pristine in the United States. These caverns are living, growing, wet caves, and the moisture levels are closely monitored to make sure that they are not destroyed. You do need to call ahead for reservations as a limited number of people are allowed in to the caves daily. There are camping facilities, hiking trails, bird sanctuary, Visitor’s center, interpretive displays and a gift shop.
Southern Arizona and the San Pedro Valley offer some of the best bird watching areas in the world. Not only are there many species of birds and waterfowl, but there are many varieties of mammals, reptiles and plant life. The San Pedro River flows north out of Mexico and attracts a large number of diverse wildlife to its wetlands. It is one of the last undeveloped riparian areas left in the United States and most of it still looks like it did 100 years ago!
Benson is centrally-located in Cochise County, and makes a good home base to explore the wonders of the area. Benson also has its own Birding Trail right on the San Pedro River as well as a Waterfowl Viewing Pond. To find the Birding trail, take 4th Street to San Pedro, turn north and follow the Watchable Wildlife signs. To find the Waterfowl Viewing Pond, take Ocotillo Road north past Interstate 10 to Darby Road, and turn right while following the Watchable Wildlife signs.
Events & Festivals
Butterfield Overland Stage Days - October
Butterfield Rodeo - October
SAHR Biker Rodeo - October
Holy Trinity Monastery Fall Festival of the Arts - November
Thanksgiving Fiesta of Books - November
29th Annual Cascabel Christmas Fair - December
Christmas on Main Street - December
Cowboy/Cowgirl Round-up - January
Bluegrass in the Park - April