Chiricahua Crystal Cave

Area Status: Temporarily Closed

Chiricahua Crystal Cave is one of the most unique recreational attractions in the Douglas Ranger District. It is a moderately large cave (2.38 miles total passage) that is primarily horizontal, with a handful of drops less than 20 feet deep. Within the cave, twisting tunnels and narrow passages extend in all directions: vertically, horizontally, and diagonally. The geologic features of Crystal Cave are truly spectacular.

To preserve the beauty of this unique resource, which tragically has been damaged by vandals, the cave is protected by a locked gate. A key to the gate is available from the Douglas Ranger Station, and from US Forest Service-approved keyholders, with an approved permit, and $100.00 deposit. No access to the cave is permitted from April 15 to October 15, while a maternity colony of Townsend’s big-eared bats is using the cave to raise their young. Visitors must be properly equipped, and ready to take the necessary precautions to protect both themselves, and the fragile cave environment. For more information on how to plan appropriately, please read "How to Plan for a Visit to Chiricahua Crystal Cave" Initial Inquiry Handout.


At a Glance

Operational Hours: The cave is closed to public use from April 15th to October 15th for resource protection.
Reservations: Trip Leaders may apply for access at The grottos in Southern Arizona are partnering with Coronado National Forest to advise and assist with cave management. For caving-specific questions, and more information about local grottos in Tucson and Cochise County, please send an email to  
Rentals & Guides: Please read Crystal Cave Inquiry Handouts.
Fees: A $100.00 key deposit is payable by check at time of key pick-up. The check will be returned upon return of the key(s).
Permit Info: Please refer to for information on how to access the cave.
Usage: Medium
Best Season: all
Busiest Season: all
Closest Towns: Portal, AZ
Operated By: Douglas Ranger District
Information Center: Attractions:
  • Crystals and other unique formations.
  • Narrow and twisting passages.
  • Underground wilderness.