Kartchner Caverns State Park 12 miles south.
Location / Description
The City of Benson is located at the intersection of Interstate 10 and Arizona SR 90 about 50 miles east of Tucson. It is also located on the beautiful San Pedro River, adjacent to the Union Pacific Railroads main line.
In the early 1900s, the community grew along with the demand for copper and silver. These metals were mined in the San Pedro Valleyand shipped to Benson for smelting and distribution via the railroad.Today, Benson provides important services to travelers along Interstate 10 and functions as a gateway for tourists visiting southeasternArizona. Kartchner Caverns State Park 12 miles south.
A moderate climate, approximately 11 degrees cooler than Tucson in the summer, has resulted in Benson's growing popularity as a retirement community and as a destination for tourists and winter visitors.
Population / Elevation
- 3,824 people
- 3,585 feet above sea level
Weather / Climate
The weather in Benson is comfortable most of the year. On an annual basis, the average daily temperature ranges from a maximum of 79.8 F to a minimum of 45.0 F. Benson receives approximately 11.4 inches of precipitation each year with snowfall being a very infrequent occurrence.
|Benson, Arizona - Monthly Climate Normals|
The city of Benson was incorporated in 1924, approximately 40 years after the completion of the Southern Pacific Railroad throughsoutheastern Arizona. Benson was named for Judge William B. Benson of California, a friend of the president of the railroad.
Spanish missionaries arrived in the San Pedro valley near current-day Benson in 1539. The town itself was founded in 1880, a boom year for all of Cochise County. As silver, copper and gold flowed from the mines at Tombstone and bisbee, Benson was in the perfect position to transport the ore.
In the late 1850s, a stage station was built just north of present-day Benson to serve the Butterfield Trail Stage Line. By the end of the century, the Southern Pacific came to town, followed by an El Paso & Southwestern railroad line that ran from Benson to Tucson. The Sonoran Railroad from Guaymas, Mexico terminated in Benson. Almost all southwestern railroads led to Benson.
All this traffic naturally increased Benson's trade. Businesses sprung up to serve travelers and settlers. Although the Great Depression hurt Benson businesses, the town survived to become a the "Gateway to the Land of Cochise." Surrounded by natural and historical wonders such as the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area, Cochise Stronghold, Kartchner Caverns State Park 12 miles south and Texas Canyon, Benson offers train trips and stage coach rides once more.
The areas surrounding Benson offer numerous opportunities for outdoor recreation. The Coronado National Forest and the San PedroRiparian National Conservation Area provide areas for hiking, camping, and picnicking. Kartchner Caverns State Park, which opened November12, 1999, will allows the public access to a spectacular, world -class cave that was only recently discovered.
Overland Stagecoach Days celebration is held annually, each October.
There are hotels and motels in Benson with something for every taste and price range. For more information and a complete list. Click Here. (Hotel Rates, availability, customer reviews and reservation online)
Camping & RV Parks
There are 21 RV parks in and around Benson with 1647 spaces as well as 2 campgrounds within the city and numerous camping opportunities in the surrounding area. For more information, contact:
- Benson San Pedro Valley Chamber of Commerce
- Arizona State Parks: 602-542-4174.
- Arizona National Forests: 800-280-CAMP
Resources & Nearby Attractions
- Related Books & Gifts - Trading Post
- Touring Apache Country
- Sojourn at Apache Pass
- Cochise & Geronimo
- Arizona's Camp Grant Massacre
Cities & Towns
- Tucson, Arizona: 48 miles northwest.
- Willcox, Arizona: 37 miles east.
- Tombstone, Arizona: 25 miles south.
- Bowie, Arizona: 62 miles east.
- bisbee, Arizona: 84 miles south.
Parks & Monuments
- Kartchner Caverns State Park: 12 miles south.
- Fort Bowie National Historic Site: 45 miles east.
- Saguaro National Park (East): 38 miles northwest.
- Coronado National Memorial: 57 miles southwest.
- Chiricahua National Monument: 75 miles east.
- Tombstone Courthouse State Historic Park: 25 miles south.
Recreation & Wilderness Areas
- Sabino Canyon Recreation Area: 45 miles northwest.
- Rucker Canyon Recreation Area: 50 miles south.
- Miller Peak Wilderness: 60 miles west.
- San Pedro National Riparian Conservation Area: 15 miles south.
- Cochise Stronghold Recreation Area: 42 miles east.
Historic & Points of Interest
- San Pedro Southwestern Railroad (Benson)
- Gammons Gulch 24 miles northeast
Related DesertUSA Pages
- How to Turn Your Smartphone into a Survival Tool
- 26 Tips for Surviving in the Desert
- Death by GPS
- 7 Smartphone Apps to Improve Your Camping Experience
- Maps Parks and More
- Desert Survival Skills
- How to Keep Ice Cold in the Desert
- Desert Rocks, Minerals & Geology Index
- Preparing an Emergency Survival Kit
- Get the Best Hotel and Motel Rates
Share this page on Facebook:
DesertUSA Newsletter -- We send articles on hiking, camping and places to explore, as well as animals, wildflower reports, plant information and much more. Sign up below or read more about the DesertUSA newsletter here. (It's Free.)