Chiricahua National Monument is an “insider’s tip” located somewhat off the beaten path in southeastern Arizona (160 km east of Tucson). The Chiricahua National Monument protects an area with whimsical rock sculptures that is considered the last retreat of the Apache fighting for their freedom. The National Monument was founded in 1924 and covers an area of about 50 km². It is part of the approximately 40 Sky Island and rises above the barren surroundings. About 30 km of well laid out hiking trails are available to enter the “Wonderland of Rocks”.

The Chiricahua Mountains were once a refuge and base during the battles of the famous Apache leaders Geronimo and Cochise. They are an impressive and rugged rock maze of volcanic rhyolite rock set amidst a forested and rugged mountain landscape. There are many hiking trails that lead through this rocky landscape with its rock spires, towers and pinnacles. Especially impressive are huge boulders that weigh thousands of tons and seem to balance over much smaller boulders.

The Visitor Center is located about 2 miles (3.22 km) past the pay station on Bonita Canyon Drive. Here you can get a park map, which is quite sufficient for the well-marked trails, as well as other hiking and detailed maps. The rangers are happy to provide updated information on trail conditions. It is also advisable to ask about the weather conditions. There are no utilities in the park!

The park is open all year round. In winter it can get very cold and snowfall can make the trails and Bonita Canyon Road impassable (still happened to me in mid-April). Summers can get very hot in this region, but are still tolerable in the mountainous area of the monument. Spring and fall are usually ideal for hiking in the Wonderland of Rocks.

Camping in Chiricahua National Monument

There is a nicely landscaped small campground with 25 sites in the park. Sites can now be reserved through the official Chiricahua NM Park site. There is no lodge available. Accommodations are hard to find even in the immediate vicinity of the park. Willcox (approx. 40 mls.) offers like also Douglas (70 mls.) at least a few possibilities, Tombstone, approx. 100 miles (approx. 161 km) away, has however plentifully Quatiere.

Multi-day hikes and backcontry overnight stays are not possible in the park. However, the adjacent Chiricahua Wilderness and the Coronado National Forrest are suitable for this purpose.

Chiricahua National Monument
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Wanderungen in Hiking at the Chiricahua National Monument – Arizona, USA 

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Fernwanderwege in Hiking at the Chiricahua National Monument – Arizona, USA 

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