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INTERESTED IN HIKING IN CHIRICAHUA NATIONAL MONUMENT?
Are you looking for exceptional hiking trails near Chiricahua National Monument? Here you can find information on its history, park hours, camping options, trail options, and so much more!
Chiricahua National Monument Hiking Guide: An Overview
This blog post covers everything from information on the park, attractions within the park, how to best prepare for your trip and some of the spectacular hiking trails! Before we get into all of that, here is an overview of the hiking trails we’ll cover in this post.
Hiking at Chiricahua National Monument
Let’s get to the good stuff! Here are nine different hiking trails, ranging from beginner to experienced, for you to choose from on your next adventure at Chiricahua National Monument!
Easy Hiking Trails – Chiricahua National Monument
Moderate Hiking Trails – Chiricahua National Monument
Strenuous Hiking Trails – Chiricahua National Monument
Attractions Within Chiricahua National Monument
Now that we’ve covered some of the best hiking trails at Chiricahua National Monument, let’s look at some of the other fantastic attractions located within the park. If you’re short on time during your visit and can’t hike through the monument, consider visiting one of these attractions instead!
About Chiricahua National Monument
Now that we’ve covered the cool hiking trails and attractions in Chiricahua National Monument, let’s look at background information on this wonderful area!
Chiricahua National Monument is located in Southeastern Arizona, four miles east of the 181 and 186 junctions. It is about 30 miles east of Wilcox and 120 miles southeast of Tucson.
In the years between the 1400s and 1500s, the Chiricahua Apache called this territory their homeland. They were known as nomadic people who lived in huts and traveled to preferable climates throughout the year.
After the Mexican-American war, the Southwest became a part of the United States in 1848. Shortly after, early pioneers such as Louis Prue and Mary and Tom Bridger called Chiricahua home.
Learn more about other settlers who called Chiricahua National Monument home here.
27 million years ago, a nearby volcanic eruption spat ash into the atmosphere that eventually landed and created hardened volcanic rock. As time went on, the volcanic rock eroded into rock spires (tall pinnacles) made out of Rhyolite.
In the park, you can find these rock spires, caves, mountains, rivers, and lava flows. The Chiricahua Apache called this area “The Land of Standing Up Rocks.” The Chiricahua Mountains are 20 miles wide and 40 miles long on an inactive volcanic range.
The biome in the Chiricahua mountain region has varying ecosystems that inhabit many different kinds of animals. You can find both a grassland desert and pine forest landscape in the mountain range.
Some of the most common amphibians seen are the canyon treefrog, tiger salamander, great plains toad, and the southern spadefoot toad. Commonly seen mammals are javelinas, white-tailed deer, skunks, coatimundi, cottontail rabbits, the gray fox, and the big brown bat. Snakes, lizards, and turtles are commonly spotted reptiles.
All animals and wildlife are protected in this area. There are thousands of insects and bird species also found in the monument. Learn more here.
Visiting the Park
Next, now that we’ve covered the park’s history, let’s dive deeper into hours, fees, campsites, and the breathtaking scenic drive.
Hours + Fees
Chiricahua National Monument is open 24 hours, every day of the year, including holidays! It is completely free to enter, and no fees are required unless you are camping. There is one visitor center that is open seven days a week from 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM.
The visitor center is closed only on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. There is a free shuttle available from the visitors’ center to access different parts of the park. You can call the information line here: (520) 824-3560.
There is one campground on site: Bonita Canyon. It has 25 campsites that include restrooms, potable water, trash pickup, food storage lockers, an amphitheater, and picnic tables. There is one group site available. Unfortunately, there are no hook-ups or showers.
Campsites cost $20 per night, and you can make your reservation at recreation.gov. The maximum vehicle length is 29 feet. Dogs are allowed on campgrounds, however, they are prohibited from many trails.
Take the eight-mile scenic drive up to Massai Point where you’ll get 360 views of the monument. Make sure to fill up with gas before you go – the closest gas stations are almost 40 miles away! Any vehicle over 24 feet is prohibited from making the drive, however, vehicles up to 29 feet are still allowed to camp.
Need to rent a car for your trip? Click this link to see different car rental options from Kayak, here!
Lastly, let’s discuss how to best prepare. There are a few things to know before your hiking trip at Chiricahua National Monument! Here are some safety tips:
- Make sure you have enough gas! The closest gas station is almost 40 miles away in Sunizona or Wilcox.
- Pack layers. There is a huge selection gain from the bottom of the mountain to the top, and you can potentially experience four seasons at the monument. Make sure that you bring warm clothing for higher elevations.
- Bring the right shoes. Most of these hikes are steep and rocky. Since you’ll be hiking in the desert, make sure that you bring shoes that have adequate ankle support and tread. It can also become slippery during the wintertime if there is snow.
- Inform others of your travel plans. There is no (or limited) cell reception at the monument, so make sure to let others know which trail you’ll be on and how long you plan on staying in the area.
- Bring plenty of food and water, but do it smartly! Make sure you are getting enough to eat and drink while you are there but make sure to leave no trace. Never feed the animals, and use food lockers while camping.
Where To Stay Near Chiricahua National Monument
Now that we’ve covered a ton of information about the park, it’s time to talk about potential accommodation options for your upcoming trip. If camping isn’t your thing, don’t worry, there are other great options available to you!
Accommodations will be a little bit outside of the park in towns such as Elfrida, Tombstone, and Bisbee. Elfrida is a good option for those looking for the shortest drive solely to experience Chiricahua, while Tombstone and Bisbee are a bit farther but are destination towns in themselves.
Here are three different options located not far from Chiricahua!
Wondering if you should stay in Tombstone? Check out my blog post on 17 things to do in Tombstone, Arizona, and why it’s worth visiting!
Hiking in Chiricahua: FAQ’s
Fantastic! Now that you know information on the park, how to prepare for your trip, and some of the cool places to visit, let’s go over some frequently asked questions!
What is the best time of year to visit the Chiricahua National Monument?
Generally, the best time to visit Chiricahua National Monument for hiking is during the Spring or Fall. The high elevation of the park means that you can expect to experience all four seasons. If you decide to go in the Summer or Winter, make sure you prepare for the temperatures!
Is Chiricahua National Monument worth visiting?
The short answer: Yes, Chiricahua National Monument is worth visiting! The hoodoos and diverse landscape make this park a southern Arizona must-see. The pinnacles and balanced rocks are one of the reasons this spot is a hidden treasure.
How much time is needed at Chiricahua National Monument?
Chiricahua National Monument is a fairly small park that spans only about 17 miles, although there is plenty to do while you’re there. If you’re short on time, you can certainly fit a lot in during a day trip, but if you want to extend your trip for a few days, there’s more than enough to explore in that timeframe.
Do you have to pay to get into Chiricahua National Monument?
One of the many benefits of visiting Chiricahua National Monument is that an entrance pass is not required to access the park. There may be other associated fees, though depending on if you decide to camp or visit a different site in the park.
Wrapping Up: Hiking in Chiricahua National Monument
Now that you know a little about Chiricahua National Monument, I hope you take the chance to check out some of the trails for yourself! Make sure to look out for coatimundis while you’re there!