Description - Twenty seven million years ago a volcanic eruption of immense proportions shook the land around Chiricahua National Monument. One thousand times greater than the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens, the Turkey Creek Caldera eruption eventually laid down two thousand feet of highly silicious ash and pumice. This mixture fused into a rock called rhyolitic tuff and eventually eroded into the spires and unusual rock formations of today.<
Copyright: - US National Park Service
- P>The monument is a mecca for hikers and birders. At the intersection of the Chihuahuan and Sonoran deserts, and the southern Rocky Mountains and northern Sierra Madre in Mexico, Chiricahua plants and animals represent one of the premier areas for biological diversity in the northern hemisphere.
Recreation - Visitor Center with audiovisual program, exhibits, computer information station, book sales. Chiricahua features 17 miles of maintained trail in a monument that is 90% wilderness. Trails vary in degree of difficultly. The Echo Canyon Trail and the Heart of Rocks Trail offer spectacular views of balanced rocks, spires and pinnacles. A picturesque pioneer homestead, the Faraway Ranch, offers daily tours of the house and a chance to learn about the Swedish immigrant family that was one of the first to settle in the area. One can view animals and birds not seen outside the desert southwest. Mammal species include: Javelina, coatimundi, hog-nosed and hooded skunks, white-tailed deer, bears, and mountain lions. Birds seen include: Magnificent hummingbirds, Black-chinned hummingbirds, Scott's orioles, Hepatic tanagers, Painted redstarts, Yellow-rumped warblers, Red-faced warblers, and Black-headed grosbeaks.
There is a 25 site campground (Bonita Canyon). It features rest rooms with flush toilets, running water, picnic tables and trash pickup. There are no hookups or showers. Camping is limited to 14 days. Camping is restricted to the campground. No back country camping is available in the monument. Camping is available on a first-come, first-serve basis only. There are no food services, gasoline, or lodging in the monument. Supplies can be obtained, along with these services, at nearby stores and towns.
Climate - Temperatures are generally mild with summer daytime highs in the upper 90s and nighttime lows in the 50s. Winter daytime highs range in the 50s to 60s and nighttime lows are typically in the upper teens or low twenties but can dip into the subzero range. Moisture is evenly distributed, half during the winter as snow, half in the summer as rain. Daily thunderstorms can occur from July through September.
Clothing: Sturdy hiking boots, with good ankle support, are highly recommended when hiking the trails.
1. During the summer, light clothing for warm days and cool nights is recommended. Rain gear is useful during the rainy season.
2. During the winter, wear warm clothing to cope with wind chill factors below zero, snow and subfreezing temperatures.
Chiricahua National Monument is located 120 miles east of Tucson. Exit I-10 at Willcox, and follow State Route 186 36 miles to the monument.