Corbitt's National Parks
    Chiricahua
              National Monument


                  


1924: Chiricahua National Monument

Size: 12,984 acres

2012 visitors: 41,159

Stamp: Yes


Rating (1-5):

About the Monument

This Monument in southeastern Arizona preserves and highlights some of the geologic forces that shaped this region of the country. The rock sculptures were created millions of years ago and now draw oohs and ahhs from appreciative visitors. Rock spires, towering stone columns and balanced rocks weighing hundreds of tons that stand delicately on tiny pedestals are some of the attractions of the Monument.

Chiricahua Monument is also home to many species of animal and plants not normally found in the state. The Chiricahua Mountains are "Sky Islands" that support a habitat typically found to the south, in Mexico. Astute visitors will spot cactus in the lowlands, oaks and Arizona cypress in the canyons, manzanita chaparral on the ridges, and ponderosa pine and Douglas fir on the highest slopes.

What You're Going to See

Excellent rock formations! Now this is something to see. Wind and rain and snow have eroded ash laid down millions of years ago to form wonderful spires, arching columns and huge balancing boulders. The paved road winds around the mountains and finally climbs to a good vantage point, but understand that your best views of the rock formations will come while hiking around the trails.

There are supposed to be excellent wildlife viewing opportunities, as well as good examples of "sky islands" flora. There are several places to stop your car and get a good view of the surrounding valleys and mountains.

Personal Observations

I gave this three subbies, but I freely admit I'm a geologic-formation freak. My rating might go higher to four subbies if I'd had the opportunity to take some of the trails, get better photos of some of the rocks. As it was, I count myself lucky to have gotten a stamp at the visitors center. This Monument is in a fairly remote part of the state, so usually only the more diligent visitors will track it down.

Getting There

From Tucson, travel east on I-10 for 80 miles. Take Exit #336 and go four miles to Willcox, and turn east onto highway 186 for 31 miles to the Monument turnoff. A paved six-mile road leads to the visitors center.

Nearby Attractions

15 miles due north is Fort Bowie National Historical Site. About 70 miles to the west is Saguaro National Park. 75 miles to the southwest on the Mexico border is Coronado National Memorial, and 30 miles further west is Tumacacori National Historic Park. About 80 miles to the northeast, in New Mexico, is Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument.

Visited December 2003.

Additional Photos