Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Chiricahua National Monument, AZ

We are spending a couple nights at Fort Willcox RV Park, a Passport America park off I-10 in Willcox. It’s a good place to stay for a day trip to Chiricahua National Monument, about 35 miies southeast of here. Chiricahua is a beautiful, remote national monument with only about 60,000 visitors a year. There is a pretty campground, but they limit RV length to 29’ due to a big dip in the road. When we drove through it didn’t look like there were more than a couple sites that would even fit a 29’ RV. It looked much more suitable for van and truck campers or tents.
We drove the eight mile scenic drive and stopped at Massai Point at 6,900 ft for lunch and a hike recommended by the ranger.
The monument is made up of formations created by a volcanic eruption that occurred roughly 27 million years ago.The huge rock pinnacles and hoodoos reminded us of Bryce Canyon with gray instead of red rock. We haven’t seen anything like this in awhile, and we were in awe as we hiked the 4 mile Echo Canyon Loop.
Many of the rocks are covered with green lichen.
Along the way we came to the Grottoes, a cave-like area of rocks.
We had a few wildlife encounters. These Mexican jays were hanging around the water fountain at the Visitor Center, and around our picnic table. Jim “accidently” dropped a piece of potato chip and carrot, and you can guess that the jay picked the junk food and ignored the carrot.
We also saw a beautiful orange, black, and white ringed snake which we think was an Arizona king snake, and a couple of wild turkeys. Unfortunately they dldn’t hang around long enough for Jim to get a picture. This is a great park with spectacular scenery and few people. It’s well worth the drive to see.


  1. Glad you got to Chiricahua. I was there right after meeting you guys at Elephant Butte in '09. A beautiful and serene place. I was just barely able to squeeze my 26-foot Lazy Daze into one of the campsites. Enjoy your trip East this summer!

    - Joe

  2. We loved that park! Sorry to have missed the snake - Kim would have liked that. Safe travels.

  3. We so loved Chiricahua, too. If you're still there you need to have the "bus" take you to the top in the am and then hike your way back down to the campground. It's a very cool hike!

  4. There are two FS CG's in the area. Much better than the NM CG.

    Our chums take the long loop hike to Donald Duck? rock.

    While in the area, you should go across the valley to Cochise Canyon. Not as scenic, but worth the hike. There is a small FS CG there.