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.
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.
Of historic interest is the Faraway Ranch, a pioneer homestead and later a working cattle and guest ranch. It is a significant example of human transformation of the western frontier from wilderness to the present settlement. Faraway Ranch offers glimpses into the lives of Swedish immigrants Neil and Emma Erickson, and their children. The house is furnished with historic artifacts which not only give us reminders of our youth and our ancestors, but one can also trace the development of technology during the first half of the twentieth century.
Visitors can cruise the 8-mile scenic drive to Massai Point, tour Faraway Ranch, hike the Echo Canyon Loop trail (3.5 miles).
The Visitor Center offers audiovisual programs and exhibits. Interpretive programs including talks, guided walks and evening campground programs are presented in spring, March-May, and fall, September-October.
Chiricahua features 17 miles of maintained trails in a monument that is 87% designated wilderness. Trails vary in degree of difficulty. The Echo Canyon Trail and the Heart of Rocks Trail offer spectacular views of balanced rocks, spires and pinnacles.
Adults (16 years and older) - $5. Valid for 7 days.
Children (15 and under) - Free
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.