""Wonderland of Rocks"" Top 5 Page for this destination Chiricahua National Monument by mtncorg

Chiricahua National Monument Travel Guide: 114 reviews and 242 photos

Volcanism and erosion are thought to be behind theformation of towering rock columns and formations in the northwest corner of the Chiricahua Mountains of southeastern Arizona. The local Apaches called this the 'Land of the Standing-Up Rocks'.

The Chiricahua Mountains are a typical 'sky island' - forested mountains containing unique ecosystems surrounded by harsh Sonoran and Chihuahuan deserts. Many of the animals, birds and plants are more at home in the Sierra Madre of Mexico, but, of course, Mexico is not far away from here.

These mountains were a homeland and sanctuary for the Chiricahua Apaches, whose most famous leaders, Cochise and Geronimo, sallied forth against the pioneers and soldiers of the late mid-19th century in a vain attempt to stall the hands of time. Just to the northof the Monument, you can find the Fort Bowie National Historic Site, the main US Army post during the Apache Wars.

In the Monument, there is a campground, but no other services - Willcox, 25 miles to the northwest is the nearest town of size - on I-10, though there is a nice B&B in Portal on the eastern side of the mountains, beloved by birdwatchers who love the unique species of birds they can add to their lifetime bird list.

80% of the monument is wilderness, but you can see from the map, that you get a grand overview from the road - Bonita Drive.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Geology, Ecology, History and Faraway
  • Cons:Hot Summers
  • In a nutshell:Prototypical Southwestern Experience
  • Last visit to Chiricahua National Monument: Apr 1998
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (9)

Comments (8)

  • balhannah's Profile Photo
    Dec 9, 2009 at 9:19 AM

    Interesting page on interesting landscape and history!

  • iandsmith's Profile Photo
    Jul 8, 2009 at 5:26 AM

    Interesting, never heard of the place....and I believe someone had a birthday....a happy one to whoever it was. Cheers

  • bugalugs's Profile Photo
    Apr 8, 2006 at 1:17 PM

    Beautiful scenery, but sad that the Apache had to move from their lands.

  • puppis's Profile Photo
    Apr 18, 2005 at 5:52 PM

    Great page, Mark. I lived sometime in Tucson and have visited the place. It takes me back there.

  • KimberlyAnn's Profile Photo
    Oct 8, 2004 at 10:27 AM

    Well, you have me convinced! We are thinking of heading for Big Bend, then over to our favorite desert, Organ Pipe, and I see this is on our way. I have added many of your tips to my Custom Travel Guide. Think I should add this one to our plans. Thanks!

  • kazander's Profile Photo
    Apr 19, 2004 at 8:02 AM

    Sorry I missed this place when I was in Arizona. Looks wonderful. Liked the pancake tip.

  • catalysta's Profile Photo
    Dec 18, 2003 at 4:04 PM

    Great Chiricahua page, Mark! There's some terrific birdwatching in that area too, exotic species that don't ever go further north, many colorful hummingbirds...cat

  • mrclay2000's Profile Photo
    Nov 22, 2003 at 12:39 PM

    The highlights are the rock columns . . .one reason why I tend to look away from Arizona.


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