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Saturday, November 16, 2013

Chiricahua National Monument

In February over Presidents Day we went on a small camping trip out to the area of Chiricahua National Monument.  We thought spending a few days exploring the area would be fun.  We found a great little campsite up Pinery Canyon, a few miles south of the monument.  Once we were camped, we started exploring.  We visited Chiricahua National Monument a couple of times over the next few days.  It really reminded me of Bryce Canyon National Park, but without the vibrant colors of the eroding redrock sandstone.  Instead, the pillars and hoodoos are formed from weathering volcanic tuff left behind from an explosion of the Turkey Creek Caldera many years ago. 
Cochise Head is one of the notable features of the monument.  We couldn't hike over to it, but from up on top of Masai Point it's a striking profile.  Many people point out that it's complete with an eyelash, the trunk of a dead evergreen. 
I really wanted to hike up to the Sugarloaf Fire Tower, so we did.  The kids really liked the hike.  It had a tunnel, a picnic table of stone, and a few other features along the way. 
Right at the end, you can see the lookout, giving everyone a final burst of energy to make it to the top. 
Here's a picture of the lookout with Cochise Head in the background.  I thought it made for a pretty unique view. 
After we finished at the lookout, we went to hike to the Echo Canyon Grottoes.  I thought they looked cool in pictures, and they do, but in real life they just didn't get me excited. 
We also visited the Faraway Ranch, where the Ericson family lived.  The Ericsons were early settlers in the area and did a lot to develop trails and encourage visitors to the area.

Nearest City: Willcox, AZ
Location: N° W°
Time Needed: 1-2 days
Difficulty: Varies
Kid Friendly: yes
Additional Info:

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