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This Meetup is cancelled

Car Camping and Hiking Weekend in Chiricahua National Monument, AZ

  • to

  • Chiricahua National Monument

    E Rhyolite Creek Rd, San Simon, AZ (map)

    32.267601 -109.226830

  • We'll be camped in Bonita Campground
  • A "Wonderland of Rocks" is waiting for you to explore at Chiricahua National Monument. The 8-mile paved scenic drive and 17-miles of day-use hiking trails provide opportunities to discover the beauty, natural sounds, and inhabitants of this 11,985 acre site. Visit the Faraway Ranch Historic District to discover more about the people who have called this area home

    High Level Details:

    We're planning a camping/hiking trip to Chiricahua National Monument and thought some other Meetup members might be interested as well. The scheduled weekend is a 3-day weekend for some, due to the Columbus Day holiday. The drive from Albuquerque is around 415 miles, taking about 6.5 hours. The monument is 37 miles south of Wilcox, AZ on I-10. This is in the southeast area of Arizona.

    The campground in Chiricahua is Bonita campground, which is first-come, first-serve with a total of 22 sites. Sites can accommodate up to eight people, with two vehicles and two tents. RVs and trailers must be shorter than 29 feet. There are no hook-ups, but water and flush toilets are available.


    On Saturday, we'll hike "The Big Loop".

    For folks wanting to do everything, this route consists of the Echo Canyon, Upper Rhyolite Canyon, Sarah Deming, Heart of Rocks, Big Balanced Rock, Inspiration Point, Mushroom Rock and Ed Riggs trails. LENGTH: 9.5 miles/ 15.4 km

    Hiking with Pets:
    Pets are permitted at Chiricahua National Monument. Dogs must be on a leash at all times and not left alone. You may walk your dog on the lower canyon trails between the campground, visitor center, and entrance station on the Silver Spur Trail, Faraway Ranch Trail, and the campground. You may not bring your pets on any of the other park trails. This is for the safety of your dog and protection of the wildlife.

    On Sunday, for those that are interested, we'll travel as a group to Fort Bowie Historic Site.

    The hike in to the fort is part of the Fort Bowie experience. Visitors can get a sense of the lonely isolation that the soldiers experienced while stationed there. The trail winds past remains of a Butterfield Stage Coach Station, the post cemetery, an Apache wickiup, the Chiricahua Apache Indian Agency, Apache Spring, the original fort and finally the more elaborate Fort Bowie and the visitor center. LENGTH: 4-6 miles


    Entrance fees for Chiricahau are $5 per person or free with the Interagency Senior or Access Pass.

    Campsites are first-come, first-serve with sites accommodating 2 vehicles and up to 8 people with two tents. Sites are $12 each, $6 with an Interagency Senior or Access Pass.

    There is no entrance fee for Fort Bowie.


    If you are seriously interested in making this trip, add your name to the RSVPs. We can provide more information on the trip once we see if there's interest in it. You can use the Message area to ask questions or find other members to travel with and/or share campsites with. Plan to pay your share of the gas and campsite expense.

    We will not be arranging travel to and from the monument, as we will travel there earlier in the week. Also, we will not be securing campsites for anyone as this is specifically NOT ALLOWED at the park. Busy season is March and April when the campground fills up each day. Plan to arrive as early as you can on Friday in order to register for a campsite. Camping is available in the National Forest lands by the monument, but it would be better if we're all at the same campground.

    FYI: There are no lodges, hotels or campgrounds with facilities in the area. There are no showers at this campground or close by.

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  • Pete

    Unfortunately due to the unresolved budget issues (which is causing both national monuments and parks to shut down), we're dropping out of this outing. Presently, it seems there will be no resolution any time in the near future - or at least before the scheduled date of the outing. If the outing happens - have fun - I'll be kicking myself for missing it!

    October 2, 2013

  • Pete

    As a heads up, if an agreement on the budget isn't reached Chiricahau NM (as well as all other NMs and NPs) will be shut down (as early as tomorrow). I spoke to the Chiricahau visitor center today and they indicated if an agreement isn't reached they will shut down. In addition, when they reopen, it will take them several days before the NM is open to the public.

    September 30, 2013

    • Dave W

      Hopefully the bozos in Washington will reach an agreement soon!

      September 30, 2013

    • Keith F.

      They began shutting down the BLM campground I'm staying at this morning. We were given 2 days to leave. They are leaving water and electricity on for the 2 days but locking the restrooms. I swam, soaked in the therapy pool and showered for 2 bucks at the swim center in Taos today. They can lock that bathroom if they want. lol

      October 1, 2013

  • Kathy W

    I should also mention, you'll notice that they say Bonita CG is closed other than a few sites. I called them and they said that its a precautionary measure due to fear of flooding from the burn areas caused by a fire a few years ago. She expected the campground would be fully open again after the monsoons. Dave and I have hiked there twice since the fire and while part of the big circle is thru the burn area, it helps to reveal the rock formations.

    September 11, 2013

  • Kathy W

    September 11, 2013

  • Keith F.

    Sounds like fun but I'm signed up to backpack in the Gila. Besides, as it stands right now, I'd be a fifth wheel. Have fun.

    1 · September 7, 2013

    • Kathy W

      Let us know if you change your mind.

      September 8, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I just want to say that I am delighted to see this trip happening, as well as the one to the Manzanos, and I hope more group camp-outs will happen, and that - unlike this one - I will be able to attend. I am so sad that I cannot go this time! Have great fun!

    1 · September 7, 2013


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