Skip to content

Chiricahua Peak [backpacking]

Photo of
Hosted By


Bad weather has canceled our backpacking trip to Truchas Peak (, so we'll be turning Chiricahua Peak, which is normally a long drive and a dayhike, into a backpacking trip instead.

The itinerary:

We'll leave Las Cruces at 8:00 am on Saturday from the the NM Park & Ride Station outside NMSU's Pan Am Center (it is safe to park your car here overnight) and head west on Interstate 10 to Wilcox, AZ, which we will arrive at 11 am MDT (10 am MST, which will be the local time in AZ). If you running late, please meet us at Wilcox, AZ; this is the last place most people reliably get cellular service.

From Wilcox, AZ we'll head southeast on AZ Rt. 186. until we reach the outside of Chiricahua Natl. Monument. From here, we'll take Pinery Road (Forest Road 42) up to the pass and it's intersection with Forest Road 42D. We'll follow 42D to Barfoot Junction, and take Forest Road 357 to Barfoot Park (where there is a spring) where will setup camp for Saturday night. If we have issue reaching Barfoot Park (I've had conflicting reports from the FS whether this is accessible by 2WD), we'll find somewhere a campsite along 42D. For the remainder of the day, we'll explore some of the peaks in the area, like Buena Vista Peak.

It will be cold on the ridgeline. Here are weather reports for Barfoot Park ( and the campsite at Chiricahua Peak ( Expect air temps near freezing at 3 or 4 am—bring your winter/spring backpacking gear, and do not bring shorts!

Sunday morning, we'll take the Crest Trail (#270) ( (also known as the "Sky from Barfoot Park along the ridgeline south to our next campsite near Headquarters Spring. GPS: 31.8415°N, 109.2858°W. The distance to this campsite is 7 mi, rising a very tame 1200 ft. If we've time Saturday, we'll head up Chiricahua Peak, and check out some of the other peaks in the area, like Aspen Peak, Snowshed Peak, Paint Rock, and Raspberry Peak.

Sunday morning, we will take the Crest Trail back to our cars. If there is extra time we'll drop by Chiricahua National Monument.

This trip is at high altitude, mostly over 9000 ft, topping out at 10000 ft. While there is no intense elevation gain please be prepared for the altitude by drinking adequate water, etc. In the absence of coco leaves, drinking ginseng tea a few days in advance may help ward off altitude sickness.

The Chiricahuas, due to their isolation, are a great place to watch this weekend's meteor shower (

If you need equipment, please post in the comments below what you need to see if anyone can lend you anything. Please do not buy equipment for this trip without heavily researching what you are buying; if you don't know, rent instead. Local equipment rentals:

• REI in Albuquerque
• NMSU: University ID/affiliation w/ NMSU is required. Call +1-575-646-4252 for more information and visit their office in NMSU's Activity Center (open 8–5 pm).
• UTEP: University affiliation/ID w/ UTEP is required. Please call +1-915-747-5103.

If you are a guest of the United States (i.e. non-citizen), there is a US Customs & Border Patrol checkpoint demarcating passage to/from what the ACLU calls a "Constitution-Free Zone" ( If this bothers you, please donate to the ACLU ( and harass your congress critters (; otherwise please bring appropriate documentation of your entry into the US (passports, visas, etc—you know better what you need than we do). Group hikes are not the place to make a stand for your civil liberties.

DISTANCE is ~14 mi round-trip. More, on the order of 20+, if you wish to do exploratory hikes in the area.

ELEVATION GAIN is ~1200 feet gained.

FEES: $3/vehicle, paid at the trailhead If you have a Federal Lands Pass, please bring them; they are accepted here.

DURATION: Starting Saturday morning, ending Sunday evening.

PET FRIENDLY? Yes. Bring a muzzle (you shouldn't need be told to bring a proper leash), and if you'd like to unleash, ask others before you do so.

SKILL LEVEL is *NOT* beginner friendly. No whiners!

TERRAIN is high-elevation riparian and alpine forest. We are traveling through a burn area (fire was 2 years ago) please expect fallen trees, etc.

WEATHER has a (relatively low) 20% chance of thunderstorms all weekend. It may flurry, but it's unlikely to stick. See above description for forecasts.

AFTERWARDS we'll go home.

MEET for carpool at:

• Las Cruces: 8:00 am, east of NMSU's Pan Am Center. GPS: 32.285463°N, 106.740997°W (see on Google Maps (,-106.740997&z=18), OpenStreetMap (, USGS topo map (,-106.740997&marker0=32.285463,-106.740997&z=18)). Since we do not need to leave early, we're not leaving early!
• Wilcox, AZ: 11:00 am NM/TX time (10:00 am local time), at the Shell (I think?) gas station off I-10 exit 340. GPS (approx): 32.26763°N, 109.84502°W (see on Google Maps (,-109.84502&z=17), OpenStreetMap (, USGS topo map (,-109.84502&marker0=32.26763,-109.84502&z=17)). This is the last place we will have reliable cell phone service.

MORE information:

• Crest Trail #270 on HikeArizona (
• Chiricahua Peak on SummitPost (
NMSU Pan Am Center Parking lot
1810 East University · Las Cruces, NM
Google map of the user's next upcoming event's location