Chiricahua National Monument
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 provide reminders of youth and ancestors, but one can also trace the development of technology during the first half of the twentieth century. Acreage: 12,000 acres.
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.
Seasonality / Weather
Winter temperatures range from highs in the 60s F to lows in the 20Fs. Snow should be expected from November to March. Spring brings warmer temperatures and sunny skies. May and June are hot and dry. July brings the monsoon, with daily thunderstorms until early Sept. Autumn is fantastic. An average of 12 inches of snow falls throughout winter. Storms will drop a few inches at a time that is on the ground for a week before the snow melts and another storm rolls through the area. You could expect snow anytime between November and April.
Chiricahua National Monument is located 120 miles east of Tucson. Exit I-10 at Willcox, and follow State Route 186 for 36 miles to the monument. It is recommended to obtain gas in Willcox; gasoline is not available at or near the monument.