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This is likely a great time to hike this trail!  Check out "Prefered" months below, keep in mind this is an estimate.

Sugarloaf Mountain 7310 - Chiricahua NM, AZ

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233 32 0
Guide 32 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Tucson > Douglas
Rated
3.4
3.4 of 5 by 14
 
2
Statistics
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Difficulty 1.5 of 5
Distance Round Trip 2 miles
Trailhead Elevation 6,830 feet
Elevation Gain 480 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 1.5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 4.4
Interest Peak
Backpack No
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
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7  2019-06-03
Big Loop - Chiricahua National Monument
LJW
12  2019-05-30
Sugarloaf Mountain
markthurman53
4  2017-10-08 leonesiegel
9  2016-05-30 cindyl
25  2016-04-02
Chiricahua NM Loop with Sugarloaf
Tortoise_Hiker
22  2016-04-02
Chiricahua NM Loop with Sugarloaf
The_Eagle
6  2016-04-02
Chiricahua NM Loop with Sugarloaf
joebartels
13  2015-09-29 AZWanderingBear
Page 1,  2,  3
Author PrestonSands
author avatar Guides 168
Routes 149
Photos 5,534
Trips 1,317 map ( 6,690 miles )
Age 42 Male Gender
Location Oro Valley, AZ
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Preferred   Apr, May, Sep, Oct → Any
Seasons   ALL
Sun  6:00am - 6:25pm
Official Route
 
4 Alternative
 
Water
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Geology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Monumental views
by PrestonSands

Likely In-Season!
Sitting atop the heart of Chiricahua National Monument is 7310 foot Sugarloaf Mountain. This prominent peak, which stands in a sea of volcanic hoodoos, can be seen for miles. While not as exciting or as popular as the loop trails in the Heart Of Rocks area, this short hike provides sweeping views of the Monument and surrounding areas. The trails and the Monument itself are open 24 hours a day; backpacking, however, is not allowed.


From the Sugarloaf Mountain picnic/parking area, the Sugarloaf Mountain Trail heads across a short ridge, and begins climbing the northern side of Sugarloaf Mountain. Dos Cabezas and rugged Cochise Head are visible along this stretch of trail, as well as the deep, forested gorge of Bonita Canyon. At 0.2 miles, the Sugarloaf Mountain Trail passes through a short tunnel that was blasted through the cemented volcanic ash of an ancient hoodoo. Beyond the tunnel, the trail traverses a steep slope covered in angular boulders, broken off from the low cliffs above the trail. Soon the trail rounds the mountain to the drier, southern slope. The Heart Of Rocks area comes into view now, amid the manzanitas, yuccas, and plentiful beargrass. On the southern horizon, the rolling, green, 9000 foot summits of the Chiricahua peaks form a backdrop against the Monument's countless rock totem poles. The mosaic pattern from 1994's Rattlesnake Fire is clearly visible among the peaks. The trail now makes a switchback here, and plows through a row of manzanita bushes, before arriving on the northeast corner of the windswept summit. The historic one room fire lookout, constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930's, greets you here. Roam around the mountain top, and take in the 360 degree views. A series of interpretive signs can be found on the southwest side of the summit, overlooking the infinite desert grassland below.

When you are done, return the way you came. If you have time, take one of the trails into the Heart Of Rocks or Rhyolite Canyon areas. You may find the Chiricahuas to be addictive!

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your hike to support this local community.

2007-05-07 PrestonSands
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    guide related
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

Most recent of 14 deeper Triplog Reviews
Sugarloaf Mountain 7310 - Chiricahua NM
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First time to the Chiricahua National Monument, so I took the loop counterclockwise plus a trip to inspiration point and a hike afterward up Sugarloaf Mountain.

Heart of Rocks Loop was the highlight of the trip, Though Echo Canyon is also incredible. Echo Park was burned but still enjoyable, and the SE corner of the hike around Big Balanced Rock Trail and Inspiration Point is burned as well. On the plus side, the views are expansive on this side of the loop because of the elevation and lack of trees. Inspiration Point is a nice side trip with little elevation gain. Riggs Trail was chewed up but was being worked on. The trails were so nicely maintained, you could forget you're in the wilderness.

Sugarloaf Mountain was better than I expected, and it made more sense to add it on after I had finished with the loop; the trailhead is close by, it's short, and it doesn't take long for the payoff. Lookout was closed.

Passed only two hikers on the trail all day, and when I got back to the car there were under a half dozen cars in the Echo Canyon lot.
Sugarloaf Mountain 7310 - Chiricahua NM
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we spent the weekend up in pinery canyon, and no weekend in the area would be complete without hiking up to sugarloaf. it was actually manned - i've been up to so many of these towers over the past couple of years without having anyone to talk to when i got there (besides bobby, lol). steve bovee (http://trustartanddesi...) was up there with his two dogs. he told us that he was up at barfoot the day before it burned. he thought he'd have a chance to save the osborne fire finder from there and had it burn to nearly nothing. he told us how he thought that fire could've been prevented from coming up to the monument. he was used to being at monte vista lookout, and he wasn't too fond of the heat at sugarloaf. it was a good visit. interesting guy with loads of stories to tell. wish i could listen all day, but we had to get back home.
Sugarloaf Mountain 7310 - Chiricahua NM
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Chiricahua NM Loop with Sugarloaf
Up at 2:30a, home at 10:00pm, is close to the definition of a day hike.

Denny provided the impetus to get this one done. If he keeps reading his food book, we'll get to a lot of other new areas. :y:

We saw some of flocks of deer, including 2 dudes with nice racks on the way in. Also were treated to some Coatimundi while hiking. : :D :DANCE:

We were spoiled all day with perfect weather and pristinely groomed trails. Temps ranged from 50 to no more than 68, with a breeze.

We did a clockwise loop including side trips to Sugarloaf, Inspiration Point and Heart of Rocks Loop.

Lower Rhyolite Canyon Trail, starts off this track in the pines with sneak peeks at the hoodoos.

Left on Upper Rhyolite Canyon Trail and you start the climb to the fun.

Bypass Hailstone Trail and hit Echo Canyon Trail. This is the crème de la crème in the park. Here you are walking amungst the tall spires. Wow, just wow.
Echo Canyon Video :next: https://youtu.be/Ow ... Dx1M

A hike up Sugarloaf Mountain Trail provides a great 360 overlook of the area.
Sugarloaf Mountain Video :next: https://youtu.be/T- ... WNjI

Ed Riggs Trail and Mushroom Rock Trail lead you to the next highlight side trip.

Inspiration Point Trail, is only a 1/2 mile one way. The destination packs some more incredible views.

Big Balanced Rock Trail leads you to..... duh.... how does it not fall over. After the geometry lesson the
amazing Heart of Rocks Loop is right there. Recommend doing this Clockwise for the views and to take advantage of the signage.
Big Balanced Rock & Heart of Rocks Loop :next: https://youtu.be/o6 ... -slI

The Sara Demming Trail starts you back downhill. It was on this trail, in the tall pines, that we saw our swarm of Coatimundi. I found this to be an enjoyable wind down trail.

This ones a must do, if you haven't.....

Thanks for putting this together Denny plus Driving/Dinner.

One word..... Hailstone
Sugarloaf Mountain 7310 - Chiricahua NM
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Chiricahua NM Loop with Sugarloaf
De-double-n-why graciously took Bruce and myself to Rhyolite Tuff Disneyland :y:

Lower Rhyolite is a very nice national park quality groomed trail. Echo Canyon Trail is my favorite. It made me feel like a kid gasping in glee around several turns and overlooks. We worked up to Sugarloaf then back down to Ed Riggs. It was a windy day so that was my least favorite portion. It would be a nice hike on any other day.

Mushroom Rock looks like a Star Wars space ship. Inspiration Point is worth the overlook. Big Balanced Rock is the most fascinating balanced rock I've ever seen. Heart of Rocks Loop is a fan favorite but didn't touch my heart like Echo Canyon. Old Maid is questionable. All the other rock formations are cool.

With little sleep heading in, Sarah Deming was a little draggy.

After nearly two decades of anticipation it was exciting to finally see this national park!
Sugarloaf Mountain 7310 - Chiricahua NM
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Second hike of the day and probably the most under rated hike in the Chiricahua Monument. Parking lot was empty. Looks like the trip up would be steep, but except for the last few hundred feet it's very gentle.

Views were fantastic all the way up. The little tunnel created by the CCC back in the day was a nice surprise. Great look at Cochise head as you climb. Were a bunch of caterpillars on the rocks and shrubs. The 360 views from the top are fantastic. Gave us a nice preview of tomorrow's Big Loop hike.
Sugarloaf Mountain 7310 - Chiricahua NM
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We started hiking up the trail late in the day with the plan to admire sunset up top. This is another very easy trail with a modest gain. We topped out and enjoyed a summit beer while we waited for the sun to set. We figured we’d be the only ones on the summit until another couple walked up right before the sun set. They had the same idea as us. We enjoyed the sunset and then made the quick return back to the jeep. From there we returned to the campsite and settled in for the evening.
Sugarloaf Mountain 7310 - Chiricahua NM
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john had mentioned wanting to check out chirichua national monument sometime
i was there in 2006 and 2009, so i was up for another visit
left phoenix sunday morning and arrived at bonita canyon campground around 1:30, after a stop at the riggs family cemetery, where we saw two large owls
set up camp, made a trip to the visitor center and lounged for a couple hours
it was a little warm in the afternoon sun, so we put off hiking until later
very nice campground
saw some deer in one of the sites, almost a petting zoo
drove up bonita canyon to hike sugarloaf mountain
less than a mile up to the fire tower
had forgotten about the tunnel
was quite shocked at the fire damage on the west side of the peak
took in the views and headed back down
between hikes we wandered around massai point for a few minutes
saw a coati in the road on the drive back down
too quick for pics
next up was the natural bridge trail
a new one for me, and i really liked this one
a nice climb up to a ridgeline, then a descent into picket park
some fire damage there, too
ended with a view of the natural bridge, and it would be fun to off trail up to it next time
losing daylight on the return and finished just before sunset
the volunteer ranger told us that he saw a mama bear and two cubs right before or after we left the parking area
it would have been cool to see them
went back to camp, cooked dinner and turned in
a fun day with a new trail
Sugarloaf Mountain 7310 - Chiricahua NM
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After breaking down camp in Pinery Canyon, we decided to drive up and do this quick hike before heading back to town. We'd both done it before, but cindyl hadn't been inside the Lookout Cabin so we were hoping there would be a lookout on duty so we could visit. Alas, the parking lot was empty, as was the Lookout so we just enjoyed the views and then headed back down the way we came. Quite a different variety of wildflowers here than we saw on our other two hikes of the weekend.
Sugarloaf Mountain 7310 - Chiricahua NM
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It had been about 10 years since my only other trip to this NM. I sure wish I could turn back time after this one. This is a very well graded and maintained trail with vistas from all parts. Sadly, you will see how destructive 2011's Horseshoe fire 2 was along every step of this trail.

From our previous days hike of the Super loop the damage didn't seem so severe but from the top of Sugarloaf Mtn. you see that about 80% of the monuments lands were incinerated of anything meant to be green. Left behind is an army of blackened and lifeless stumps. Much worse is the realization that the monument seems to have fared better then lower Pinery Canyon, Cochise's head and everywhere else on this side of the Chiricahua's.

For all of you who have seen Chiricahua NM before the fire, cheerish your memories and enjoy your pictures. It truly is a changed place. For the unlucky who missed out I'd highly recommend hiking lower Rhylolite canyon to the Sarah Deming trail and then onto the Heart of Rocks and returning in reverse order. Not much fire damage in this part of the park.

P.S. The Bonita CG survived the fire and is in good shape as is the Faraway Ranch and Visitor center.
Sugarloaf Mountain 7310 - Chiricahua NM
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After completing Echo Canyon Loop, Cheryl wanted to take a nap. I convinced her to nap in the jeep while I tackled Sugarloaf Mountain. I started out and noticed quite a bit of snow on the trail. It was fun being back in the white stuff! The going was easy as I headed up the trail. After a few minutes I noticed myself sucking air. It took me a moment to realize I'm hiking at over 7,000 ft elevation. It's a lot different from the normal Phoenix hiking I'm use to. So I continued on and with some effort I reach the summit. There is a single room building on top. I peaked in the windows and saw a bunch of maps and water and other misc items. I then took in the 360 views all around. You can see for miles! From there I started heading down and found Cheryl snoozing away in the passenger seat. I think she was annoyed I was back so soon.

The real highlight of the trip was experienced later this evening. Back at camp we heard an Astronomer would be giving a presentation at the Echo Canyon Parking lot that evening. We had some dinner and then drove up. There was the Astronomer and a small group of people. The man's name was Kevin and he had a strong telescope set up. We got to see Venus, Jupiter and Mars and several galaxies. The high point was seeing four moons orbiting Jupiter. It took my breath away. After a couple of hours we headed back to camp and turned in for a night. Cheryl and I both agreed how lucky we were to have participated in the "Star Party"!

Permit $$
NPS

Coronado Forest
MVUMs are rarely necessary to review unless mentioned in the description or directions
Coronado Motor Vehicle Use Maps (MVUMs)

Chiricahua National Monument
Chiricahua NM $5 per person / 7 Day Entrance Fee


Directions
Map Drive
or
Road
Paved - Car Okay

To hike
From I-10 exit 340 in Willcox, head south on highway 186 for 33.2 miles to highway 181. Turn left (east) onto highway 181, and follow it for 2 miles to the Chiricahua National Monument entrance. Follow the road (which later becomes "Scenic Drive") for approximately 7.5 miles beyond the Monument entrance, to the sign for Echo Canyon and Sugarloaf picnic areas. Turn right, and follow the road to its end at the Sugarloaf picnic area. The trail begins at the far end of the parking lot.
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