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Silver Spur Meadow Trail, AZ

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Guide 27 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Tucson > Douglas
3.8 of 5 by 10
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Difficulty 1 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Round Trip 2.8 miles
Trailhead Elevation 5,360 feet
Elevation Gain -150 feet
Accumulated Gain 236 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 2.5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 3.98
Interest Historic & Seasonal Creek
Backpack No
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Inaugural Calculation on Button Tap!
13  2019-05-30
Lower Rhyolite Lower Bonita Canyon Trails
13  2017-05-31
Bonita Canyon Campground
6  2015-09-28 AZWanderingBear
27  2015-08-01
Search for Janet
42  2014-12-29 outdoor_lover
12  2014-05-27
Chiricahua Shuttle
15  2011-08-11 SkyIslander18
15  2010-08-21 SkyIslander18
Page 1,  2
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
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Mar, Apr, Sep, Oct → Any
Seasons   ALL
Sun  6:06am - 6:14pm
Official Route
1 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Chiricahua history hike
by PrestonSands

Likely In-Season!
The Silver Spur Meadow Trail is different from other trails at Chiricahua National Monument, in that it focuses on the area's history, rather than its unusual geologic formations. The Monument's trademark volcanic hoodoos are visible on the surrounding mountainsides, though.

Several historic structures can be seen along this beautiful valley near the Monument's entrance. There are many interpretive signs along this trail that give visitors an idea of what life was like for early settlers in this area.

If you start this hike from the western end, note that there are no signs at the Faraway Ranch indicating where the trail goes. The various service roads and paths around the ranch add to the confusion. Starting this hike at the trail's eastern end, next to the Monument's visitor center, makes for a hike that is easier to follow. There are little signs with arrows here and there along the trail, indicating the route to Faraway Ranch.

A large sign next to the main road, about 100 feet west of the Monument's visitor center, marks the start of the Silver Spur Meadow Trail. However, the sign actually says Silver Spur Faraway Trail. The trail heads downhill, away from the road, in a northerly direction, and is well shaded in this area by junipers, oaks, and Arizona cypress trees. A long needled apache pine or two can be seen, as well.

You will soon make the first of three creek crossings along this hike. Rhyolite and Bonita Creeks are probably dry most of the time, but beware of flash floods during monsoon season, which can make the trail impassible.

About 0.2 miles from the visitor's center is a sign where the trail splits. The right branch goes to the Bonita Canyon campground. Stay left to continue on to Faraway Ranch.

A short distance later, the trail crosses Bonita Creek, then turns west and enters Silver Spur Meadow.

Silver Spur Meadow was the location of a Civilian Conservation Corps camp during the 1930's. After building many of the Monument's roads and trails, this C.C.C. camp was closed in 1940. It later became the Silver Spur Guest Ranch. Two rock chimneys next to the trail here are all that remain of the C.C.C. camp and the guest ranch.

At the west end of the meadow, the trail crosses over to the south side of the creek, and follows it down canyon through the oak/juniper/cypress forest. The trail crosses a black wooden bridge and then a service road, before entering into a long meadow.

The rustic Stafford Cabin, built in 1880, is the first building you'll come across in the meadow. A little farther along is the Faraway Ranch. There are several historic structures here, including an old barn and the two story Faraway Ranch house.

The Silver Spur Meadow Trail reaches its western terminus a short distance beyond the Faraway Ranch, at a large parking and picnic area. Return the way you came, and enjoy!

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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2007-08-26 PrestonSands
    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 12 deeper Triplog Reviews
    Silver Spur Meadow Trail
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    It's been a while!
    Still my all-time favorite SE playground.
    Everything looked hoodoo great, except Echo Park ... what a mess.
    Unbelievable amount of deer along Silver Spur (18-20) including 2 very nice bucks.
    Big lightning cell hitting as I left.
    Monument has been recovering well from the fire.
    Shall be back ... this place rocks!
    Silver Spur Meadow Trail
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Two nights in site #13 - I like how it is set off by itself. The campground is lovely and charming ... it was surprisingly well-occupied, more so than last time I visited about a year ago, but still quiet.
    I am endlessly entertained by the gray jays around the campground, as well as the turkeys, deer, acorn woodpeckers, rufous-sided towhees, etc. The easy wildlife viewing here would be worth the trip even without all the great hikes and other things.
    After leaving Roper Tuesday evening after work, I arrived at Bonita just at dark - and right after a pretty good rain had swept through. Only glitch in the whole trip was the bunny I ran over in Dos Cabesas. :(
    I enjoyed a leisurely early morning around camp with the birds, drinking coffee and reading, before setting off on a stroll to Silver Spur Meadow, Stafford Cabin, and Faraway Ranch. This is a glorious walk that I could enjoy every day - also one of the few you can take dogs on, if that's your thing. Heard and saw turkeys along the way, and deer near the ranch.
    Faraway Ranch is gorgeous and far more interesting than I thought it would be - I will definitely plan on being there on a day when the tour is offered next time.
    I couldn't help but think long and hard about Karen Gonzales and the attack perpetrated on her here near the Ranch a few years ago. I am more familiar than most with the incident because I know a couple people who knew her before it happened, and one of my friends assisted with the investigation. That poor woman had gone through hell in the months before the attack, suffering through the loss of two loved ones ... only to have her head bashed in with a rock by some scumbag looking to steal her truck - while she was working in a National Monument. I almost can't even comprehend the horror. I don't know if Karen has - or ever will - fully recover, but the fact that she survived is a testament to her strength. Recently the scumbag was convicted and sentenced to over 70 years, so there's that.
    Anyhow, the campground rocks and the hike rocks ... on to the next.
    Silver Spur Meadow Trail
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Day 2 of our 8-day Southeastern AZ road trip.

    Great breakfast at Cochise Stronghold B&B. Stretched out legs on the Cochise Nature Trail and then drove over to the Chiricahua National Monument and checked in at the Bonita campground. After setting up camp we headed over to Faraway Ranch. Much of the trail is shaded. There were deer everywhere it seemed.

    Really enjoy old ranches, cabins, and ruins. While strolling around the place an obscure song kept creeping into my mind. So in lieu of too many photos, here's what I was hearing in my head.
    Silver Spur Meadow Trail
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    After hiking the Big Loop we returned to camp and chilled out for a couple of hours. We had a couple of hours to kill before starting dinner and decided to walk to the Faraway Ranch. We left directly from camp and made the easy walk. The going is very nice as you hike by Bonita Creek and see the remnants of those that lived and worked here. We were both surprised at how many buildings there are. They’re in great condition and the main house is huge! A tour would be very cool but not today. After exploring the ranch we continued west and walked to the end of the trail. The return flew by and we settled in for another evening.
    Silver Spur Meadow Trail
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    2nd Day in Chiricahua National Monument...Did a Hike and a Historical Tour. Started from the Visitor's Center and took the Silver Spur Meadow Trail to Faraway Ranch. Arrived at the Ranch just as they were getting ready to start a Ranger led Tour, so I joined in...Some pretty fascinating History there...

    After the Tour, I continued on the Bonita Creek Trail to the Day Use Area...Did a little Loop around their paved Nature Trail there, had a Snack and then returned back to the Visitor Center the way I came. I had thought about walking the Road back, but I was seeing some Deer in there and there's always the possibility of seeing some different Birds on the Way Back.... :D

    I left the Monument after I finished and started heading for Home...I made one more Stop but I'll split that since I have so many Photos here already.... :)

    If not for the Tour, this would have been a reasonably sized Photoset for a change.... :sl:
    Silver Spur Meadow Trail
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    - Inaugural Roper Lake State Park Ranger Hiking Club Adventure-
    Starring Myself, Addie & Lauren

    And there couldn't have been a better place to start then the Chiricahua National Monument!!!

    We decided on the shuttle service to drop us off at Massai Point to start. On the drive up, I was telling the driver how I had come across a black bear in the road several years ago in the spot that we were driving, 30 seconds later we rounded a corner and holy :pk: there was a Huge black bear standing in the middle of the road :o What a thrill and I got a pretty good shot of him before he moved up the embankment!

    From Massai Point we headed down into the HooDoo maze and spent the next 6 hours taking in all the splender of this truly amazing place, I shall never get tired of this Monument!
    My 2 fellow hiking Rangers were just an absolute blast to see it all with and I can't remember the last time I have laughed so much on a hike! I also cannot remember the last time I've hiked the Monument and took under 25 pictures, but today was just about having a damn good time with 2 awesome friends - Thanks AS & LM, look very forward to #2,#3,#4 .....
    Silver Spur Meadow Trail
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Was staying at the Bonita Campground and started out with the dwindling sunset. Made it to Stafford Cabin and then on to Faraway Ranch. What a gorgeous area rich in history! Saw many deer that didn't seem to care that I was there. And a fox and a coatimundi who did care that I was there as they scampered off as soon as they heard me. The Ranch is amazing! Hiked back in the dark with the only sound being my feet hitting the trail and my trail companions quiet chatter.
    Silver Spur Meadow Trail
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    I read on the Chiricahua NM website that the monument has been reopened just up to the visitor center so I took a trip out to see the damage left by the Horseshoe Two fire. Arriving at the entrance I became a little sick upon seeing that the entire Bonita creek area was completely burned and now feared this was going to be worse than expected. I continued on to the visitor center and was relieved to see that the area from Faraway Ranch up to the center had very minor damage. At the visitor center, I watched a video showing the before, during & after effects of the fire and then spent some time talking with the park employees who are clearly still devastated by the effects of the fire. They told me that the Bonita area was a backburn fire and that the worst hit areas were Sugarloaf mountain, Natural Bridge trail & the southeast corner of the monument (Inspiration Point). They hope to have the entire monument reopened in 2-3 months and that the main reason for the upper road closure is to replace all the wooden guardrails which were destroyed.

    The only trail open right now is the Silver Spur meadow trail so from the center I threw on my pack and headed down. The trail from the meadow down to Faraway Ranch was just as beautiful as ever, very green with only a few spots of low intensity burn patches. You can tell they fought hard to save this area! I spent about an hour walking around the ranch before taking the road back to the center completing a loop.
    Silver Spur Meadow Trail
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    Arrived at the Monument at noon, set up my camp and hit the Silver Spur trail at 2pm. I always see deer on this trail and as I approached the meadow, deer #1 was just inside grazing. A little further up the trail into the trees and deer #2 just watched me walk by. Another .25 mile and #3 & #4 were staring at me through the trees. I continued on to the Stafford Cabin and Faraway Ranch. Had to cut my stay here short due to the thunder letting me know that a storm was coming and I had not brought any rain gear. Made it back to the campground just as the rain started to come down.
    Silver Spur Meadow Trail
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    I went to retreive my trail camera near Silver Spur Meadow and ran into a lone coati with a stubby tail. He was a curious and friendly little guy. I was able to get within 4ft of it to snap some photos. I probably could've gotten closer, but I didn't want to scare it off. I try to get the best possible photos with the cheapest eqiupment available to me and getting close is the only way that I can do it. Plus, I got pretty good at approaching wildlife without scaring them off for the most part.

    I like Olympus cameras, but they're terrible in low light conditions, so these photos aren't as good as I'd like them to be. In fact, I was going to delete them, but after a little editing magic, they turned out okay. I figured that I could just unload them on this site, and delete them from my hard-drive. I realized that if I want perfection, I'm going to have to spend the money and buy a DSLR camera.

    Also, my trail camera came up empty.

    Permit $$
    National Monument Fee $10-25 per 7 Days

    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

    Map Drive
    Paved - Car Okay

    To hike
    From I-10 exit 340 in Willcox, head south on highway 186 for about 33.2 miles to highway 181. Turn left (east) onto highway 181, and follow it for 3 miles to the Chiricahua National Monument entrance. (There is an entrance fee) Follow the highway for approximately 2.1 miles beyond the Monument's entrance, to the Visitor Center parking area (5.1 miles total after turning onto highway 181). The Silver Spur Meadow Trail starts along the north side of the highway, about 100 feet west of the Visitor Center. The trailhead sign is incorrectly marked as the Silver Spur Faraway Trail.
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