Annual wildflowers, perennial deer
At the far west end of Chiricahua National Monument is the Bonita Creek Trail, which takes hikers through grassy meadows and creek side woodlands near the mouth of Bonita Canyon. This short and easy trail connects with the Silver Spur Meadow Trail at Faraway Ranch on its eastern end, providing the opportunity for a longer hike. This description begins at the Bonita Creek Picnic Area, which is the western trailhead.
The area that this hike traverses is noted for its wildlife. If you hike this trail during early morning or late afternoon, you are likely to encounter Bonita Creek's resident whitetail deer herd. On every trip I have made to the Monument, I have seen them here.
The unmarked Bonita Creek Trail heads north from the Bonita Picnic Area's parking lot. It crosses the meadow and enters the trees along the south edge of Bonita Creek. There is an unmarked "T" intersection here. Go right, up creek. For the rest of the hike the trail is little more than a narrow footpath. Occasional benches let you know that you are on the trail, but getting lost is not really an issue here. The Bonita Creek Trail heads east along the south bank of the creek, weaving in and out of tree cover. Creek side flora includes the Chiricahua staples of Arizona Cypress, oak, sycamore, and Schott's Yucca. The trail passes by a couple of meadows along its course, which are regularly filled with wildflowers after summer rains. From these meadows you can catch a glimpse of the Monument's high country further up the canyon.
After about a half mile or so, the Bonita Creek Trail reaches its end at the Faraway Picnic Area parking lot. On the return trip, consider going straight at the "T" intersection. This western fork of the "T" heads down canyon along the creek for a short distance, before wrapping around to the south, where it comes to an end back at the Bonita Creek Picnic Area.
Have fun. Hopefully you'll meet the local deer.
Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.
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.
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