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Massai Point Nature Trail - Chiricahua NM, AZ

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Guide 22 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Tucson > Douglas
4 of 5 by 5
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Difficulty 0.5 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Loop 0.5 miles
Trailhead Elevation 6,878 feet
Elevation Gain 49 feet
Accumulated Gain 72 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 0.75 hour
Kokopelli Seeds 0.86
Backpack No
varies or not certain dogs are allowed
editedit > ops > dogs to adjust
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
9  2016-05-29
Echo Canyon Loop - Chiricahua NM
51  2014-12-27
Chiricahua Shuttle
10  2014-05-30 rwstorm
12  2014-05-27
Chiricahua Shuttle
30  2012-11-20
Big Loop - Chiricahua National Monument
14  2011-02-20
Big Loop - Chiricahua National Monument
7  2010-08-21 SkyIslander18
5  2009-02-06 ferazamboni
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   Oct, Apr, May, Sep → 8 AM
Seasons   ALL
Sun  6:05am - 6:14pm
2 Alternative
Flora Nearby
Named place Nearby
Big Foot's escape route
by PrestonSands

Likely In-Season!
Overview: The Massai Point Nature Trail is a short, educational loop hike at Chiricahua National Monument, that explains the area's natural history. Interpretive signs along the trail describe the Chiricahua Mountain's violent volcanic past, subsequent geologic events, and the creation of its unusual rock formations. Other signs enlighten visitors to the Monument's biologic communities and human history. Although this easy hike is not the Monument's star attraction, it answers the "how and why" of Chiricahua National Monument.

Hike: Beginning at the north end of the Massai Point parking lot, the Massai Point Nature Trail heads north into the trees. It immediately comes to a signed junction with a short side trail, that heads uphill to an exhibit building at the apex of Massai Point. Follow the trail to the small exhibit building, which affords 360 degree views of southeastern Arizona. Plaques inside the circular structure describe the sky island aspect of the Chiricahua Mountains, and show the outline of the Turkey Creek Caldera. At the rear of the exhibit building, a cement walkway leads down the back side of the hill to the beginning of the Massai Point Nature Trail.

Now back at its beginning, follow the Massai Point Nature Trail downhill to the west, away from the parking lot. The trail contours along a hillside, where pinyon and cypress trees frame a wonderful view to the west, overlooking the Monument. Further on, the trail passes the junction with the Ed Riggs Trail, and a short spur trail leading back to the parking lot.

The trail now ventures into an area of hoodoos overlooking Rhyolite Canyon. A short side trail climbs to the top of one of the hoodoos, where a viewpoint has been constructed. There are sweeping views to be found at its tiny summit. A large balanced rock rests nearby.

Leaving the hoodoos behind, the Massai Point Nature Trail finishes wrapping around Massai Point, before turning north to return to the Massai Point parking area. A sign marks its arrival at the south end of the parking lot.

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2008-04-07 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 Triplog Reviews
    Massai Point Nature Trail - Chiricahua NM
    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!
    Massai Point Nature Trail - Chiricahua NM
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Our plan was to hit Sugarloaf Mountain for sunset and we had some time to kill. We decided to check out the Massai Point Nature Trail. This is very easy hiking and there are some nice viewpoints and lots of information signs. The CCC built a lookout on top of a rock that is very cool. We made the loop and then headed over to Sugarloaf parking.
    Massai Point Nature Trail - Chiricahua NM
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    I've seen the Monument once, about 15 Years ago when I first realized that there was a cool Mountain Range down there. I was working a Highway Job in Sunizona and when I asked people if there was anything Cool to see or do down there in my Off Time, the Monument was the first thing to come up. I took a couple of Trips out to the Chiricahuas while I was working down there. Always, right after Work, as I was staying in Willcox. I went up into the Turkey Creek Area one Day and explored a little bit. The other Day, I went to the Monument. I had enough Time to drive all the way up to Massai Point, go OMG! and then it got Dark.... :sl:

    This was the Trip to really check it out...I knew I probably wouldn't get much Hiking in, but it was a great "Get Acquainted" Trip. I Camped for 2 Nights, arriving after Dark the first Night, after Birding Kansas Settlement. I spent 1 1/2 Days messing around in there. This Triplog and Photoset is just from the First Day. I did a slightly longer Hike and History Tour on the 2nd Day, so I'm going to do it separately...

    It was pretty Chilly at Night and they had gotten some Snow from the Storm that hit me at Whitewater Draw....I had a thought to do Sugarloaf Mountain while I was there, but one look at the Trail, in the Shade, with all of the Recent Snow on it, was enough for me to say "next time".... :sweat: I'm just not equipped for Snow Hikes.

    I drove the Road, did the Nature Trail Hike at Massai Point, checked out all of the Overlooks and TH's, and did a small Loop Hike from the Campground to the Visitor Center. Back up to Massai Point for Sunset... :D

    Amazing Place and I will be back to start taking on some of those cool Hikes... :D
    Massai Point Nature Trail - Chiricahua NM
    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 .....
    Massai Point Nature Trail - Chiricahua NM
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    Echo Canyon to Heart of Rocks
    Actually did the Echo Canyon to Heart of Rocks and Return
    This route consists of the Ed Riggs, Mushroom Rock,
    Big Balanced Rock and Heart of Rocks Loop Trails.
    LENGTH: 7.3 miles/ 11.8 km
    ACCESS: Echo Canyon Trailhead

    Couldn't find that in the hikes. Started at the Massai Point parking lot, went Echo canyon, if I recall then Ed Riggs and Mushroom Trail to the Heart or Rocks. Hike with my son. It was a beautiful day. Some snow still on the ground in places. The fire really took out a lot of trees. Good news you can see more rocks. The vegetation is starting to grow again. The Chiris are magical! We got stopped short of the Heart of Rocks had some lunch and then finsihed the loop and came back down the same way we went in because the daylight was fading. Second time hiking in. The first time was a few years ago and I did the full Big Loop :)
    Massai Point Nature Trail - Chiricahua NM
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    My first trip back into the upper Monument since the fire!

    We first started with a warm-up on the Massai Nature Trail loop before driving back down to the Echo Canyon trailhead. We then completed the Big Loop hiking it clockwise including the out-n-back to Inspiration Point. I really expected to see a lot more burn, but the only sections that really got cooked were the Southeast corner including the entire Inspiration Point trail & Echo Park down in the lower canyon. There was a few other spotty burn sections, but nothing too bad.

    As for the rest of the trail(s), I was once again just blown away with the Monument scenery! The formations & trails (as always) were amazing, spectacular, epic, etc ........
    In my opinion, this is still "the one" to do in Southeastern Arizona!

    What made this trip even better was sharing it with 2 new friends I made at Roper Lake SP just a couple of days earlier. It was their first time seeing the Monument and I heard more then a few WOWS during the hike.

    Thanks Dave & Kathy, you guys (and the hoodoos) Rocked!!!
    Massai Point Nature Trail - Chiricahua NM
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    Jumped in my truck at 9am and by 11am, I was walking through a wonderland of hoo-doos! Hiked the standard big loop clockwise (IMO the best route) with a side trip out to Inspiration Point. Leaving Echo canyon at the end, I took the short connector trail up to Massai point and completed the nature trail loop before returning back to my truck. By taking the connector trail up to Massai point, I have now hiked every trail within the monument. I met a couple from Prescott at the TH and the 3 of us did a short hike down the Silver Spur trail at sunset. I told them that I guarantee we would see a deer on this trail (I always do) and 2 minutes later, a buck with 3 does appeared in the meadow - I love this place!
    Massai Point Nature Trail - Chiricahua NM
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    After hiking the Silver Spur trail earlier, I drove up the Bonita canyon road to Massai Point to watch the sun go down behind the hoodoos. Storms were hitting hard in all the valleys below around the monument. I spent about 2 hours on top before night hit and drove back down to my campsite as the rain started falling. It rained all night long!
    Massai Point Nature Trail - Chiricahua NM
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    After hiking Cochise Stronghold with Nick earlier in the day, I decided to head to one of my favorite areas. I had a nice, leisurely hike along this trail, watched some squirrels, and fought to keep my balance in the wind atop the hoodoo viewpoint. For me, any time in "The Monument" is time well spent. :) I love this place!!!

    Permit $$

    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. (see fee above) Follow the road (which later becomes "Scenic Drive") for approximately 7.5 miles beyond the Monument entrance, to its end at the Massai Point parking lot. There are trail signs for "Massai Nature Trail" at the north and south ends of the parking lot.
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