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Big Loop - Chiricahua National Monument - 25 members in 53 triplogs have rated this an average 4.6 ( 1 to 5 best )
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Mar 27 2021
azdesertfather
avatar

 Guides 12
 Routes 60
 Photos 1,221
 Triplogs 834

48 male
 Joined Apr 30 2008
 Tucson, AZ
Big Loop - Chiricahua National MonumentTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 27 2021
azdesertfather
Hiking8.76 Miles 2,065 AEG
Hiking8.76 Miles   4 Hrs   59 Mns   1.99 mph
2,065 ft AEG      35 Mns Break20 LBS Pack
 
no photosets
1st trip
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
Could not have asked for a nicer day to do this loop! Highs near 60, sunny with a nice little breeze. Incredible views of the snow-capped Chiricahuas above 7500 feet, with patchy snow on this trail in several places. The hoodoos were a sight to behold!
_____________________
"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived." — Henry David Thoreau
Feb 14 2021
gummo
avatar

 Guides 9
 Photos 11,347
 Triplogs 196

male
 Joined Oct 23 2010
 mesa
Big Loop - Chiricahua National MonumentTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Feb 14 2021
gummo
Hiking11.00 Miles 3,140 AEG
Hiking11.00 Miles   5 Hrs   52 Mns   1.88 mph
3,140 ft AEG8 LBS Pack
 no routes
1st trip
Partners none no partners
Trail temp was @ 39F at the start. I did the Big Loop for my cold weather training™. I wasn't able to get out as much as I hoped in the mountains this winter, so I was not sure what my cold tolerance was. It wasn't too bad. I did the loop in my winter shorts and shoes. I was hoping that it would snow here, but it didn't. Snow covered the southern Chiricahuas but missed the monument.

I passed 29 people on the loop. Only one asked if I were cold. She stated that she was wearing 4 layers including a thick coat and a hooded sweater.

The sun shined at the end of the hike. The trail temp at the end was @46F, so it really never warmed up. People were friendly. The hike and being exposed to the cold was not too challenging, but it was still a good hike.
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1 archive
Nov 28 2020
Crzy4AZ
avatar

 Guides 31
 Routes 96
 Photos 2,643
 Triplogs 605

48 female
 Joined Apr 02 2007
 Scottsdale, AZ
Big Loop - Chiricahua National MonumentTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Nov 28 2020
Crzy4AZ
Hiking9.56 Miles 1,931 AEG
Hiking9.56 Miles   6 Hrs   33 Mns   1.75 mph
1,931 ft AEG   1 Hour   6 Mns Break
 
no photosets
1st trip
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
Quail hunting in Southern AZ. Stopped into visitor center and took the tiny nature trail. Wish George was with me - we have been racking up federal lands and national monuments/parks since August and his 4th grade #everyKidInAPark .
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Apr 09 2020
toddak
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 Guides 8
 Routes 7
 Photos 1,244
 Triplogs 476

56 male
 Joined Nov 15 2005
 Puhoynix, AZ
Big Loop - Chiricahua National MonumentTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 09 2020
toddak
Hiking12.50 Miles 3,000 AEG
Hiking12.50 Miles   5 Hrs   30 Mns   2.27 mph
3,000 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Drove over from the east side on FR 42 to the nearly deserted national monument. Clockwise around the loop with side hikes to Inspiration and Heart of Rocks. Fantastic!

On the way out the ranger was closing the gate at the entrance station - cars were no longer allowed in, but road walking or biking in is still allowed (2 miles to the visitor center).
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Mar 15 2020
ChollaPaws
avatar

 Triplogs 2

49 female
 Joined Dec 09 2018
 San Tan Valley,
Big Loop - Chiricahua National MonumentTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 15 2020
ChollaPaws
Hiking8.50 Miles 3,140 AEG
Hiking8.50 Miles   4 Hrs   40 Mns   2.20 mph
3,140 ft AEG      48 Mns Break
 
no photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
Nov 04 2019
BiFrost
avatar

 Guides 4
 Routes 372
 Photos 8,276
 Triplogs 1,006

51 male
 Joined Nov 20 2012
 Phoenix, AZ
Big Loop - Chiricahua National MonumentTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Nov 04 2019
BiFrost
Hiking13.50 Miles 2,867 AEG
Hiking13.50 Miles   6 Hrs   30 Mns   2.27 mph
2,867 ft AEG      33 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Monday we hiked the Chiricahua National Monument big loop and my first time hiking in the monument. Starting from Rhyolite at the visitor center it’s 1.5 miles to the first junction where we took the Sarah Deming Trail up to Heart of Rocks Loop. The loop was fantastic and exceeded my expectations based on what I knew about the area. If we were not doing the big loop we could have spent several hours exploring this area. As it was we still took 1 hour to do the 1 mile loop and see everything we wanted to check out.

From there we moved on to Inspiration Point and lunch. The point is great but after leaving Heart of Rock area there is not as many cool rocks. At the point we could see almost the entire park, Massai Point across the way and cool rocks that line the main canyon.

After lunch we hiked down the Mushroom Rock Trail to the main canyon. This was another nice stretch of trail over to Echo Canyon which traverses below some cool spires and also views of the hoodoos on the other side of the canyon.

At the Echo Canyon junction we hiked uphill into Echo which was on par with Heart of Rocks. I would say that Echo and Heart of Rocks are the must see sections of the monument. When we do this again I’d probably spend 1 day in the Echo Canyon side and 1 day on the Heart of Rocks side because there is so much to see. We spent another hour in Echo on a ¾ mile section that was very scenic.

We headed back down Echo and continued to Rhyolite Canyon back out the same trail finishing the loop at the visitors center. Great hike with so much to see in such a small area. Will definitely be back for another exploration. Would be awesome to see this place with several inches of snow :)
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1 archive
Oct 12 2019
kyleGChiker
avatar

 Guides 1
 Routes 23
 Photos 351
 Triplogs 30

male
 Joined May 28 2019
 Phoenix, AZ
Big Loop - Chiricahua National MonumentTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Oct 12 2019
kyleGChiker
Hiking11.48 Miles 2,221 AEG
Hiking11.48 Miles   7 Hrs   40 Mns   1.81 mph
2,221 ft AEG   1 Hour   19 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
This hike was the big loop, including Heart of Rocks and Inspiration Point. Mostly just wanted to post a water report.

Forgot to make a note while recording on Route Scout, but there was plenty of water in Echo Canyon. I would describe the flow of water as a trickle, but there were sizable pools of clear water.


6.87 miles - 3:22 pm
Plenty of water for filtering in two pools (right at the end of the Heart of Rocks Loop).

9.66 miles - 5:13 pm
A few very small pools of water in Hunt Canyon.

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Echo Canyon Pools to trickle Pools to trickle
A small trickle with plenty of large pools.

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Hunt Canyon Pools to trickle Pools to trickle
A few very small pools. Would be difficult to filter from.
Jun 03 2019
LJW
avatar

 Photos 923
 Triplogs 219

27 male
 Joined Jun 02 2019
 Phoenix, AZ
Big Loop - Chiricahua National MonumentTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Jun 03 2019
LJW
Hiking11.70 Miles 2,580 AEG
Hiking11.70 Miles   4 Hrs   15 Mns   3.34 mph
2,580 ft AEG      45 Mns Break
 no routes
1st trip
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.
Apr 20 2019
TosaInu
avatar

 Routes 3
 Photos 31
 Triplogs 9

47 male
 Joined Jan 26 2019
 Tucson
Big Loop - Chiricahua National MonumentTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 20 2019
TosaInu
Hiking7.72 Miles 2,040 AEG
Hiking7.72 Miles   3 Hrs   39 Mns   2.23 mph
2,040 ft AEG      11 Mns Break
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners partners
Perez092579
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
2 archives
Apr 11 2019
Sonoranbob
avatar

 Routes 13
 Photos 621
 Triplogs 15

71 male
 Joined Jan 10 2018
 Gilbert
Big Loop - Chiricahua National MonumentTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 11 2019
Sonoranbob
Hiking8.50 Miles 3,140 AEG
Hiking8.50 Miles
3,140 ft AEG
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Spent a glorious day hiking the Big Loop. This trail is amazing well designed and maintained and easy to follow. There were so many amazing rock formations that it made the loop seem short even though we were quite tired by the end of the day.
11 archives
Mar 02 2019
TosaInu
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 Routes 3
 Photos 31
 Triplogs 9

47 male
 Joined Jan 26 2019
 Tucson
Big Loop - Chiricahua National MonumentTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 02 2019
TosaInu
Hiking7.50 Miles 1,718 AEG
Hiking7.50 Miles
1,718 ft AEG45 LBS Pack
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners partners
Perez092579
Did this with a buddy and our two teenage sons as a "prep" hike to get ready for some overnight backpacking adventures; hence the reason for a heavy pack on a day trail. This was an eye opener for me for sure and confirmed just how far removed I am from my time in the Marine Corps in my early twenties. The climb out at the end humbled me and made me realize that copious amounts of beer and whiskey is probably not the best diet for backpacking success.

In any case, the hike was a success and the area is beautiful and unique. Most importantly, we accomplished our goal of figuring out the best way to configure our packs and what gear was working and what we should replace. The old hiking boots I had performed absolutely horribly and thankfully I had some moleskin to temper the huge blister that began to form on my left heel. Those boots have already been replaced with a great pair of Oboz that seem to fit 100 times better and provide great support and traction.

Hopefully this will be the first trip report of many to come.
May 27 2018
DixieFlyer
avatar

 Guides 60
 Routes 588
 Photos 8,302
 Triplogs 525

male
 Joined Jan 07 2017
 Fountain Hills,
Big Loop - Chiricahua National MonumentTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar May 27 2018
DixieFlyer
Hiking9.70 Miles 2,100 AEG
Hiking9.70 Miles   4 Hrs   35 Mns   2.75 mph
2,100 ft AEG   1 Hour   3 Mns Break
 
no photosets
1st trip
This is a very neat hike and one that is worthwhile to check out. We did the Big Loop counterclockwise, and also did the Heart of Rocks Loop and the spur trail to Inspiration Point. My favorite part of the hike was seeing the grottoes, but the Heart of Rocks Loop was a close second. Inspiration Point is well worth checking out as well.
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May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. -- Edward Abbey
Apr 21 2018
Nightstalker
avatar

 Routes 96
 Photos 5,962
 Triplogs 1,030

53 male
 Joined Apr 25 2011
 Goodyear, AZ
Big Loop - Chiricahua National MonumentTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 21 2018
Nightstalker
Hiking9.70 Miles 1,755 AEG
Hiking9.70 Miles   5 Hrs      2.44 mph
1,755 ft AEG   1 Hour   1 Min Break13 LBS Pack
 no routes
1st trip
Today was my 50th birthday. I decided to celebrate alone with a camping trip to Wilcox and hike I was supposed to do this time last year in Chiricahua NM. I planned on doing the Big Loop clockwise from Echo Canyon trail head. It was really cold yet at 6:15. It appeared that I had the whole park all to myself. Took the side trail out to Inspiration Point, which was well worth the trip. Then on to the Heart of Rocks loop where I ran into the first other hikers for the day. I wasn't feeling particularly well this morning, so I decided that instead of completing the loop, that I just return the way I came. Ran into some boy scouts out on a training hike. Missed the turn off for the parking area and started down the Echo Canyon trail. I enjoyed the views for a bit and then turned back to the truck.
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Apr 07 2018
vanillagorilla
avatar

 Photos 303
 Triplogs 13

39 male
 Joined Apr 06 2017
 Tucson
Big Loop - Chiricahua National MonumentTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 07 2018
vanillagorilla
Hiking8.50 Miles 3,140 AEG
Hiking8.50 Miles   5 Hrs   20 Mns   1.59 mph
3,140 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Did this last weekend. Almost died, not really but I felt like I was going to. It was my first big hike. Here are my notes; I went counter clockwise. I started at 0930 and got back to my car at 1500. I skipped inspiration point.
Echo Canyon loop was incredible. It was high elevation and had some awesome vistas of the hoodoos and surround area. It had quite a bit of traffic on it but I was by myself and so it was nice to walk and talk with strangers. This was probably my favorite stretch.
Upper Rhyolite was nice at the bottom. Getting down was a little hairy in places but I'm a weakling. The bottom of the canyon I felt like I was no longer in Arizona, very beautiful area and luckily there was no water in the creek.
Sarah Deming. I ate lunch just before starting up this trail. And up and up it goes! It was very pretty and luckily there was a stout breeze to keep things cool. A very pretty trail and plenty of shade to go around but nothing "picture worthy".
Heart of the Rocks Loop. The real reason anyone goes, I think? Very cool to walk around and be close to the hoodoos. My second favorite probably for two reasons. 1 is I was tired by this point and so my energy levels dipped. The second is the trail can be sketchy in places. Not dangerous but not an easy relaxing walk through the woods either.
From there I did the balanced rock trail which I found quite dull, with signs of a recent-ish forest fire? This was my least favorite.
I skipped inspiration point, I was tired.
Mushroom rock was nice. The only part I hated was every step down meant I was going to have to come back up. Very well shaded area though and flatish based on the rest of the loop at this point.
Ed Riggs felt like just a way to get back to the parking lot than a real trail meant to enjoy.

Overall, towards the end of my journey I was ready to be done. I just wanted to be home, which is probably why I am sitting at my house today instead of on my way to a new trail. I am really glad I did it though. I have since recommended it to several coworkers all week.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Isolated
_____________________
Oct 09 2017
leonesiegel
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 Photos 1,328
 Triplogs 292

63 male
 Joined Jan 15 2010
 Scottsdale, AZ
Big Loop - Chiricahua National MonumentTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Oct 09 2017
leonesiegel
Hiking9.30 Miles 3,140 AEG
Hiking9.30 Miles   6 Hrs   32 Mns   1.91 mph
3,140 ft AEG   1 Hour   40 Mns Break
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Chose this "less strenuous" circuit to the Heart of Rocks, long hike, long day with many breaks. Lucky enough to see a coatimundi with a young one! Many animals on this two day trip, night drive back to Willcox was nerve wracking with rabbit, mice and javelina road crossings, slowed car down considerably! Last time in this park was twenty-one years ago, long overdue! At that visit had taken the trail from Visitor Center to Heart of Rocks. What a grand park is this, so beautiful tucked away in our state.
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Jul 03 2016
WanderingWildcat
avatar

 Photos 116
 Triplogs 12

39 female
 Joined Jun 06 2016
 Tucson
Big Loop - Chiricahua National MonumentTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Jul 03 2016
WanderingWildcat
Hiking9.45 Miles 3,140 AEG
Hiking9.45 Miles   4 Hrs   16 Mns   2.21 mph
3,140 ft AEG10 LBS Pack
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Hiked the "Big Loop," which is comprised of Echo Canyon Trail, Upper Rhyolite Trail, Sarah Deming Trail, Heart of Rocks Loop, Big Balanced Rock Trail, Mushroom Trail, and Ed Riggs Trail. Great hike, except for rattlesnakes.
_____________________
4 archives
Apr 02 2016
The_Eagle
avatar

 Guides 9
 Routes 805
 Photos 10,325
 Triplogs 1,636

65 male
 Joined Jan 20 2009
 Far NE Phoenix,
Chiricahua NM Loop with Sugarloaf, AZ 
Chiricahua NM Loop with Sugarloaf, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Apr 02 2016
The_Eagle
Hiking15.72 Miles 3,281 AEG
Hiking15.72 Miles   7 Hrs   4 Mns   2.54 mph
3,281 ft AEG      52 Mns Break14 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
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
Culture
Culture
Benchmark

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Echo Canyon Pools to trickle Pools to trickle

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Hunt Canyon Pools to trickle Pools to trickle

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Rhyolite Canyon Pools to trickle Pools to trickle

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Sarah Deming Canyon Pools to trickle Pools to trickle
_____________________
There is a very fine line between "hobby" and "mental illness."
Dave Barry
Mar 18 2016
ddgrunning
avatar

 Guides 2
 Routes 230
 Photos 4,513
 Triplogs 378

50 male
 Joined Apr 13 2011
 Gilbert, AZ
Big Loop - Chiricahua National MonumentTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 18 2016
ddgrunning
Hiking12.71 Miles 2,733 AEG
Hiking12.71 Miles   5 Hrs   57 Mns   2.44 mph
2,733 ft AEG      45 Mns Break
 
1st trip
First time in the Chiricahuas--what a cool place :) . We planned a spring-break outing around a tour of Kartchner Caverns. Original idea was to leave Phoenix on Friday, hike Picacho Peak on the way and spend the night at the campground at Kartchner Caverns and then get up the next morning for the cave tour. We made our reservations several weeks in advance; however, when I checked my confirmation the night before we left, I realized that somehow I had reserved a campsite for Mar. 1-2, rather than 18-19. :tt: No campsites at any established campgrounds were available at that time. So, the last-minute scramble was on.... Ultimately, we secured a reservation at the Best Western in Benson, AZ (I recommend it--beat expectations).

We left Phx early Friday and drove straight to Chiricahua Nat'l Monument. The no-fee entrance was nice. We read that the road to the top of the park was closed just past the campground, so we knew we would need to start our hike at the visitors center--which adds about 3 miles to the big loop hike. No big deal. We had planned to devote the afternoon to hiking anyway.

The parking area was full when we arrived, but we found a spot and after a quick lunch at the TH, we were off on the Lower Rhyolite Trail. I was amazed at the quality of the trail construction. The CCC sure did a great job on this one. If you are a trail architect connoisseur, this is your place. Enjoyed the pine/forest hiking and then headed up Upper Rhyolite and Echo Canyon. We loved the area I think is called "Wall Street," where we weaved in, around and through the narrow pathways through the towering natural skyscrapers. The Grottoes were fun on Echo Canyon as well.

Coming down Ed Riggs was another forest-walking treat, with views of the hoodoos on the opposite canyon wall. Then it was up the drainage along Mushroom Rock trail and out to the junction with Inspiration Point trail. My son and I couldn't pass up the opportunity to see the point, though my wife and daughters were content to continue down towards the Heart of Rocks loop. So, the "boys" picked it up to a jog and took in the views at Inspiration Point, then hustled back to meet up with the "girls," which we did at the Big Balanced Rock.

The Heart of Rocks loop is a real highlight, which kept the camera busy. Then we closed the lollipop part of the big loop off by heading down the Sarah Deming trail, to more forest views. By this point the sun was beginning to get low on the horizon, shading us on the eastern exposure and casting warm light on the hoodoos opposite us on the west and north facing walls of the canyon. The views were beautiful, and the temperatures awesome.

By the time we were finishing off the return trip on Lower Rhyolite, the sun was setting and we arrived to an empty parking lot at the visitors center. I guess you could say we closed down the place.

On our way out, we stopped at the Faraway Ranch day use area, and took advantage of the picnic area and grills to light up some fire and charcoal to enjoy our "camping dinner." We had the place to ourselves. And, after dinner and some s'mores, we packed up and headed back to Benson, where a dip in the jacuzzi, followed by a warm shower were in order. Maybe, the whole campground falling through wasn't such a bad thing after all ....

Got up the next morning and enjoyed a fun tour through the Rotunda and Throne Rooms at Kartchner Caverns and then spent a couple of hours checking out Tombstone before calling it a day and returning to Phoenix.

Great trip!
Fauna
Fauna
Acorn Woodpecker
_____________________
1 archive
Sep 30 2015
AZWanderingBear
avatar

 Guides 27
 Routes 61
 Photos 2,620
 Triplogs 700

65 male
 Joined Jan 23 2008
 Phoenix, AZ
Big Loop - Chiricahua National MonumentTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Sep 30 2015
AZWanderingBear
Hiking9.71 Miles 3,140 AEG
Hiking9.71 Miles
3,140 ft AEG
 
1st trip
We were up at dawn on day 4 of our 8-day SE AZ road trip. The night before we'd been chastised by the camp host at Bonita Campground for taking a shower. Apparently no water was allowed to touch the ground inside the campground. We were also not to tie anything to a tree or use the sink in the rest rooms for anything beyond washing our hands. She said we should have brought a lot of baby wipes if we planned to camp and then returned to her 40-foot motor home and ran the generator all night. With a quick breakfast we headed out to the Echo Canyon trailhead, conspiring along the way on the best method for stealth showers.

Started the Big Loop counter clockwise, so down Echo Canyon trail. Doesn't take too long to get to the grottoes. The rhyolite formations are reminiscent of the Fairyland Loop at Bryce in a way. We were all smiles and anxious for what might be ahead. Wall Street was impressive and then we descended into the cool of Echo Canyon. Progress was slow as we took time to ooh and ahh and photograph everything.

Hit the Hailstone Trail and could see across the canyon where we'd be gaining back the elevation we were losing. The Upper Rhyolite turned us back west with several stream crossings. Soon we began the slow slog up the Sarah Deming trail along the west side of the canyon of the same name. While it was a steady uphill, there was shade and the grade was such that we made good time until the last hundred yards or so. The last bit of scrambling brought us back up on top of the formations and right to the beginning of the Heart of Rocks Loop.

The Heart or Rocks Loop is a geologic playground. The trail requires a bit of scrambling and can be difficult to follow at times. We did notice that back in the day someone had painted red footprints on the slick rock areas. While worn, these were still faintly visible at just the right time to keep a careful trekker on the trail. A majority of the named formations are along this trail. Signs point out the more famous -- Duck on a Rock, Punch and Judy, Thors Hammer, Pinnacle Balanced Rock, etc. We took a lunch break amongst the rhyolite formations. On our way back out of the Loop we heard voices and ran into the only hikers we'd see during the entire hike -- a group of ladies who were going clockwise and thus opposite us.

Turned east on Big Balanced Rock Trail and paid homage to its namesake. This trail was level and moderately scenic. We moved quickly. I'd kept the Inspiration Point Trail as a way to extend or shorten the total hike. If we were doing well, then it was out to the point. If we were dragging then we'd blow it off. We didn't even stop to discuss it and turned to the point. The hike is pretty flat. This area was burned years back, so there's not much to see until you hit the end. Then it is just pick a way you want to scramble out to enjoy the view and take photos down the length of Rhyolite Canyon. It was truly inspirational.

The only thing left was Mushroom Rock Trail and then Ed Riggs back to the trailhead. We were tiring and we descended along Mushroom Rock knowing we'd have to climb again right at the end of the hike. It was still pretty, but the heat and the climb made us ready to be reminiscing on how great the day had been as we sipped a cold one back in camp.

With high spirits and high fives we topped out at the parking lot. Definitely the highlight of our days in the Chiricahuas.
Geology
Geology
Rhyolite
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Light

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Echo Canyon Pools to trickle Pools to trickle

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Hunt Canyon Pools to trickle Pools to trickle

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Sarah Deming Canyon Medium flow Medium flow
Nice flow down in the canyon

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Totem Canyon Pools to trickle Pools to trickle
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All you have is your fire...
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4 archives
Sep 26 2015
John9L
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 Joined Mar 12 2004
 Scottsdale, AZ
Big Loop - Chiricahua National MonumentTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Sep 26 2015
John9L
Hiking9.16 Miles 1,994 AEG
Hiking9.16 Miles
1,994 ft AEG
 
no photosets
1st trip
Our original plan for the day was to drive up to Rustler Park and hike to Chiricahua Peak. The forest service told us the road was open for the weekend but will be closed on Monday for two weeks. We discovered the road was closed with no access to Rustler Park. We both scratched our heads and thought what a joke! We decided to return to the Monument and hit the Big Loop which we planned on hiking the next day.

We parked in the Echo Canyon parking lot and headed south. All of these trails are in excellent condition and are well signed. We made quick time as we dropped into a valley and then made the easy climb up the other side. From there we detoured over to Inspiration Point and admired the view. We got there relatively early so we took a quick break and continued on to the Heart of Rocks. This is a sweet area with cool formations. We took a lunch here and enjoyed the views.

After lunch we finished the loop and then continued down the Sarah Deming Trail and headed towards Echo Canyon. This is another sweet area with cool formations. The going was very easy as we gained elevation and topped out around early afternoon. This is the premier hike in the Monument and well worth your time.
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2 archives
average hiking speed 2.15 mph
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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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