Hiking getaways near Tucson


Week of May 15-21, 1997
Hiking getaways near Tucson
Dry camping in eastern Oregon
Diving adventures in Cuba
Vacation ideas for Grenada
Planning a Mississippi canoe trip

Hiking getaways near Tucson
Question: It’s rainy here!!! Where’s a good spot to go hiking in the Southwest now — one near a major airport like Phoenix or even Flagstaff?

Bruce Jackson
Seattle, Washington

Adventure Adviser: Skip Phoenix and Flagstaff and instead fly to Tucson, gateway to Chiricahua National Monument, 120 miles southeast.

Referred to as the “Land of Standing-Up Rocks” by the Chiricahua Apaches, you’ll find 25 million-year-old massive stone columns and huge balanced rocks amid the most diverse ecosystem in Arizona. Though the rocks are a site to behold, the most impressive features of the Chiricahua National Monument are the “sky islands.”

You’ll start hiking in the Chihuahan Desert and pass through four biotic systems before you reach the Rocky Mountain Zone, where plants and animals thrive in the moisture-rich soil. A sampling of wildlife includes coatimundi, foxes, black bears, a number of rare birds like the sulfur-bellied flycatcher, and even rattlesnakes in the warmer months. There are more than 20
miles of trails in the monument, which may not sound like much, but with the added elevation gains you’ll have plenty to keep you busy for a weekend. For more information, call 520-824-3560.

To get to the monument from Tucson, take I-10 east to Willcox and Exit 340. Take Highway 186 southeast to Highway 181 which will take you to the monument. From the visitor center, there are 25 campsites for $7 per night. No backcountry camping is allowed within the monument. If you prefer to sleep in a bed, try the towns of Tombstone, Bisbee, or Willcox.

Search the archives | Ask the Adventure Adviser

©2000, Mariah Media Inc.