(nr Dos Cabezas AZ)
Heading east from Cochise Stronghold, got me to Chiricahua National Monument. What a treasure of rock formations and hiking trails with spectacular views. A good video at the Visitor Center explained the history, geology and creation of the monument.
Echo Canyon Loop Trail
A paved road goes up Bonita Canyon with a few viewpoint pull-outs along the way. Near the top of the mountains was a parking lot and trail head where several trails could be accessed. The Loop trail went into Echo Canyon, and then followed the Hailstone, and Ed Riggs trails.
The trail slowly descended into the canyon through tall rock formations that reminded me of hoodoos. Giant rocks were everywhere; and, with great views across to the other side of the canyon too. After about a mile, it went into the Grottoes winding amongst the massive boulders with sudden drop-offs between them.
Near the bottom of the canyon, the trail crossed a gently flowing stream and the scenery changed a bit with lots of tall trees. More views of the opposite canyon walls appeared as the trail ascended some. At the juncture with Upper Rhyolite trail I picked up the Hailstone trail which passed by very tall rock formations.
At the intersect with Ed Riggs trail, was the Mushroom Rock trail which was closed due to flood damage. The Riggs trail headed back uphill, passing a fork for the Massai Point trail, and eventually returned to the parking area. What a fantastic hike it was!
It was an exhilarating hike into fantastic rocks and impressive views. I really enjoyed the loop trail. It was getting late, and the campground in the park was full. So, it was time for a drive into the Chiricahua Mountains to find a boondock camp.
Camp: Coronado NF – Pinery Canyon boondock
Scene: Mountains, canyons, rocks, creek, forest
See also: Chiricahua-Bonita Creek