Chiricahua National Monument
The Chiricahua National Monument is federal park, and part of the National Park Service. Located in southeastern Arizona, the park boasts radical rock formations resultant of a brutal volcanic eruption that occurred nearly 30 million years ago.
- The best single natural formation to check out at the Chiricahua National Monument is the balanced rock formations. Balanced rock formations seem visually impossible but are scientifically logical. The basic idea is this: an enormous rock sits atop a foundation that is both smaller and thinner than the rock. It doesn’t make sense to look at, but the balance of the weight and the shape of the rock makes it perfectly safe to stand beneath. Be sure to check out Big Balanced Rock.
- For nature lovers, Chiricahua National Monument offers a great camping site. The park incorporates grass lands in which the ecosystems of the Rocky and Sierra Madre Mountains and Chihuahuan and Sonoran deserts. Campers are afforded the opportunity to experience the expanse of the southwestern desert landscape while encountering animals such as white-tail deer, bears, coati-mundis (rare, raccoon like animals) and a variety of snakes, lizards and birds. Remeber, always pack your food away in airtight containers so the bears don't come looking for a snack.
- If you’re a hiking enthusiast, the Chiricahua National Monument will knock your socks off. The park is home to countless enormous rhyolite tuffs, or huge, mountainous rock formations composed of hardened and partially eroded piles of volcanic ash. The National Park Service recommends a number of trail loops, based on length and degree of difficulty. The Big Loop is a strenuous 15+ mile hike includes Echo Canyon, Upper Rhyolite Canyon, Sarah Deming, Heart of Rocks, Big Balanced Rock, Inspiration Point, Mushroom Rock and Ed Riggs trails. Don't forget to bring lots of water!
- History buffs, make sure you check out the Faraway Ranch Historic District. Faraway Ranch was the home of the original European settlers of Bonita Canyon. Dating to the late 19th century, the home thrived as a guest ranch from 1917 to 1972 and is now a museum detailing the history of European settlement in the area. The district preserves a large portion of land on which the Apache took their last stand against westward expansion in the States and contains monuments and historical artifacts concerning the Apache.
Posted on: Apr. 24, 2011