• Natural Bridge Trail

    Chiricahua

    National Monument Arizona

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  • Visitor Center Summer Hours in Effect Beginning May 1, 2014

    Summer hours are in effect for the visitor center from May 1 - October 12, 2014 from 8:30 am - 4:30 pm. The hikers' shuttle will leave the visitor center at 9 am. For more information call 520-824-3560 0. More »

  • Entrance and Camping Fees Waived this Summer

    From June 1 through September 30, all entrance fees will be waived and federal lands passes will not be available for purchase at the park. More »

  • Mushroom Rock Trail Closed to Horses, Hikers Use Caution

    Mushroom Rock Trail is closed to horses due to hazardous conditions caused by recent flooding. Hikers use caution. Trail is washed out in place and may be difficult to follow.

Silver Spur Meadow Trail

Silver Spur Meadow Trail
The Silver Spur Meadow Trail leaves across the street from the visitor center and winds along to Faraway Ranch. You can discover human settlement in Bonita Canyon while exploring the plant and animal species of the park. When the first white settler entered the canyon, oak and sycamore lined Bonita Creek and Newton's wash. Arizona cypress, juniper, and mesquite have taken hold in the last 125 years.

There are nearly 350 species of plants, more than 250 birds, more than 100 arthropods, more than 50 amphibians and reptiles, and more than 60 mammal species using the canyon. They depend on the water from springs, snow melt, and summer monsoon. They find refuge in caves, trees, small pools, and underground dens.

 
CCC chimney

The remains of a CCC built fireplace.

Fireplace Chimneys
The fireplaces found along the Silver Spur Meadow trail were part of the former Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) mess hall. Camp NM-2-A, Company 828 lived and worked in Bonita Canyon from June of 1934 until June of 1940. They built trails, a campground, three houses for NPS staff, a maintenance facility and other infrastructure, a fire lookout, and their own camp. Building foundations, laying pipes, and the bear cage represent just a small portion of the CCC's work in the monument. In 1948 this area became the Silver Spur Guest Ranch when Ray and Ruth Kent bought several buildings on 60 acres from the Ed and LIllian Riggs, and stopped taking customers in the late 1960's. The land and buildings were purchased by the National Park Service.

 
bear cage

CCC built bear cage.

Bear Cage
If you look on the northern slope above you while traveling west toward Faraway Ranch you will see another CCC built structure built for Cima, an orphaned black bear cub the CCC boys brought to camp as their mascot. Cima stayed in the barracks each night until the bear "took a likin' to shoes." This cage became his new sleeping quarters and had a door for easy access. By Cima's first birthday he was too big for the cage and was released in the Barfoot area in the Coronado National Forest.

 
Stafford Cabin

Stafford cabin along the Silver Spur Meadow trail.

Stafford Cabin
The Stafford cabin can be found 450 yards (411 meters) from the Faraway Ranch house. Ja Hu and Pauline Stafford were the first homesteaders to discover the abundant resources of Bonita Canyon in 1880. A hot spring provided water to irrigate their fruit trees and vegetable fields until it disappeared after the 1887 Sonora earthquake. Ja Hu earned a living by growing vegetables and fruit, which he sold to the U.S. Army at Fort Bowie and residents in nearby Willcox and Bisbee. He planted more than two acres with fruit trees, such as apples, apricots, peaches, pears, persimmons, and walnut and almond trees. The orchard lay between the Faraway Ranch house and the Stafford cabin. The cabin was purchased by the Erickson daughters following Ja Hu's death in 1918, which expanded the Faraway guest ranch operation.

On March 31, 1975, the cabin was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. This building is one of the oldest log homes in Arizona.

 

Faraway Ranch
Tours inside the Faraway Ranch House are year round, subject to change without notice. Check at the visitor center for up to date information.

Did You Know?

Geronimo and Naiche

Southeast Arizona was home to the Chiricahua Apache, under the leadership of Cochise. They surrendered for the final time in 1886 and were sent first to Florida and later to Fort Sill, Oklahoma. Many found homes in the hills of today's Chirichaua National Monument.