Nature & Science

A canyon with rock formations
In the far southeastern corner of Arizona are the impressive Chiricahua Mountains, one of several sky island mountain ranges surrounded by expansive desert grasslands. The Chiricahua Mountains are an inactive volcanic range twenty miles wide and forty miles long. It forms part of the Mexican Highland section of the Basin and Range Biogeographical Province and rises up dramatically from the valley floor to over nine thousand feet, cresting in a series of uneven, volcanic looking peaks. At the northern end of the range is an extraordinary area of striking geological features and enormous biodiversity. Tucked deep into these steep, forested valleys and beneath the craggy peaks are the remains of violent geological activity that continued for many millions of years—the pinnacles, columns, spires and balanced rocks of Chiricahua National Monument.

The Apaches called this place 'The Land of Standing-Up Rocks', a fitting name for the canyons of extraordinary rock towers. Early pioneers in the late 1800s sensed the unique beauty and singularity of the rock formations in the area. They were instrumental in persuading Congress to protect this ‘Wonderland of Rocks’, so much so that in 1924 the Chiricahua National Monument was created.
 
A bright red bird perches in a tree

Birding at Chiricahua

Southeast Arizona, and Chiricahua in particular, is a premier birding area of the country. Download the park's bird checklist for your visit

Narrow canyon of rock

Geology of the 'Wonderland of Rocks'

Rock pinnacles are the result of the erosion of compacted volcanic ash from the eruption of an ancient volcano just south of the park.

Close up of long trumpet-like purple flowers

Flora of Chiricahua

Chiricahua is at the crossroads of four biogeographical regions, boasting over 1000 plant species.

A black bear in the forest

Wildlife at Chiricahua

The unique geology, geographic location, and diverse ecology of the park all contribute to the incredible animal diversity.

A stream cuts though oak woodlands

Landscapes & Ecosystems

Water is important in any ecosystem, yet in the arid canyons of Chiricahua it takes on a fundamental role in shaping the landscape

Last updated: April 26, 2017

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12856 E Rhyolite Creek Rd
Willcox, AZ 85643

Phone:

(520) 824-3560

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