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. The Ericksons and Riggs were instrumental in persuading Congress to protect this "Wonderland of Rocks," so much so that in 1924 the Chiricahua National Monument was created.
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.

Colorful image of night sky imaging showing low light pollution.
Explore the Night Sky

Chiricahua protects dark night skies and is a great place to stargaze.

Mountain ranges and a few trees fading into the distance.
What is a Sky Island?

Discover the unique aspects of sky island.

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.

Fire burning in grass below a tree.
Fire Regime

Fire has shaped the landscape of Chiricahua National Monument.

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

Mountain lion walking in wash.
Mammals of Chiricahua

What mammals could you see on your visit?

Large brown and cream male turkey.
Gould's Turkey

Gould's turkeys were successfully reintroduced into the Chiricahua Mountains.

Green and red parrot on branch.
Thick-billed Parrot

Discover the story of thick-billed parrots in the Chiricahua Mountains.

Rattlesnake with black tail

Learn about rattlesnakes in southern Arizona.


Last updated: February 9, 2019

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12856 E Rhyolite Creek Rd
Willcox, AZ 85643


520 824-3560

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