We recently checked out Whitewater Draw south of Tucson and just outside of Willcox, AZ to see the massive sandhill crane migration. You can see my post here… https://kritterspaw.com/2023/01/28/natures-wonder/. We figured while we were in the area we could check out Chiricahua National Monument as it is not far from Whitewater Draw.
Chiricahua was established as a National Monument in 1924 to protect the over 12,000 acres of ‘pinnacles’ that jut from the ground. It’s said that these pinnacles were formed by a volcanic eruption from Turkey Creek Volcano over 27 million years ago. The volcano spewed ash over 1200 square miles cascading into fields of tall spires forming layers of gray rock called rhyolite.
This isolated mountain range rises above the surrounding grassland sea as if you are climbing into a sky island. Meadows dot the landscape with scattered cactus, mesquite, sycamore, juniper, and oak trees. The remarkable spires signify the unmistakable guardians looming from the forest floor that is Chiricahua National Monument.
The area is rich with hawks, deer, and even bobcat.
The park itself rises up to 9,763 feet and when we were there we found the trails to be solid ice and snow. The pinnacles still wore patches of snow from a snowstorm earlier in the week. The cold temperatures (24F when we were there) ensured the snow lingered for our morning sunrise.