For Memorial Day Weekend, my husband Dominick and our friends Shota, Shelby, and I spent a long weekend camping in Chiricahua National Monument. We had an amazing time! We hung out at camp playing games, drinking beers and margaritas, and eating good food. We also explored some of the hiking trails in the park.
Here’s everything you need to know about spending a long weekend camping in Chiricahua National Monument.
What is it?
Nicknamed “A Wonderland of Rocks”, Chiricahua National Monument is a 12,025-acre site full of monstrous rock stacks made of compacted lava ash from the eruption of an ancient volcano, flora and fauna. It’s a spectacular place for birding and is home to skunks, turkey vultures, deer, bears, and more! According to the NPS website, there are 71 species of mammals, 46 species of reptiles, 8 amphibians, 171 species of birds, and uncounted numbers of insects that live in Chiricahua National Monument.
The park also has a lot of history! In the 1860s the Chiricahua Apache lived in the Southwest for hundreds of years. They were followed by pioneers, homesteaders and African American soldiers in the 10th Cavalry.
Getting there from Phoenix
Chiricahua National Monument is in South Eastern Arizona near a town called Wilcox. It’s about three and a half hours from Phoenix and two hours from Tucson.
There are no entrance fees!
Camping in the Chiricahua National Monument
If you plan to camp, you will be in the shady Bonita Canyon Campground. The campground features bathrooms (with flush toilets), trash and recycle cans, bear boxes and well-developed campsites. And I have to say… we got the best spot in the park (#13).
Individual campsite fees are $20 per night or $10 for holders of an Interagency Senior or Access Pass. You can book your site here!
The campsite was clean and even though it was a holiday weekend, it was pretty quiet! Like I said, if you want the best tent site in the park, go for #13. It was a large and relatively private spot on the outskirts of the campground.
With 17-miles of day-use hiking trails, there’s a lot to choose from! Here is a list of easy, moderate and strenuous hikes in the park.
Here are the hikes we did:
Silver Spur Meadow Trail
This is an easy 1.2-mile hike that winds you through the canyon near Bonita Canyon Campsite. It takes you across some creek beds (that were dry in late May), past a gorgeous meadow and to the Stafford Cabin which was built in the 1880s. It was a great walk to take at dusk!
Echo Canyon Loop
We only wanted to do one “big” hike and this is the one we picked because it got you up close and personal to the rock formations! The 3.3 moderate hike wound us through rock formations and a densely wooded area. A majority of the hike had direct sun exposure so if you are hiking in the summer, be sure to start early and take lots of water.
Tip: Hike this loop counter-clockwise since walking up the Ed Riggs Trail is less strenuous than the Echo Canyon trail.
*Note: Pets are only allowed on the lower canyon trails between the campground, visitor center, and entrance station on the Silver Spur Trail, Faraway Ranch Trail, and the campground.
Overall, we had an amazing long weekend camping in Chiricahua National Monument! We all really loved the park and hope to visit again someday! Check out my Instagram for videos from hikes in the park and let me know if you have any questions about visiting!