Chiricahua National Monument – Small Group Tours of Arizona
Visit this land of unique geology, rare wildlife and peaceful human history on our adventure tours.
One of the many “sky-island” ranges in southern Arizona, the Chiricahua Mountains rise like islands from the surrounding grassland and form an interesting portion of our small group tours. The Chiricahua Mountains are part of the Madrean Archipelago, a collection of forty neighboring mountain groups that lie between the Colorado Plateau and the Sierra Madre Occidental. The Chiricahua Mountain Range is an inactive volcanic range twenty miles wide and forty miles long. It rises up dramatically from the valley floor to over nine thousand feet, cresting in a series of uneven, volcanic-like mountain tops. At the northern end of the range is an amazing area of striking geological features and biodiversity. There are approximately twelve thousand acres of wild, rugged terrain within which the rock formations and a great ecological diversity are protected. The eight mile paved scenic drive and eighteen miles of day-use hiking trails provide ample opportunities to discover the natural beauty of this nearly 12,000 acre site.
Deep in these steep, forested valleys and beneath the rocky peaks are the remains of fierce geological activity contained within Chiricahua National Monument. A forest of rock spires eroded from layers of ash deposited by the Turkey Creek Caldera eruption 27 million years ago. By far the most noticeable natural features in the monument are the rock pinnacles which the monument was created to protect. Rising sometimes hundreds of feet into the air, many of these pinnacles are balancing on a small base, seemingly ready to topple over at any time. The Civilian Conservation Corps, during their occupation here in the 1930s, named many of the rock formations that can be seen today. Other natural features related to the geology of the monument include shallow caves, faults, lava flows, mountain formations, and the Turkey Creek Caldera.
As well as the exceptional geological aspects of this park, the monument hosts a biological crossroads, a meeting-place of four ecosystems: Rocky Mountains, Sierra Madre Mountains, Sonoran & Chihuahuan Deserts. The convergence of these four systems makes this area unusually rich in both floral and faunal diversity. In all, there are 8 amphibians, 46 species of reptiles, 71 species of mammals, 171 species of birds, and uncounted numbers of insects that regularly occur at Chiricahua National Monument. This area was identified as one of the ‘Important Bird Areas’ by the American Bird Conservancy. Famous for its avian diversity, with over three hundred bird species found in the Chiricahua Mountains, and almost 200 species of birds documented in Chiricahua National Monument itself. The diversity of flora species is unlike anywhere else in the United States, Chiricahua boasts many plant communities, including grasslands, deciduous and evergreen forests, scrublands, and deserts. These plant communities intermix throughout the Monument, creating a truly eclectic collection of species associations. A total of over 1000 plant species grow within the monument’s boundaries, many endemic only to Chiricahua. Distribution of these plants is dependent on many factors, such as elevation, soils, aspect, slope, and water availability. Because these factors change so drastically over short distances, the Monument is truly a mosaic of plant communities and assemblages.
Read about these other attractions visited on our small group adventure tours by clicking on the images above. We offer many exciting tour options across the west, visit our homepage for an overview.
If you have any questions about our small group tour of Arizona and New Mexico please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our Southwest Adventure tours are scheduled in the prettiest times of the year and can be reserved for a group as a custom adventure travel tour between the official dates.