Monday, December 21, 2009


The Chiricahua Mountains are one of the many "sky island" ranges in southern Arizona. They rise like islands from the surrounding grassland "sea". The Chiricahua Apaches called this land a Wonderland of Rocks.

This forest of rock spires was eroded from layers of ash deposited by the Turkey Creek Volcano eruption 27 million years ago.

During the 1860's and 1870's, the Chiricahua Mountains provided a refuge for the Apache tribe who, led by the famous chiefs Cochise and Geronimo, carried out the last major series of attacks on white settlers before finally being defeated in 1886.

The Chiricahua National Monument occupies an area only 5 by 6 miles. The scenic drive ends at Massai Point (elevation 6,870 feet) where several trails branch off, descending into canyons and towards the main rock formations, which are not visible from the road. On the way, the scenic drive follows the course of a stream along Bonita Canyon for most of the route.

The Organ Pipe is a sloping cliff face, weathered into many rocky columns.

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