If you begin your trip at the northern trailhead, on FR 42, you’ll start out among scrub oak and yucca on a dry slope and climb 2,000 feet, first to Ida Saddle and then to Barfoot Park. Vegetation along lower stretches of the trail is stunted enough to provide occasional views of the rocky bluffs and forested slopes that hem in Pinery Canyon (area is unavailable). Switchbacks are the rule along much of this part of the trail as it climbs from oak-juniper woodlands into a mature pine forest. First, however, it passes through an old burned area which in 1953 was the site of a large fire called the Ida Burn. The burn is marked with a sign, and nature is well on its way to reforesting the area. Above the burn, one of the most impressive stands of pines in the Chiricahuas shades the trail and carpets it with pine needles. At Ida Saddle, you may choose to bushwhack your way along game trails and rough pathways over to the twin summits of Ida Peak (the easternmost one has the best view). From the saddle, it’s a fairly easy mile to Barfoot Park and trail’s end.
Directions: From Tucson, take I-10 east 81 miles. Turn right (south) on AZ 186 and continue for 23 miles. Turn left (east) on AZ 181 toward Chiricahua National Monument and drive 4 miles, then turn right (south) on FR 42. Continue up Pinery Canyon 6 miles to FR 42C and the northern trailhead. Or, continue up FR 42, turn right on 42D and right on FR 357 to southern trailhead (high clearance vehicle recommended). Forest Roads 42 is a gravel road suitable for passenger vehicles. This road is open April through November. The road is not plowed and is usually closed following early or late season snowstorms. This road is rough and dusty and may be muddy and slick after a rain.
Good views, lightly used, big trees, mountain meadow (Barfoot Park). USGS Map(s): Rustler Park