Rucker Tex Canyon #74 Scenic Drive

map thumbnail

This Forest Drive takes you up and over the southern reaches of the Chiricahua Mountains providing access to scenic canyon country, an old military camp and ranch, and several forest camps and trails. (Unfortunately, Rucker Lake no longer exists. In the aftermath of the 1994 Rattlesnake Fire, slopes denuded of vegetation eroded and washed downhill, filling the lake with silt. From the grasslands of the Sulphur Springs Valley, the road climbs into the Chiricahuas via Rucker Canyon. Arizona sycamores and cypress trees shade this perennial stream and provide habitat for birds and other wildlife, while the rocky cliffs of surrounding bluffs and mountains provide a scenic backdrop. At Camp Rucker Group Use Area, FR 74E branches off as it parallels Rucker Creek. A side trip up this road will lead you to cool high-country forests and a clear mountain stream. If you would like to take a closer look at this scenic mountain getaway, there are several trails that lead into the backcountry. Once you return to FR 74, you can continue east to the Rucker Military Camp and Ranch Historic Site. This collection of adobe buildings, a log barn, wooden fences and corrals, along with the marked trails and interpretive signs placed among them by the Forest Service, provide you with an opportunity to take another side trip, an imaginary one in this case, back to the days of the frontier. Beyond Rucker Camp, FR 74 climbs up and over the Chiricahua divide into Tex Canyon. Here, you’ll find good long distance views of the Peloncillo Range, which marks the border with both Mexico and New Mexico, and the San Simon Valley, where paved US Highway 80 leads south to Douglas or north to Cave Creek Canyon and more outstanding scenery.

At a Glance

Closest Towns: North of Douglas.
Operated By: Douglas Ranger District
Information Center: Douglas Ranger District   520-364-3468

General Information

Directions: From Douglas, take Leslie Canyon Road north. Stay on the main road, which becomes Forest Road 74, for 38 miles. From Tucson, take I-10 east 72 miles to US 191. Turn right (south) and drive 29 miles to the turnoff to dry Rucker Lake bed. Turn left (east) and drive 17 miles to the Forest boundary, where the road becomes FR 74. From this point, you can turn left to dry Rucker Lake bed (6 miles one way) or continue into Tex Canyon along FR 74 for 17 miles to US 80.


Scenic Driving

From grasslands, to foothills, to canyon and back. Big views of distant valleys and mountains. Scenic mountain stream. Access to campgrounds and trails. Historic military camp with self-guided trail. Road Conditions: Leslie Canyon Road is paved for 8 miles north of Douglas, and US 80 is paved. All other roads are graveled and suitable for passenger vehicles. Portions of this road can be made impassable by snow in winter or mud in summer. Mileage/Driving Time: 86 miles from Douglas, allow 3 hours driving time.

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities


  Area/Length : 
86 miles

  Elevation : 
5,000 feet - 6,500 feet