Chiricahua Wilderness

Area Status: Open
This area is Open

Chiricahua Wilderness

The Chiricahua Wilderness is home to a fascinating diversity of both plant and animal life, as well as some of the Southwest’s most spectacular geology. Climaxed by 9,797 foot Chiricahua Peak, this 87,700-acre Wilderness covers the upper slopes and inner canyons of the largest mountain range in the “Sky Island” region. Here, you will find views international in scope set in an area that supports a variety of birds and other wildlife, some of which are more commonly thought of as denizens of subtropical habitats in Mexico or Central America. This natural cornucopia attracts nature lovers from all over the world. The sharp ridges, high peaks and deep canyons of the Chiricahuas once served as a home and refuge to Chiricahua Apaches led by Cochise and Geronimo. Later, the area attracted prospectors, loggers and ranchers searching to find fortune or a home with elbow room in America’s far corners. Today, the Chiricahua Wilderness with its extensive system of trails provides an opportunity for nature lovers to engage in a more gentle quest, one of self-renewal, inspiration and personal discovery.

At a Glance

Restrictions: Motorized and mechanized vehicles and equipment, including mountain bikes, are not permitted in Wilderness. Please abide by Wilderness rules and observe NO TRACE! ethics.
Closest Towns: 100 miles east of Tucson, 40 miles northeast of Douglas, 45 miles southeast of Willcox, 45 miles southwest of Lordsburg, New Mexico. (Straight line distances, not road mileages.)
Water: Water is available in most canyons and at springs along the Crest year-round. Purification of water
Operated By: Douglas Ranger District
Information Center: Douglas Ranger District 520-364-3468

General Information

Directions: FR 42D to the Crest Trail #270 at Rustler Park; FR 42 to South Fork Trail #243 near Portal; FR 74E to Rucker Trail #222 at Rucker Recreation Area. Trails in Wilderness: Major trails are the Crest #270, Rucker #222, and South Fork #243. Other trails include # 43, 221, 224, 228, 246, 247, 248, 263, 264 & 352.


Nature Viewing

Hide detail HIDE

Viewing Wildlife

Viewing Scenery

Diverse flora and fauna, diverse recreation opporunities (marked trails, primitive trails, trailless areas), diverse history. Maps: Coronado National Forest Recreation Map (Chiricahua, Peloncillo and Dragoon Mtns). USGS Quads: Rustler Park, Chiricahua Peak, Portal, Portal Peak, Fife Peak, Stanford Canyon, Swede Peak. Trail conditions range from primitive trails requiring map and compass reading skills to well-maintained, signed trails accessible from main trailheads. Black bears are plentiful in this area. Hang your food out of reach, keep a clean camp and pack out what you pack in.
Areas & Activities


  Elevation : 
5,200 feet - 9,797 feet