Indian Creek Trail #253


This long and scenic trail is in a part of the Chiricahua Range that is considerably removed from the extensive trail system that crisscrosses the Chiricahua Wilderness. Indian Creek Trail traverses a landscape of historic cattle ranches, pioneer homesteads and old roads where horse-drawn wagons wore ruts that in some places are still visible. The route described here actually passes through two canyons, climbing up and over a saddle that separates them as it moves from one into the other. Starting from the south, the trail begins off of FR 356, a 4-wheel drive road, and follows Indian Creek upstream from its confluence with East Whitetail Creek along an old wagon road. Beyond the end of the old road, views of the striking profile of Cochise Head Mountain framed by the “V”-shaped notch of the canyon are some of the best in the Chiricahuas. There is usually water running within the section called the narrows, as the underground flow of the stream is forced to the surface by the pinch of outcropping rock strata. Above the narrows, the stream forks and the trail stays with the west fork to the head of the canyon. There it climbs up and over a divide into Wood Canyon. You’ll encounter an amazing degree of biodiversity in Wood Canyon. Plants here range from ocotillo of the Sonoran desert to Douglas-fir of the Canadian Zone. In some places you can see them both at the same time. There are extensive stands of bigtooth maple and sycamore in the area too, making it well worth a visit in the fall of the year. The only permanent creek water in the northern Chiricahua Range is located along two stretches of this stream. Wood Canyon Park, near the head of the canyon, is one of the most lushly wooded basins in the Chiricahuas. As with Indian Canyon, Wood Canyon is the site of a number of historic homesteads. In some places all that remains is a mound of rubble that once was a cabin. In others, a few fruit trees survive.

At a Glance

Usage: Light
Restrictions: Near the trailhead, the stream enters private property and the trail ends at Forest Road 700.
Water: Purification of water is recommended prior to use.
Operated By: Douglas Ranger District
Information Center: Douglas Ranger District   520-364-3468

General Information

Directions: From Tucson, take I-10 east 124 miles to San Simon. To the north trailhead, take exit 378, turn right (south) to Wood Canyon which becomes FR 700. Travel 15 miles to the end of the road. To south trailhead, take exit 382, turn right (south) to Portal. Travel 17 miles to FR 356. Turn right and travel 7 miles to the end of the road.



Hide detail HIDE

Day Hiking

Good views of Cochise Head Mtn., Scenic canyons.Upper Sonoran to Canadian Zone diversity. Fall colors. Historic ranches, homesteads, mines. Presently, both trailheads for this trail are located on or next to private land. Please respect the property and privacy of the landowner. USGS Map(s): Cochise Head
Elevation desc4,700 - 7,000 feet
Difficulty Level: More Difficult


Areas & Activities


  Area/Length : 
9.3 miles

  Elevation : 
4,700 feet - 7,000 feet