Chiricahua National Monument campground

Discussion in 'Arizona' started by Tukee44, May 5, 2012.

  1. Tukee44

    Tukee44 Member

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    I didn't stay there, just passed by. The CG is next to a vertical cliff between many straight up columns of rock. It is one spectacular campground. Have anyone been there?
     
  2. kitphantom

    kitphantom Well-Known Member

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    We've been there several times in the last 20+ years, though it has been several years since our last visit, so I don't know if they have changed anything major. The campsite we really likes was damaged in a flash flood before our last visit, and was no longer in use. There were 2 ephemeral stream crossings in the campground, and a length limit (maybe 22 or 24') - and scrapes in the pavement proved not everyone paid attention (as did the interesting sounds we heard a few times as people literally scraped by!).

    There is a nice walk from the campground, through the woods and across a meadow to the Faraway Ranch Historic District. DH saw javelina and coatis on a couple of walks - I missed them.
     
  3. Unstable_Tripod

    Unstable_Tripod Well, there's your problem!

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    I went to this campground with the intent to stay for 2-3 days. Unfortunately, most of the sites were too small for a trailer and the few that could admit one were all occupied. It was obviously laid out back in the era when almost everyone camped in ground tents. Nice place though -- sure wish I could have stayed.

    There are some other campgrounds in the Coronado National Forest south of the monument itself but you have to access them from the east side, through New Mexico. I decided that I didn't want to drive that far around and back even though I'd head good things about those CGs.
     
  4. kitphantom

    kitphantom Well-Known Member

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    As UT indicates, Chiricahua is one of the older-style campgrounds. Most sites are pretty small for campers, but here are several that work. It is FCFS, and I just saw an announcement that some of the campsites are closed for the balance of monsoon season. That is due to the flash flood danger in some of the campground.
    A friend and I camped there in early May. I did one of the best backing/parking jobs I've managed so far to get into my site:
    [​IMG]
    Chiricahua site 6 by kitphantom, on Flickr
    My friend's site was just across from mine, so we were both on the stream bank, dry at that point. We heard coatis each night, and one appeared to investigate her site as soon as she had the tent down and walked away.
     
  5. HiFiDave

    HiFiDave Singin round the campfire

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  6. Unstable_Tripod

    Unstable_Tripod Well, there's your problem!

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    Here's a bit more info on the Bonita Canyon CG in the monument.

    The Bonita Canyon Campground (5,400 feet) offers 25 sites on a first-come, first-serve basis. Campsite stay is limited to seven consecutive days. Hookups are not provided, but potable water is available throughout the campground. Each site includes a fire grate, picnic table, and a place to pitch a tent or park a small RV or trailer. Campground restrooms include flush toilets. Vehicles exceeding 29 feet in length are not allowed in the campground. The fee is $12 per night with 50% off for Senior Access Pass holders. Quiet hours are from 8:00 pm to 8:00 pm. Wood collection is prohibited in the monument; campers should bring firewood or charcoal with them.

    Since this CG is in bear and mountain lion territory all food, cooking appliances, utensils, storage containers (empty or full), and pet items must be kept in a closed hard-sided vehicle, day or night. This includes coolers and beverage containers regardless of use or content. Campers without vehicles must secure items in available food lockers.

    The campground is open all year. You can contact the Chiricahua National Monument visitor center at 520-824-3560 x302 for more information regarding hiking and camping in the monument.
     
  7. kitphantom

    kitphantom Well-Known Member

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    Walking over to Faraway Ranch, through the woods and meadow, is one of the things we tend to do at least once a day.
    There are the remains of the CCC camp in the woods, too.
    DH has spotted javelina, coatis, and deer on his evening walks - if I'm hiking too, we usually don't see as many animals. We still wonder what we heard on the hillside in the woods on one trip, it seemed very cat-like. (There are both bobcat and mountain lions there.)
    On this trip, we saw a bunch of the smallish deer that live in the area (coue?), and several new birds for me. This is a great birding area, BTW.
    The trip in May ended up a couple of days shorter than we'd planned. My friend was just getting over a sinus and bronchial infection, and my spring allergies transitioned into a sinus infection. Add all that on top of stove issues for both of us (mostly operator error), which meant we only had cold foods (and no coffee or tea!) for a couple of days - we headed home. It was still a great chance to get away, I spent a couple of days in Tucson before we went to Chiricahua.
     
  8. AzCactusFlower

    AzCactusFlower New Member

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    You can now reserve a site through www.recreation.gov. We're going there the second weekend of June for the first time. Hoping it won't be too hot!
     
  9. kitphantom

    kitphantom Well-Known Member

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    Since we are a good 7-8 hours away, we're happy that it is on the reservation system now. It will make it much easier to make sure we have a campsite, and to meet up with friends from Tucson. There were apparently some growing pains when it first went on, but they should be resolved by now. (Our friends went there to camp just as it was transitioning to taking reservations. It seems like the change-over occurred before everything was in place.)
    This is still one of our favorite campgrounds, even though the sites are small.
     
  10. AzCactusFlower

    AzCactusFlower New Member

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    Thanks for the info, excited to explore an area of AZ I haven't seen.
     
  11. Hoomi

    Hoomi I write everything the voices in my head tell me.

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    When it is open, Rustler Park is accessible from the Arizona side of Chiricahua National Monument. The road leading up to Rustler Park turns off from the road leading into the Monument, though it's a bit of a drive up a dirt road to get there. RP accommodates trailers up to 22', though they recommend decent ground clearance for vehicles heading up there. It's a scenic campground, high enough up to be out of the desert heat, but has no hookups or potable water.

    https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/coronado/recarea/?recid=25410
     

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