Cochise County Highpoint Trip Report

Chiricahua Peak (9,759 ft)

Date: Novemebr 4, 2005
Authors: Dave Covill, Roy Wallen, Bill Jacobs

This cohp has been written up in the past rather nicely but there are some subtle points to be made that have not been mentioned previously.

We drove in from Willcox on AZ 181 and reached Pinery Canyon Road (FR 42). This is near the entrance to CHIR Nat Mon. Reset to zero here. Drive south on FR 42.

At mile 7.0 note a sign for Rustler Park & Portal. At mile 11.6 reach Onion Saddle and FR 42D. At mile 13.6 reach a "T"-junction at Rustler Park & Bar Foot Park, follow 42D to Rustler Park. At mile 14.4 arrive at Rustler Park. This road was a decent gravel road, at times rough, but nothing most cars couldn't negotiate slowly.

There is a gate at the far end of the Park and was closed recently, possibly late October, by the USFS, as related by regulars we met. Apparently it is a seasonal thing and has nothing to do with whether or not it has actually snowed.

From here, the road we walked was about 1.5 miles long to Long Park and was passable by a Highlander or Forester but not a low clearance 2WD car. I give it a Mitchler/Covill 4WD grade of 3. The initial road to Rustler Park would be a 2.

While we did see signs of forest fires, only once did we walk 5 feet around a downed log, and stepped 15-18 inches over two more near the summit. No problems at all.

Others have adequately described the trail to the top. Of note, you wrap around several hills before finally getting to the Peak. Nice views alternating both east and west. We loved the summit area, with its portable BM. We enjoyed meeting a half dozen women about our age or a bit older from Green Valley, a retirement community near Tucson. They had tented car-side at Rustler Park and were coming down from the peak. The leader proceeded to tell us Lemmon was the 2nd highest peak in AZ (Graham? Baldy?), and that Wrightson was the HP of Pima, not Santa Cruz. She was hacked when we straightened her out, and stomped off, leaving us to gab with the other ladies for a bit.

It took us 2:20 up, and 2:00 down, including gab time.

Chiricahua National Monument is a must-see when in the area, very cool geology. It is much lower than Chiricahua Peak, and is covered with cactus, rattlers, etc... Dos Cabezas Peak is halfway down from Willcox, and is a very prominent landmark, with two giant pinnacles atop it.