ECHO CANYON TO VISITOR CENTER
LENGTH: 4.2 miles/6.8 km
Echo Canyon, Upper Rhyolite Canyon and Lower Rhyolite Canyon Trails
ACCESS: Echo Canyon Trailhead
TRAIL: Mostly downhill through spectacular rock formations in Echo Canyon. White-throated swifts are common in the summer. One stream crossing on the Upper Rhyolite segment can be hazardous if runoff is significant. The last half of the hike is in shaded oak woodlands.
Chiricahua National Monument occupies an area only 5 by 6 miles. A winding, 8 mile scenic drive climbs steadily from the entrance, past the visitor center, campground and several roadside viewpoints to Massai Point (elevation 6,870 feet) where several trails branch off, descending into ravines and towards the main rock formations, which are not visible from the road.
We passed this curious doe having breakfast in the trees...
Bryce Canyon and Cedar Breaks in Utah, although without as much color - the rocks are grey or brown, but often with a covering of bright green lichen.
Horseshoe Two fire eventually burned it's way into Chiricahua National Monument...
Three and a half hours and 4.2 miles (my tracker confirmed this), we were back at the visitor center parking lot. What an awesome hike! With roughly 17 miles of hiking trails, there is still plenty to see but that will have to wait for another trip.
As we were heading out of the park, we stopped to check this out...
The Faraway Ranch Historical District - Faraway Ranch Tours are available on Saturdays and Sundays
Faraway Ranch was the home of Swedish Immigrants, Neil and Emma Erickson. Emma Peterson bought a two-room cabin in December of 1886. After she and Neil Erickson marries in January 1887 they settled on the 160-acre homestead. The couple struggled with farming so Neil worked in Bisbee as a carpenter, leaving Emma alone two to three months at a time. In 1898 the couple expanded the cabin to a two-story, board-and-batten style frame house. In 1903 Neil became the first ranger for the Chiricahua Forest Reserve. With Neil staying home for the first time in their marriage, the house grew again. Neil and Emma had three children, Lillian, Ben and Hildegarde.
By 1915 Neil had constructed a two and half-story building with adobe and board-and-batten walls. Two years after Neil finished the house the Forest Service transferred him to Flagstaff.
The house experienced another phase of a building when Neil and Emma's daughter Lillian married Ed Riggs in 1923. Ed was able to add the comforts needed for a modern and successful guest ranch operation, including bathrooms, oil heat, and electricity. He enclosed the north porch to make a large dining room.
Faraway Ranch guests could explore the grounds, swim in the pool, or relax with a book. There was birdwatching, hiking, and they could take their picnic lunch up to the Wonderland of Rocks by horseback. After dinner guests might retire to the living room for music and Lillian's tales of the wild, wild west.
It was going on 2:00 by the time we got home...this is the Sandys Restaurant and RV Park as we approach the entrance on hwy 181...
A fabulous day! Although not nearly as colourful we think this hike is number two after Bryce Canyon...you just have so much to look at. Now it's time to relax...as Steve laments about the 239 pictures he has to edit!