The chiricahua wilderness is one of Arizona’s oldest. First established as an 18,000- acre preserve in 1933, the National Forest portion of the wilderness was expanded to 87,700 acres by the 1984 Arizona Wilderness Act. A 9,440- acre unit in the Chiricahua National Monument was set aside as wilderness in 1976, and another 850 acres in 1984.
This section treats the National Forest and National Monument wilderness units as one. Named for the Chiricahua Apaches— Geronimo, Cochise, and others—who once roamed the territory, the Chiricahua range is the largest and perhaps best known of southeastern Arizona’s “sky island” mountain ranges. Lying close to the border with Mexico on the south and the continental divide on the east, the Chiricahuas provide habitat for Sierra Madrean, Rocky Mountain, eastern, and western species of plants, animals, and birds. This trail guide covers an area with more than 100 miles of trails.
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