Hiking to the Chiricahua National Monument from the Eastside

This weeks hike with the Portal Rodeo Hiking Club was special, a route from Whitetail Canyon across the Chiricahua Mountains to the Chiricahua National Monument.  The hike started at the same parking spot as the trail to Indian Cave and the base of Cochise Head just past Hilltop Arizona, but the trail was up one canyon to the west.  After a little less than 3 miles and 700' of elevation gain the group was met with a startling view, cars on Bonito Canyon Road in the Chiricahua National Monument, quite a shock after hiking up from the quiet of the canyon. After a short discussion, everyone proceeded up a dirt road another mile with 800' of elevation gain to the King of Lead Mine which lies within the Monument.  The King of Lead mine lies near a limestone/rhyolite contact and several veins of galena are visible in the ceiling and back wall of a short walking adit.  Below the mine tailings lies a grill from an old Schramm drilling rig.

After lunch most of the group proceeded back down the road while 2 chose to hike down another ridge to the trail from Indian Cave, arriving back at the vehicles before the group.  The total round trip was 8 miles along an easily followed trail that sees little use.  The map of the hike can be found in the sidebar or here.

Google Earth screen capture of the hiking route to the Chiricahua National Monument.  The green line marks the boundary between the Chiricahua National Monument and the Coronado National Forest.

A view from the King of Lead Mine across the Chiricahua National Monument.

Portal Rodeo Hiking Club member with veins of galena in the King of Lead Mine.

Schramm grill from old drilling rig


  1. You wrote up a nice composition and great pictures.

  2. Thank you. It was a wonderful hike, I had no idea how easy it is to hike into the Monument from the east side of the Chiricahuas.

  3. Beautiful. A great relief from the frozen prarie.

  4. Sorry to hear your still frozen in. Spring will come, maybe, hopefully, at some point to the parie.