Rucker Canyon in the Chiricahua Mountains

An exceptional day combined with an exceptional hike best describes this outing with the Portal Rodeo Hiking Club.  The group headed out at 8:00 AM from Portal and meeting additional hikers in Rodeo before heading south to Rucker Canyon.  The site of a former Army supply post from the 1800's Rucker Canyon has a number of nice campgrounds along the lower reaches of the canyon.  Parking at the end of the last campground 20 hikers and 2 dogs headed upstream and up canyon along the Rucker Trail 222 in the shade on a cool January morning.  About a mile up the canyon, a series of water worn pools in the rhyolite were encountered, a very photogenic location.  While the west canyon wall was illuminated by the early morning sunlight creating some spectacular views of the vertical lichen covered rhyolite walls.  The sun eventually crested the ridge illuminating the canyon floor and providing additional warmth while following the trail.  The trail eventually departed the stream bed where Rucker Canyon turns west and the group followed a series of switchbacks up the ridge where everyone stopped for lunch and surveyed the extent of the Horseshoe Two Fire.  While the visible ridgetops showed signs of significant fire, the lower elevations and the canyon bottoms saw only ground fire which cleared out the small trees and underbrush which will lead to a healthier forest.

The hiking club covered a little over 4 miles (8 miles round trip) and 1500 ft in elevation gain to reach the ridge top.  The map for this hike may be found in the sidebar or at this link.

As a side note, the lunch stop on top of the ridge was only about a quarter of a mile, and 500 ft. above the trail in Price Canyon hiked last year, a distance by vehicle (from trailhead to trailhead) of over 30 miles.

Reflections in Rucker Canyon

The gates in Rucker Canyon

Trail sign near top of ridge


  1. This area of the boot heel sure is having some wonderful weather for January.

  2. Once out in the sun it was nice and warm, a good day for hiking.