Falling Waters in the Chiricahua Mountains

Deep in the interior of the Chiricahua Mountains and several miles off trail the Portal Rodeo Hiking Club took the day to experience the falling waters of the Chirichua Mountains.   A stream exiting a canyon along a popular hiking trail was the turnoff for the falling waters hike.  No trail exists and a steep ascent was accompanied by the constant sound of falling water as hiking club members passed numerous small waterfalls in the stream bed.  The floor of the canyon cuts through a variety of colored bedrock ranging from green to black creating these small and entertaining waterfalls.  Finally, rounding a bend in floor of the canyon the final objective came into sight, an alcove with a beautiful 50 ft. high waterfall cascading over angled water worn black bedrock.  Although fire has swept the area the trees along hillsides are intact in many places, but several blowouts at side drainages are evident along the route.  The fire removed most of the fallen small trees and brush which had clogged the canyon and made the first mile a hike through open forest, but the second mile was either boulder hoping along the stream or negotiating steep slopes above the water.  Staying high allowed a number of hiking club members to enjoy lunch on top of the falls while others chose to stay low and ate in the alcove at the base of the falls.  Two flying trees were photographed during the hike in the high country one of which is shown below.

chiricahua mountains waterfall
50 ft. waterfall in the Chiricahua Mountains

flowing water
Cascading water

sky island chiricahua mountains
A flying tree in the high country of the Chiricahua Mountains


  1. What a fanatic hike I am so sorry I missed it I have not done that hike yet! The 50 foot water fall is beautiful I can almost hear it.

  2. That's the best flying tree ever. Was the hike of the Snow Shed Trail?

  3. It was quite nice listening to the falling waters all along the canyon as the stream fell over small waterfalls, then reaching the alcove with the big falls was quite a treat.

  4. Susan,

    Not the snow shed trail but further west. When you and Burt return we will have to hike it. I'm sure Chiricahua Sky Island Rodeo would like to go also.

    I only find the flying trees in the high country never at intermediate or low elevations. I believe it is an adaptive response to fires, an escape mechanism certain species of Pine have developed.

  5. Lovely shots! and it was great to hike with everyone again, even if only to the three-legged dog limit :-). Do, please, let me know when you're planning to go again, and I'll leave Sneezle at home... The yellow flowers are called Golden Smoke, Corydalis aurea.

  6. Thank you. For a little 16 yr old three legged dog Sneezle was amazing. I watched him evaluate each obstacle and then choose the easiest route around, up, or over everything in his path.

  7. I've just found this site as I'm (trying) to plan a camping/hiking trip to the Chiricahua mountains. I'd LOVE to go to this spot with the water falls. Or any water. Can you direct me to the proper trailhead? Thanks so much!