WOW, that is one word that can describe this ride. It is all that Mr. K promised it to be. We started off down at the bottom of the hill at the Equestrian Parking area and took the Bonita Creek Trail past Faraway Ranch and then up the Silver Spur trail to the Visitor Center. From there we headed up Rhyolite Canyon before starting up a stairway of rocks up to and through Echo Canyon. Once we reached the top of that part of the trail we headed across the Ed Riggs Trail towards the Mushroom and Big Balanced Rock trails before starting our descent down the Sarah Deming trail and back down to the trailers.
Sounds easy eh! (the “eh” is just for our American readers). Well it is not! It is by far the most challenging technical trail that Brenda and I have ever ridden. It has about a 1900 foot elevation change in just over 6 miles so it was a pretty good climb. Most of that climb was on the Upper Rhyolite and Echo Canyon trails and most of it was solid rock. The trail was cut out of solid rock in many places and there were a hundreds if not thousands of stairs cut out to help us along. Our friend K calls it the escalator and other than the fact that you just don’t stand there and rise up the cliff it was sure like that. More like a Stairway to Heaven as each step and twist in the trail gave us new vista’s to enjoy. Best have a pretty steady horse under you on this one as there are a lot of ledges, or rather there are very few places that are not ledges, and it is not a place to make a misstep. That misstep could put you into Pegasus’s realm and unless you or your horse can fly nothing good would happen here. I took a lot of pictures while on this ride but hardly a one does the this ride justice.
I will include a link here to my Picasa album on the Chiricahau’s. We will certainly return to this ride in the future and maybe then I can get some better shots. There are a few at the end of the album from the Rex Allen museum in Wilcox, Az as well.
We owe thanks for this ride to K and Teresa Rogers as well as Tom Compton, Bill Roberts, and their neighbour Rex. And also to those thousands of Civilian Conservation Corp members who spent many thousands of man days carving these trails out of this spectacular place as they have in many other parks throughout America.