Sugarloaf Mountain is a gentle dome standing quietly above the hoodoo-studded magic of Chiricahua National Monument, called “The Land of Standing-Up Rocks” by the Apache. Hikers reaching the summit take in 360-degree views of the surrounding canyons, valleys and peaks.
From the summit, hikers can look into and across numerous canyons including Echo Canyon to the south, Rhyolite Canyon to the southwest and Lost Canyon to the west. The San Simon Valley is visible to the southeast while the Sulphur Springs Valley sprawls to the west. Peaks visible from the summit include Cochise Head to the northeast and the Dos Cabezas Mountains to the northwest beyond Apache Pass. The Dragoon Mountains lie in the distance to the west, across the Sulphur Springs Valley.
Cochise Head from the summit of Sugarloaf Mountain Chiricahua National Monument, Arizona, USA 18 Feb 2008
Camp Robber Jay hoping for handouts in Chiricahua National Monument 18 Feb 2008
The gentle hump of Sugarloaf Mountain crowned by a fire lookout tower Chiricahua National Monument, Arizona, USA 18 Feb 2008
From the summit the hiker can view the remnant of the once-mighty Turkey Creek Volcano. The eruption of this behemoth 27 million years ago deposited massive quantities of ash that are today’s hoodoos. Only a hint of the caldera remains, now standing as individual mountains reaching nearly 10,000 feet.
The Sugarloaf Mountain Trail was built by the Depression-era Civilian Conservation Corps and includes a tunnel blasted into the cliff-side. Ruby-barked Manzanita and Mexican piñon grace the upper reaches of the trail to the summit. The mountain is crowned by a fire lookout tower still in operation during lightening season.
Prominence: 480 feet USGS Quad: Cochise Head
Chiricahua National Monument is located 120 miles southeast of Tucson and 240 miles from Phoenix. The nearby town of Willcox is 35 miles northwest of the monument.
Take I-10 east from Tucson to the first exit for Willcox. Travel 3 miles into town to the stoplight and turn right. Follow Arizona State Highway 186 for 32 miles to the junction of Arizona State Highway 181. Turn left and within 4 miles arrive at the Chiricahua entrance station.
From the visitor's center follow the Bonita Canyon Drive for approximately 7 miles. The turnoff for Sugarloaf/Echo Canyon will be on the driver's right. Proceed a short distance to the Sugarloaf Mountain Trailhead parking.
Summit lookout tower on Sugarloaf Mountain Chiricahua National Monument, Arizona, USA 18 Feb 2008
No pets are allowed on the Sugarloaf Mountain trail.
The entrance fee for Chiricahua National Monument is $5.00 per person and is good for 7 days. Kids 15 and younger are free.
Chiricahua National Monument is open year round. The monument visitor center is open daily from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., closed Thanksgiving Day and December 25. Remember most of Arizona does not use Daylight Savings Time.
Camping & Lodging
USGS Marker, Sugarloaf Mountain Summit Chiricahua National Monument, Arizona, USA 18 Feb 2008
Bonita Canyon Campground is located within the National Monument. It supplies 22 individual campsites, available first-come, first-served; no reservations are accepted.
Primitive camping is available in the surrounding Coronado National Forest. Visit www.fs.fed.us/r3/coronado or call the Douglas Office for more information (520-364-3468).
Numerous hotels can be found in nearby Willcox (35 miles away) including:
Royal Western Lodge
Desert Inn of Willcox
Looking out across the vast Sulphur Springs Valley from the Sugarloaf Mountain Summit Chiricahua National Monument, Arizona, USA 18 Feb 2008
Fall, winter and spring are the best seasons to visit Chiricahua National Monument. Winter brings mild, sunny weather with highs typically in the 60s and lows in the 20s (Fahrenheit). Anticipate snow between November and March. Spring and fall are warm and sunny.
Summer begins with baking heat (May and June are hot and dry) and then July ushers in the monsoon, with daily thunderstorms lasting through early September.