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The exquisite Big Loop Trail in the Chiricahua National Monument, aka The Wonderland of Rocks, is a 9.5-mile round trip out-and-back hike offering spectacular views of massive rock volcanic formations like the famous Big Balanced Rock. Get there by 8:30am and you can hike till the park closes at 4:30pm. Kids are welcome but no dogs, please. Please note that there are no water fountains along the way, so if hiking in the hot summer months, bringing extra water is a must.
The Big Loop begins at Echo Canyon Trail parking lot and includes the Upper Rhyolite Canyon, Sarah Deming, Heart of Rocks, Big Balanced Rock, Inspiration Point, Mushroom Rock, and Ed Riggs trails. The elevation is 6,780' with a gain of 1,800’ and is rated as moderate. The Big Loop Trail can be hiked in as little as 5 hours but most hikers, especially those who just can’t seem to stop taking pictures as they marvel at the gravity-defying balancing rocks and uniquely shaped hoodoos, take much longer.
Along the Big Loop Trail, up and down and across the canyon, you will find an abundance of birds, wildlife and flora. The Loop is loaded with cacti and their colorful blossoms in spring, brilliant wildflowers, scrub brush, oaks, and pines. And that lovely singing you hear along the way? Listen for it. It’s the beautiful welcoming of the canyon wren that stays out of sight but never out of earshot. And don’t be surprised if you are also welcomed by a playful family of coatimundi. This trail is full of diverse wildlife so use caution and, please, do not feed the animals.
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