Scenic USA - Arizona

Lower Rhyolite Canyon

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Lower Rhyolite Canyon - Chiricahua Mountains, Portal, Arizona

Photo by Ben Prepelka
Inset photos by Steve Wolfe

   This inviting footpath of Lower Rhyolite Canyon, one of the day-use hiking trails in Chiricahua National Monument, Gray Fox - Chiricahua Mountains, Portal, Arizona marks the beginning of a day of exploration into Echo Canyon, Sarah Deming Canyon and the Heart of Rocks. Known as a "Wonderland of Rocks", the park's network of trails offer a chance to discover the natural beauty, sounds, and creatures of this 12,000 acre national monument.
   Starting out from the visitor center, Elegant Trogon - Chiricahua Mountains, Portal, Arizona the trail begins as an easy walk through a canyon forest, but it soon climbs toward the top of an 800 foot ridge. Leaving the cool canopy of trees, the upper trail's edge is lined with desert plants, yuccas, agaves, prickly pear and hedgehog cactus. Quiet hikers may also be treated to sights of resident animals, such as fox squirrel, white-tailed deer, coatimundi, grey fox and the Javelina - Chiricahua Mountains, Portal, Arizona javelina. Identified as an import bird area by the American Bird Conservancy, the park plays host to a variety of birds, including resident species and many migratory birds. Patient hikers have a chance to spot a Mexican jay, blue grosbeak and the acorn woodpecker. Exceptional discoveries include birds such as the Elegant Trogon (inset) and many species of hummingbirds. Serious birders may want to study the latest bird list to see what's in store for this exceptional national park. This "Sky Island" is a unique area in Arizona and is home to some 1500 species of plants and animals.

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