Arizona’s Chiricahua Mountains for Trail Runner

While on a road trip around Southeast Arizona, we came across an old faded photograph of an impossible wonderland of rock towers. I think it was on a postcard or brochure. The accompanying caption read simply ‘Chiricahua National Monument’. A quick search showed that this place was no joke and even had a well mapped network of trails. Game on! We had to check out this little NPS unit up near the AZ-NM state line. After a call to an editor we knew at Trail Runner Magazine, we got the go ahead to shoot a small destination spread. An all day drive into the absolute middle of nowhere, and then even to the end of THAT road, brought us to the Monument’s campground. It was no surprise that we had the whole joint to ourselves that night.

On the park service handout map, we traced a 10k loop that included names like Big Balanced Rock, Echo Canyon and Inspiration Point. The trail was perfect for running with a solid surface and consistent grades. It dove deep into a fantastic labyrinth of spires, most of them seriously top heavy. There were a couple spots that were like threading a needle. We had an absolute blast and spent most of the day photographing a run that would normally take about an hour. Exhilarated with our ‘find’ and feeling a bit like a couple kids who had just gotten away with something, we motored out looking for a small town that had cold beer.

This is one of our favorite things about traveling. The joy in finding something out there that you never knew about and weren’t even looking for. The Chiricahua story remains our measure of all other occurrences of serendipity while on the road.


Matt & Agnes