While not the highest mountains in southeast Arizona, the Chiricahua Mountains are the most massive. Explosive volcanism and continental uplifting 50 to 75 million years ago formed the mountains of this region. Further periods of volcanic activity and long-term erosion shaped the Chiricahuas into what they are today. Volcanic outflows combined with ash and dust to form “welded tuff”. Time has weathered this material into unique pinnacles, balanced rocks, and caves now found in these mountains.
Today, the Chiricahua Mountains lie in a unique intersection zone where the Rocky Mountain forests, Sierra Madrean woodlands and grasslands converge. There are some 1400 species of plants, more than 500 vertebrate species, and thousands of invertebrates – making the Chiricahuas one of the most biologically diverse areas in the continental United States.
The Northern Chiricahua Mountains Map encompasses the Chiricahua Wilderness, the Chiricahua National Monument, the Chiricahua National Monument Wilderness and the Coronado National Forest. The waterproof, tear-resistant map is at a scale of 1 inch = 1 mile (1:63,360) and has contour lines. One side contains the map itself, and the other has photos, historic and geologic information, recreation facilities, as well as safety and ethics guidelines.