When we were planning our trip to Arizona, I contacted a person who follows us on Instagram. Knowing she lives in the state, I asked her for recommendations on places to see. She ranked Chiricahua National Monument as her favorite place in the entire state. She also encouraged us to hike the Echo Canyon Trail.
Wow! Her favorite place in the state? Needless to say, we added the national monument to our “must do” list.
When we first entered through Chiricahua National Monument gates, we did not know what to expect. Within a short drive into the park, it became apparent why this place was highly recommended. Reminiscent of a scaled down Bryce Canyon, the park is filled with natural rock pillars that make it look like another world.
It was late in the afternoon and the sun was low in the western horizon. The glow of the sun was golden in color which highlighted the unique and dramatic landscape. At each turn of our drive through the canyon, Gail and I were in awe of the beauty around us.
The monument area was stunning.
The Echo Canyon Hike
The next morning, we did what we normally do and reached the trailhead of Echo Canyon at dawn.
The first mile of the hike took over an hour for us to complete. We could not stop taking pictures of the incredible landscape around us. Slowly, we walked in between huge stone pillars, around precarious balancing rocks and squeezed through wedges of fallen boulders the size of cars.
Every step we took seemed mystical somehow; maybe even spiritual.
As we continued down the path, the landscape offered us a new perspective. The hike was far from routine and ordinary. I can honestly say we were awestruck as we walked Echo Canyon Trail.
After a while, we tried to pick up our pace and be more selective where we stopped but the rocky terrain seemed perfectly designed for fun and laughter.
Speed walking was not the purpose for this hike.
At about mile three, we chose to take an alternate hike and detour to a place called Inspiration Point. The trail to it intersected with our trail (Echo Canyon) and added about two additional miles to our overall hike. We knew nothing about the landmark, but it seemed apparent to us that any place with the word INSPIRATION in its name was a place we should visit!
It was a good bet as it turned out, because the view of the top was stunning.
We were not in a hurry to leave this amazing place. We removed our backpacks, found a perfect rock to stand on, and quietly soaked in the views.
As it turned out, the recommendation we received for our friend about Chiricahua National Monument was spot on. It is one of the most beautiful and unique places in the state of Arizona.