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WILLCOX, ARIZONA

Hiking the Chiricahua Mountains

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Walking/Hiking

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Road Scholar
Program #2105RJ
7 Days | 6 Nights
ACTIVITY LEVEL: Moderately Challenging
Love to learn in a small-group setting? This collection of programs has at most 10-24 participants.
See our Small Group programs.
EasyFor people looking to exercise their minds more than their bodies. There’s minimal walking and not too many stairs.
ModerateThese programs get you on your feet and include activities such as walking up to a mile in a day through a city and standing in a museum for a few hours.
ActiveFor people who enjoy walking as much as two miles a day, perhaps to explore historic neighborhoods or a nature trail.
Moderately ChallengingFor hardy explorers who enjoy a good physical challenge, spending most of their days on the go.
ChallengingGet ready to keep up with our highest-energy group. These demanding — and rewarding — programs are for seasoned outdoor enthusiasts.
Elevation Note
Hotel is located at an elevation of 5000 foot. Field trips to elevations as high as 7000 foot.

Equipment Requirements
Well broken-in, ankle high, light weight hiking boots, walking stick, day pack, water bottle or canteen.

Itinerary for Apr 7 — Apr 13, 2013

Expand all
Type: Hotel

Description: Pool located in the courtyard. Lounge and restaurant on property.

Contact info:
1100 W. Rex Allen Drive
Willcox, AZ 85643 USA
phone: 520-384-3556
Room amenities: Refrigerated rooms, color TV's and telephone in rooms.

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Additional nights before: $65.00
Notify reservationist you will be participating in the Geronimo Road Scholar program to obtain favorable rate.

Check in time: 3:30 PM


Day One: Sunday, April 07 - Welcome to Willcox, home to famed cowboy, Rex All...
Welcome to Willcox, home to famed cowboy, Rex Allen, and gateway to the Chiricahua National Monument. Willcox owes its initial existence to the Southern Pacific Railroad which first chugged through the area in 1880.

Arrive To: CHECK-IN at 3:00 PM. The Road Scholar Registration table will be in the vicinity of the check-in desk. Your on site packets may be picked up at the Registration Table and you will receive instructions about group travel to a local restaurant for dinner.

Take this time to gaze upon the majestic Chiricahua Mountains where the group will hike the many scenic trails this week.



Dinner: DINNER served at 5:30 PM at a local restaurant. Participants will be transported as a group from the Hotel to the restaurant. The group's first meal will be Mexican cuisine. The restaurant is family owned and the food prepared fresh daily.

Evening: ORIENTATION at the Hotel. Following dinner the group will return to the Hotel for program orientation. This will be a time to review the week's activity, answer any questions, learn about emergency procedures and have a formal welcome from staff. There will be some interaction activities to serve as a means for introductions. We are prepared for a week of great fun, memorable hikes and some great lecture programs.

Lodging: Willcox Quality Inn

Meals Included: Dinner

Type: Hotel

Description: Pool located in the courtyard. Lounge and restaurant on property.

Contact info:
1100 W. Rex Allen Drive
Willcox, AZ 85643 USA
phone: 520-384-3556
Room amenities: Refrigerated rooms, color TV's and telephone in rooms.

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Additional nights before: $65.00
Notify reservationist you will be participating in the Geronimo Road Scholar program to obtain favorable rate.

Check in time: 3:30 PM


Day Two: Monday, April 08 - Fort Bowie, a national historic site, was establi...
Fort Bowie, a national historic site, was established in 1862 by the U.S. Cavalry as a post during the bitter struggle between Anglos and Apaches in Arizona. Chief Geronimo surrendered near here, effectively ending the Indian wars in the Southwest.

Note: Ft Bowie Trail - Apache Pass is a round trip loop trail of 4 miles with elevation gain and loss of 900 ft.

Breakfast: 7:00 AM BREAKFAST served at Willcox Quality Inn. Begin the day with a hearty breakfast. Participants will have a number of choices of healthy breakfast foods and beverages. Immediately following breakfast vans will transport participants to the scenic Chiricahua Mountains for a day of hiking.

Morning: HIKE FORT BOWIE PARK to trailhead. A Park Ranger will lead the group on a tour of Fort Bowie. Learn about the lonely isolation that the soldiers experienced while stationed at Fort Bowie. The two hour hike from Fort Bowie to the trailhead will take us past the original Fort, Apache Springs, the Chiricahua Apache Indian Agency, an Apache Wickiup, the post cemetary and the remains of a Butterfield Stage Coach Station.

LECTURE on "The History of Apache Pass & Apache Springs" will be presented prior to commensing the Fort Bowie Tour and hike to the trailhead. The history of Apache Pass (named after the Apache Indians) began with the spring—it was a watering place in the harsh desert of what became southern Arizona. Indigenous peoples were dependant for their survival on regular access to water holes, so the spring at Apache Pass was a natural stopping place.

The modern history of Apache Pass began with the great Apache leader Cochise, who, along with many of his followers, favored the area around the spring as a camping spot in winter and spring.



Lunch: TRAIL LUNCH. Take in the unique beauty of the area while enjoying a nuitrious trail lunch prepared at the Hotel kitchen.

Afternoon: TAKE A WALKING TOUR of Historic Downtown Willcox. Visit the Rex Allen Museum and the Cowboy Hall of Fame. Stroll down historic Railroad Avenue and on the corner you’ll come across another old adobe building, The Willcox Commercial. Built in the early 1880s, it is the oldest continually operating store in Arizona. When Geronimo had a craving for sweets, he went to the Willcox Commercial to buy his sugar. He didn’t trust the white men but he knew how much a pound felt and before purchasing the sugar, he would balance it in his hand to feel the weight of it. Geronimo was determined not to let any clerk cheat him.

Dinner: 5:30 PM DINNER served at local restaurant. Tonight the group will have the opportunity to experience more of the local cuisine.

Evening: 6:30 PM "Chiricahua Sky Island" video.

Lodging: Willcox Quality Inn

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Type: Hotel

Description: Pool located in the courtyard. Lounge and restaurant on property.

Contact info:
1100 W. Rex Allen Drive
Willcox, AZ 85643 USA
phone: 520-384-3556
Room amenities: Refrigerated rooms, color TV's and telephone in rooms.

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Additional nights before: $65.00
Notify reservationist you will be participating in the Geronimo Road Scholar program to obtain favorable rate.

Check in time: 3:30 PM


Day Three: Tuesday, April 09 - Visit Maple Camp where a small grove of maple tre...
Visit Maple Camp where a small grove of maple trees straddle the banks of the South Fork which is actually a tiny rock strewn stream in the Chiricahua Mountains. It is a surreal and beautiful area.

Note: Round trip distance of six miles with an elevation gain & loss of 800-1000 ft.

Breakfast: 7:00 AM BREAKFAST served at Willcox Quality Inn. You will have a choice of a number of healthy and nutritious breakfast items.

Morning: HIKE TO PORTAL/CAVE CREEK CANYON. . Hike to Maple Camp. A beautiful area, Cave Creek Canyon on the eastern slope of the Chiricahua Mountains is home to a varied selection of flora and fauna. One of the best places to enjoy the area’s ecology is along the South Fork Cave Creek. Accessed by a nice, easy trail, this drainage bottom makes for a wonderful outing.

Lunch: TRAIL LUNCH - Take in the majestic beauty of the area while enjoying the packed nutritious lunch prepared at the Hotel.

Afternoon: HIKE CONTINUES IN CAVE CREEK CANYON. The Chiricahua Mountains of Southeastern Arizona rise from the desert floor to an elevation of nearly ten thousand feet. This fascinating area offers magnificent views of beautiful vistas, imposing canyon walls, and mysterious caves.

We will enjoy a stop at Portal Peak General Store for a shopping experience in a small country store located along the banks of Cave Creek.



Dinner: 6:00 PM DINNER served at a local unique restaurant. Tonight the group will have a relaxed evening as we dine in a train dining car! The cuisine tonight will be some real western bar-b-que with all the fixins.

Evening: 7:00 PM "ASTRONOMY IN AZ" presentation/lecture. Tonight's program will be presented by an Astronomer from Mount Graham National Observatory located in Safford AZ. Mount Graham Observatory is an operations and maintenance group whose mission is to provide quality logistics support services to the astronomical research community. The Observatory is affliliated with the University of AZ Department of Astronomy.

Lodging: Willcox Quality Inn

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Type: Hotel

Description: Pool located in the courtyard. Lounge and restaurant on property.

Contact info:
1100 W. Rex Allen Drive
Willcox, AZ 85643 USA
phone: 520-384-3556
Room amenities: Refrigerated rooms, color TV's and telephone in rooms.

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Additional nights before: $65.00
Notify reservationist you will be participating in the Geronimo Road Scholar program to obtain favorable rate.

Check in time: 3:30 PM


Day Four: Wednesday, April 10 - Cochise Stronghold, a rugged natural fortress was...
Cochise Stronghold, a rugged natural fortress was, for some 15 years, the home and base of operations for the famed Chiricahua Apache Chief, Cochise. Cochise and about 1,000 of his followers, of whom some 250 were warriors, located here.

Note: Round trip hike of 6 miles with elevation gain & loss of 1100 foot.

Breakfast: 7:00 AM BREAKFAST served at Willcox Quality Inn. Enjoy an early breakfast with a choice of many tasty nutritious foods. Depart Hotel for a hike in the Chiricahua Mountains.

Morning: HIKE COCHISE STRONGHOLD TRAIL to VALLEY VIEW. Within the Stronghold is a hiking trail that goes from the East Cochise Stronghold Campground, over the "Stronghold Divide" and down into the West Stronghold Canyon. This trail was originally an Indian trail and is approximately 4 miles long one way.

As you hike the trail listen to the whispers of those from long ago and enjoy the superb views of the canyon.



Lunch: TRAIL LUNCH Imagine those who walked these trails in years past as you relax and enjoy the lunch prepared by the Hotel kitchen this morning.

Afternoon: TOUR THE AMERIND MUSEUM & ART GALLERY enroute to our Hotel. Founded in 1937 by William Shirley Fulton, the Amerind Foundation is a private nonprofit anthropological and archaeological museum and research center dedicated to the preservation and interpretation of Native American cultures and their histories. Located in spectacular Texas Canyon in the Little Dragoon Mountains of southeastern Arizona, the Amerind houses one of the finest private collections of Native American art and artifacts in the country

Dinner: 6:00 PM DINNER at a local restaurant. We have had a busy few days so it will be nice to have dinner at the Hotel tonight. Set back, enjoy the feast and company of your new friends.

Evening: 7:00 PM "Border Patrol" presented by a staff member of the U.S. Border Patrol. Learn about the goals and varied duties of the protectors of the borderlands.

Lodging: Willcox Quality Inn

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Type: Hotel

Description: Pool located in the courtyard. Lounge and restaurant on property.

Contact info:
1100 W. Rex Allen Drive
Willcox, AZ 85643 USA
phone: 520-384-3556
Room amenities: Refrigerated rooms, color TV's and telephone in rooms.

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Additional nights before: $65.00
Notify reservationist you will be participating in the Geronimo Road Scholar program to obtain favorable rate.

Check in time: 3:30 PM


Day Five: Thursday, April 11 - Echo Canyon Loop is an amazing trail that takes v...
Echo Canyon Loop is an amazing trail that takes visitors on a fantastic tour of the amazing hoodoos and rock formations that make up the Chiricahua National Monument.

Note: Loop trail distance of three and one half miles with elevation gain and loss of 400 ft.

Breakfast: 7:00 AM BREAKFAST SERVED at Willcox Quality Inn. Choose from a number of tasty and nutritious breakfast foods.

Morning: HIKE ECHO CANYON TRAIL At the Chiricahua National Monument a “Wonderland of Rocks” is waiting for you to explore. The trail begins on the Echo Canyon Trail, which immediately begins a gentle descent towards Wall Street. Wall Street is an wonderful display of gigantic boulders, though which you will hike for about one mile, as the trail takes you further and further down into Echo Park. Soon, you will leave the hoodoos behind and find yourself in a lush, riparian canyon. There is one small creek crossing, and then the trail will begin to climb gently out of the canyon.

Lunch: TRAIL LUNCH prepared by Hotel kitchen. Take in the ambience of the area while visiting with new friends.

Afternoon: TOUR FARAWAY RANCH & take a walk to the Buffalo Encampment.

The Chiricahua Apaches took refuge here during hostilities with whites, and after Geronimo surrendered, in 1886, Bonita Canyon was settled by Swedish immigrants Neil and Emma Erickson. Their daughter and her husband turned the homestead into a guest ranch and worked to make the area a national park. In 1924, President Calvin Coolidge designated the area a national monument. The homestead was named Faraway Ranch by the family. The property was sold to the National Park Service in 1979, and it became a historic district within the monument.



Dinner: 6:00 PM DINNER SERVED. Tonight dinner will be served at a local restaurant. Compare the ethnic dishes tonight to the dinner served on the first night of our program.

Evening: "DO YOU REALLY KNOW WHO YOU HAVE BEEN HIKING WITH THIS WEEK?" We are in for an evening of fun as you participate in an exercise to better get to know those you are spending the week with.

Lodging: Willcox Quality Inn

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Type: Hotel

Description: Pool located in the courtyard. Lounge and restaurant on property.

Contact info:
1100 W. Rex Allen Drive
Willcox, AZ 85643 USA
phone: 520-384-3556
Room amenities: Refrigerated rooms, color TV's and telephone in rooms.

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Additional nights before: $65.00
Notify reservationist you will be participating in the Geronimo Road Scholar program to obtain favorable rate.

Check in time: 3:30 PM


Day Six: Friday, April 12 - Hike Heart of Rocks trail (7.5 miles) or Sugar Lo...
Hike Heart of Rocks trail (7.5 miles) or Sugar Loaf Trail (2.5 miles) with side trips.

Tonight special entertainment is a local musical group.



Note: Participants may hike the Heart of Rocks Trail (7.5 miles) with an elevation gain of 880 ft. or choose the shorter Sugar Loaf Trail (2.5 mile) hike of moderate difficulty.

Breakfast: 7:00 AM BREAKFAST served at Willcox Quality Inn. Your choice of a number of tasty and healthy breakfast foods.

Morning: HIKE OPTIONS: HEART OF ROCKS TRAIL (7.5 miles) OR SUGAR LOAF TRAIL(2.5 miles)

The Heart of Rocks is a huge badland of fanciful rock formations. The trail cuts through the badland in almost maze-like fashion taking convoluted twists and turns through narrow slots and openings in the rocks.

The entire loop provides a wide variety of terrains. Hike through quiet, shaded valleys, deep in woods and pass open plateaus with the "big" views. The elevation of the trails range from 5,980 feet to 7,010 feet.

The entire trail system is within the Chiricahua Wilderness Area and is therefore pristine. There are no impacts from grazing or logging. No evidence of civilization besides the trail and the signs. Notice the silence, except for the occasional (and inevitable) plane, the occasional call of a bird.

The Heart of Rocks trail begins eight miles from the park entrance at Massai Point.

A mile-long descent from the trailhead takes you into a deep, shaded canyon. Creek beds trickle with running water in the spring, but remain dry much of the time after June.

Cross through the Pygmy Forest, so named for the short, stumpy Chihuahua pine and Arizona cypress that grow in the shallow, rocky soil.

Lack of moisture contributes to the stunted growth of the trees, which look more like big pine bushes, with branches that grow sideways instead of up.

Leave the main trail just beyond Big Balanced Rock for a short side trip into the Heart of Rocks area. Here, the hike begins to take on the feel of an outdoor museum. Follow the footprints painted on the path alongside strange and wonderful rock formations.

The way back to Massai Point is much quicker - almost all downhill except for the last mile climbing out of the canyon.



Lunch: TRAIL LUNCH - This will be our last trail lunch of the program. Tomorrow's farewell lunch will be served at a restaurant.

Afternoon: SUGAR LOAF TRAIL Hike - Sitting atop the heart of Chiricahua National Monument is 7310 foot Sugarloaf Mountain. This prominent peak, which stands in a sea of volcanic hoodoos, can be seen for miles. This short hike provides sweeping views of the Monument and surrounding areas.

The Sugarloaf Mountain Trail passes through a short tunnel that was blasted through the cemented volcanic ash of an ancient hoodoo. Beyond the tunnel, the trail traverses a steep slope covered in angular boulders, broken off from the low cliffs above the trail. Soon the trail rounds the mountain to the drier, southern slope. The Heart Of Rocks area comes into view now, amid the manzanitas, yuccas, and plentiful beargrass. On the southern horizon, the rolling, green, 9000 foot summits of the Chiricahua peaks form a backdrop against the Monument's countless rock totem poles. The mosaic pattern from 1994's Rattlesnake Fire is clearly visible among the peaks. The trail now makes a switchback here, and plows through a row of manzanita bushes, before arriving on the northeast corner of the windswept summit. The historic one room fire lookout, constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930's, greets you here. Roam around the mountain top, and take in the 360 degree views. From the top of Sugarloaf Mountain view the Bonita Canyon watershed, Cochise Head, and the Dos Cabezas Range to the north.



Dinner: 5:30 PM DINNER at Willcox Quality Inn. Enjoy a special meal tonight followed by musical entertainment.

Evening: MUSICAL ENTERTAINMENT by local talent.

This will be our last evening together. Following dinner the group will relax and enjoy music and/or cowboy poetry in the company of new found friends.

Lodging: Willcox Quality Inn

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day Seven: Saturday, April 13 - HIKE TO DOS CABEZAS, once a stage depot and part...
HIKE TO DOS CABEZAS, once a stage depot and partial Ghost Town where gold and silver were once mined.

Visit Lake Cochise where many winter migratory birds take up residence from Oct to Feb.



Note: Assent of hike approximately 500 ft.

Breakfast: 8:00 AM BREAKFAST SERVED at BW Plaza Inn. Enjoy a relaxed nuitrious breakfast.

Morning: HIKE to DOS CABEZAS once a gold mining town. View Lake Cochise where many winter migratory birds spend the winter.

Dos Cabezas is a partial ghost town 14 miles southeast of Willcox. While only a few residents remain today, the town was once a thriving center for surrounding mines and cattle ranches.

Dos Cabezas, where Ewell Spring is located, was the next dependable source of water west of Apache Spring. A stage depot was built here, and in the late 1870s gold and silver were found in the Dos Cabezas Mountains. The resulting town took its name from the two peaks above the spring. Dos Cabezas is the Spanish name for "Two Heads".

Willcox Playa (Lake Cochise)

This giant lake bed south of Willcox covers 50-60 square miles. The playa is usually dry, but after heavy rains it becomes a shallow lake. Mirages may be seen on the surface in summer. As many as 10,000 sandhill cranes and smaller numbers of ducks and geese winter here from October to about late February.



Lunch: GRADUATION LUNCH served at Willcox Quality Inn. The program week of stellar hikes, majestic scenery, interesting lectures and fun entertainment and comradarie concludes after lunch.

Thank you for joining Geronimo Educational Travel Studies LLC and Road Scholar for a learning adventure. We hope to see you again soon.



Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch


Important information about your itinerary:
Please know that while we do everything we can to finalize all aspects of our programs well in advance, there are logistics that occasionally must be altered. Our website will reflect the most recent information, and we are committed to providing you with final program details no later than eight weeks prior to the start of programs outside the U.S. and three weeks prior to the start of programs within the U.S. If you ever have questions about your program, please don't hesitate to contact us and we will be happy to assist you.

Our Value Promise To You

You won't find a better value.

Included
at no additional cost on this date ...
6 nights of accommodations
18 meals: 6 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 6 dinners
4 Expert-led lectures
11 Field trips
1 Performances

Ratings

4.9
Ratings are determined by participant evaluations.

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