|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.