Echo Canyon-Heart of Rocks Arizona Backpacking
An Epic Experience

Trip Details

Type: Backpacking

Trip Code: AZEC

Duration: 4 Days

Distance: 36-42 mi/58-69 km

Fitness: 3
Comfort: 1
Solitude: 4

Origin: Tucson, Arizona

Cost: $1050/person

Trip Description:

The Echo Canyon-Heart of Rock Backpacking tour highlights the mind-bending scenery and rock formations of Chiricaua National Monument in southeastern Arizona.  Sculpted from volcanic tuff, evidence of monstrous eruptions long ago, the Chircahua Mountains rise over 7000 feet above the desert floor below, earning them the nickname "Sky Islands".  This adventurous backpacking tour takes us to all the highlights of Chiricahua National Monument and the Coronado National Forest, as we enjoy some of the greatest views, most fascinating geology, and most outstanding solitude in the state of Arizona and the American Southwest.  Hiking in and around The Heart of Rocks will lend you a deep appreciation of the scupting power of Mother Nature, and not doubt leave with memories to last a lifetime.  

  1. Chiricahua Mountains, Arizona Backpacking
  2. Echo Canyon, Chiricahua National Monument
  3. Chiricahua Mountains, Arizona Backpacking
  4. Coronado National Forest, Chiricahua Mountains
  5. Chiricahua Natural Bridge, Arizona Backpacking
  6. The Grotto of Echo Canyon, Chiricahua National Monument
  7. The Heart of Rocks, Chiricahua National Monument
  8. Hoodoo at Chiricahua National Monument
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Trip Itinerary

Day 1:

The Echo Canyon-Heart of Rocks Backpacking tour begins at an unmarked trail in the Coronado National Forest.  Your geologist/guide will lead you through this moutainous terrain on a cross-country adventure deep into the wilderness.  Along the way, keep your eyes peeled for Cochise Head, a rock massif reputed to have been the hideout of the famous Apache Chief.  We will make our basecamp in the Coronado National Forest, and you can kick back as your geologist/guide sets up camp and prepares an excellent dinner.
Drive Time: 2.5 hours
Distance & Elevation: 8 miles, 1000 foot ascent
Light Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Days 2 & 3:

From our basecamp in the Coronado National Forest, we will hike and explore the Chiricuahua Mountains and Chiricahua National Monument, including The Heart of Rocks, Echo Canyon, Wall Street for some wonderful narrows, Sarah Deming Canyon, and Sugarloaf Mountain, the high point in Chiricahua National Monument.  This backpacking trip is a true tour de force of this wonderful place!
Distance & Elevation: 10-12 miles per day, 800 feet of elevation gain/loss each day
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4:

Our final day begins with sunrise yoga on the rocks, and continues with another morning of excellent exploration and hiking in Chiricahua National Monumet and the Coronado National Forest.  Afer a delicious lunch, we will pack up camp and head back to our shuttle, then celebrate our epic trip like a geologist; with a cold beverage at a local watering hole!  Our shuttle will then return us to Tucson.
Distance & Elevation: 8-10 miles, 1000 foot descent
Breakfast, Lunch
Drive Time: 2.5 hours

*Final itineraries are occasionally subject to change due to permit/campsite availability, park restrictions/closures, weather conditions and/or road closures.

What’s Included:
A professional, degreed, licensed and medically trained geologist/guide
All necessary gear: backpack, tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, trekking poles
All cooking/eating gear: bowls, cups, utensils (your geologist/guide will prepare all trail meals)
All food, including a mix of fresh and pre-made backcountry meals
Roundtrip Transportation from your hotel in Tucson to Chircahua National Monument and all activities/attractions
Entrance fees, camping fees, and backcountry permits

Meals: what to expect
We provide all your meals from a light breakfast on day 1 through lunch the last day. Your geologist/guide will prepare a variety of meals on the trail that will fit the day's activity. Feel free to tell us about your food preferences, as we're more than happy to tailor the menu to your needs/desires. Some specialty diets may require an additional fee.

All meals will consist of one entree, prepared by your geologist/guide.  Fresh options will be limited, as backpacking typically requires lightweight, non-perishable foods.  There will be trail snacks that consist of nuts, fruits, chocolate, and other "gorp" style mixes.

We regularly accommodate vegan, vegetarian, kosher and non-gluten diets and will make adjustments for food allergies. These and other special dietary requests may require an additional fee

What’s Not Included:
Transportation to/from Tucson, Arizona
Lodging the night before/after the trip
Clothing, raingear, and footwear
Personal toiletries, sunscreen
Water bottles/hydration bladder
Headlamp or flashlight
Guide gratuity (suggested 10-15% of trip cost)
*Upon booking you will receive a detailed trip information packet

How many people are in the group?
Most backpacking trips in Chiricahua National Monument will accommodate 5 people plus one geologist/guide. On occasion, a group may be as large as 8 people plus 2 guides.

Are there age restrictions?
Children under 12 are generally not permitted on any of Blue Marble's scheduled trips.  This can be negotiable on private tours, please contact us to discuss this policy

How do I sign up?
In order to confirm a reservation , we require an initial deposit of $500 per person, with the final balance due 90 days prior to the trip’s departure. If you book a trip within 90 days of the trip’s scheduled departure, then full payment is due at the time of booking.  Your deposit is payable over the phone by Visa, MasterCard, AmEx, or Discover. Checks by mail are fine as well, as are bank transfers ($35 transfer fee). Call our office Monday to Friday, 9am to 4pm Arizona time. 1-602-904-2536
Travel Logistics

Where does the trip begin/end?
This trip will begin/end in Tucson, Arizona and you will need to spend the night prior to your trip’s scheduled departure in Tucson. You will want to fly into either Phoenix (1.5 hour drive) or Tucson. Please visit our  Travel Resources  page for information on airports, shuttles/rental cars and recommended hotels.

Where do you meet our guides?
We will hold a pre-trip orientation at 4:30pm the evening prior to your trip’s departure at the host hotel in Tucson. Departure times and logistics for the following morning will be discussed at the orientation.  Most trips will depart between 5am and 6am.

*This meeting is not mandatory, but highly recommended, as we will depart early the next morning. If you are unable to attend, please let us know in advance so that we can make alternate arrangements.

What do we do with our car and extra stuff?
We will provide all transportation to/from trailheads for the duration of the trip. We will pick you up at the host hotel in Tucson and return you there at the trip’s conclusion. Guests staying at the host hotel can leave their cars at the hotel. These hotels will often store your luggage for you, as well. If not, we are happy to store extra luggage at a secure location for the duration of the trip. If you are staying at a different hotel, you will need to check with them as to whether you can leave your car there

What time will we get back on the last day?
Expect to be back in Tucson by 5pm at the latest on the last day of the trip. Some trips will return earlier but we cannot make any guarantees. In general, it is recommended that you do not plan to fly home on the same day your trip finishes. Since each trip has slightly different logistics, feel free to contact us with specific questions related to the expected return time for your trip.

Trip Dates

2017 Dates
May: 26-29
June: 26-29
September: 7-10
October: 15-18

2018 Dates
May: 26-29
June: 26-29
September: 7-10
October: 15-18

More dates to come soon…
Don’t see your dates? Custom dates may be available!
Call 1-602-904-2536 or email us  for details.