Rucker Canyon

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4/5 (3 reviews)
Willcox, Arizona (Cochise County)
Last Updated: 12/01/2021

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This forest drive takes you up and over the southern reaches of the Chiricahua Mountains providing access to scenic canyon country, an old military camp and ranch, and several forest camps and trails. If camping, hiking, wildlife/bird watching, and exploring history are your thing, Rucker Canyon is ideal for those activities. This is where the Earp / Clanton / McClaury saga began, as Ike Clanton leads a party of rustlers to Camp Supply (Now Rucker) to steal some army mules in 1881. This put the Earps on their trail and ultimately lead to the showdown at the O.K. Corral. From the grasslands of the Sulphur Springs Valley, the road climbs into the Chiricahuas via Rucker Canyon. Arizona sycamores and cypress trees shade this perennial stream and provide habitat for birds and other wildlife, while the rocky cliffs of surrounding bluffs and mountains provide a scenic backdrop. At Camp Rucker Group Use Area, FR 74E branches off as it runs parallel Rucker Creek. A side trip up this road will lead you to cool high-country forests and a clear mountain stream. If you’d like to stay awhile, there are three developed campgrounds and several dispersed spots to provide you with that opportunity. If you would like to take a closer look at this scenic mountain getaway, there are several trails that lead into the backcountry. (Unfortunately, Rucker Lake no longer exists. In the aftermath of the 1994 Rattlesnake Fire, slopes denuded of vegetation eroded and washed downhill, filling the lake with silt. However, a visit to the old lake bed will still be of interest to those who want to see the effects of catastrophic fire.)
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