This project began purely as a collection of GPS data recorded while hiking in the Chiricahuas and expanded slowly into this site over a six month period, during which it became obvious that much of the existing Chiricahua hiking information is out of date and, for some trails, nonexistent. This site is an attempt to resolve that problem.
Because it's implemented as a website, trail information can be updated quickly and easily as new details become available. As such, not every trail in the Chiricahuas is currently listed on the trail index, and some that are listed but not fully scouted exist in an incomplete form. Others have been fully scouted but remain only partially sketched out and will be expanded upon at a later date. Expect regular updates as I collect more data.
Trail information is based on firsthand surveys of each trail. Distance and elevation data is collected with a GPS receiver and its built-in barometric altimeter. Because barometric altimeters are not precise, the data collected from it will not be of perfect accuracy. Elevation is rounded to the nearest 5 foot increment.
Place names are collected from numerous sources: a variety of maps; several books, including Hiking Trails and Wilderness Routes of the Chiricahua Mountains by Cachor Taylor, A Portal to Paradise by Alden C. Hayes and The Devil Played Hell in Paradise by Kimrod Murphy; local knowledge; and personally invented names when a location is in need of a name and something logical presents itself. When possible, sources are cited in footnotes.
Historical information comes primarily from the aforementioned books and local knowledge.
Elevation data is presented on this site in several different ways. Elevation range lists the lowest and highest points along the trail, while elevation gain/loss indicates the cumulative gain and loss. Cumulative values are the sum of each uphill stretch and each downhill stretch, which is more useful for determining steepness than just the difference between the lowest and highest points. For example, if a trail were to climb 500 feet, drop 100 feet, then climb another 100 feet, the cumulative gain/loss would be 600 ft ↑ / 100 ft ↓, even though the end point is only 500 feet above the starting point. Average slope is calculated based on the other elevation data and indicates the average pitch of the trail along its entire length. This can sometimes be useful as another way of determining the steepness of a trail, but note that if a trail climbs and drops a nearly equal amount, the average slope will tend towards 0%, which can be misleading. Always look at the elevation gain/loss indicator, as well as the average slope for each segment of the trail, which can sometimes provide a more accurate understanding.
This site is still in its early stages, and there are numerous ways in which it will be improved over time. Not all trails have been surveyed yet, and new ones are being added regularly. Additionally, existing trails may be edited as new discoveries are made, new information found, or trail conditions change.
Possible future features on the site may include elevation profiles, mileage charts, trail hazard alerts indicating the position of washouts or similar issues, photos, and an interactive component allowing people to create an account and leave comments and trail status reports of their own on the page.
Once information on a complete set of trails has been collected, a print book may be made available for sale in order to provide a hardcopy guide that can be taken along on a hike.
If you find any errors or missing details, or have any suggestions or questions, don't hesitate to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll get back to you as soon as I can.
If you would like to recieve site updates via email, as well as news about trail conditions, maintenance projects and opportunities, and other related issues, you coin join the new Chiricahua Trails mailing list by sending a blank email to email@example.com.