Rucker Canyon

Rucker Canyon

Coronado National Forest Douglas, Arizona 85607

Official Website
Rucker Canyon map

About this Location

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. (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.) 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 parallels 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 four campgrounds 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.

Once you return to FR-74, you can continue east to the Rucker Military Camp and Ranch Historic Site. This collection of adobe buildings, a log barn, wooden fences, and corrals, along with the marked trails and interpretive signs placed among them by the Forest Service, provide you with an opportunity to take another side trip, an imaginary one in this case, back to the days of the frontier. Beyond Rucker Camp, FR 74 climbs up and over the Chiricahua divide into Tex Canyon. Here, you’ll find good long-distance views of the Peloncillo Range, which marks the border with both Mexico and New Mexico, and the San Simon Valley, where paved US-80 leads south to Douglas or north to Cave Creek Canyon and more outstanding scenery.

From Douglas, take Leslie Canyon Road north. Stay on the main road, which becomes FR-74, for 38 miles. From Tucson, take I-10 east 72 miles to US-191. Turn right (south) and drive 29 miles to the turnoff to dry Rucker Lake bed. Turn left (east) and drive 17 miles to the Forest boundary, where the road becomes FR-74. From this point, you can turn left to dry Rucker Lake bed (6 miles one way) or continue into Tex Canyon along FR-74 for 17 miles to US-80.

Content from Official Website