Chiricahua NM--Bonita Creek Trail

Tips for Birding

Bonita Creek Trail is one of six location-specific hotspots within Chiricahua National Monument. Use the general Monument hotspot ( when you have a checklist that includes multiple locations.

Birds of Interest

Among USFWS-designated Birds of Conservation Concern for the Sierra Madre Occidental, Sonora Desert, and Chihuahua Desert regions, the following species have been listed multiple times for the hotspot:  Broad-tailed Hummingbird (April-May, August-September), Gila Woodpecker (February-September), Arizona Woodpecker (all year), Plumbeous Vireo (May and September), Verdin (all year), Cactus Wren (all year), Curve-billed Thrasher (July-March), Phainopepla (October-March), Scott’s Oriole (April-September), Virginia’s Warbler (August-September), Black-throated Gray Warbler (April-September), and Pyrrhuloxia (October-April).

Other than Broad-tailed, Black-chinned is the only other hummingbird species listed with frequency. Rufous Hummingbird, a FWS-designated Species of Continental Conservation Concern, has been found here during fall migration.

Yellow-billed Cuckoo, a threatened species, have been listed at this hotspot during July and August.

Due to its proximity to grassland at the mouth of the canyon, this is the Monument hotspot at which you are most likely to observe Scaled Quail, along with the predominant Gambel’s and occasional Montezuma.

Acorn is the is the most frequently observed woodpecker species, followed by Northern Flicker and Ladder-backed.

Flycatchers, like vireos and warblers, appear during migration months of April-May and August September. 

Mexican Jay is is the predominant corvid, with Steller’s Jay occasionally listed.  Birders may want to brush up on the calls of Chihuahuan vs Common Raven;  although Chihuahuan are observed considerably less often, both species are listed.

September through April, Chipping is the most commonly reported sparrow, followed by White-crowned.  

Canyon is the typical towhee species here, but Green-tailed and Spotted are found from fall into spring.

Dark-eyed Junco are observed October-April, with Yellow-eyed noted less often during the same period.

About Chiricahua National Monument

See all hotspots at Chiricahua National Monument

A “Wonderland of Rocks” is waiting for you to explore at Chiricahua National Monument. The 8-mile paved scenic drive and 17 miles of day-use hiking trails provide opportunities to discover the beauty, natural sounds, and inhabitants of this 11,985-acre site. Visit the Faraway Ranch Historic District to discover more about the people who have called this area home.

Notable Trails

There are two sections to this trail. The quarter-mile portion northwest of the Bonita Creek parking area is a paved loop, easily traversable by wheelchair. The half-mile trail winding along the south side of the typically dry Bonita Creek between Bonita Creek and Faraway Ranch parking areas is dirt and not ADA-compliant. Look in both sections for wild animals, including deer, coatimundi, and javelina, as well as resident and migrating birds. 

Access is from either the well-signed Bonita Creek or Faraway Ranch parking areas, with restrooms at both.  

Pets, on leash of 6 feet or less, are permitted on this trail.

"Roadside viewing" is only in the parking lots.


  • Restrooms on site

  • Wheelchair accessible trail

  • Roadside viewing

  • Entrance fee

Content from Official Website, Chiricahua National Monument Official Website, John Montgomery, and Southeast Arizona Birding Observatory

Last updated November 26, 2023