USDA Forest Service

Welcome to the Coronado National Forest


United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service.

Coronado National Forest
300 W. Congress St.
Tucson, Az. 85701
(520) 388-8300
(520) 388-8304 TTY

Recreational Activities

Activities: Hiking Trails

Home : Recreational Activities : Trails : Turkey Pen / Upper Rock Creek

view all sites by
Coronado Hiking Trails

Turkey Pen Trail #262 & Upper Rock Creek Trail #259

Primitive conditions make pathfinding skills handy for travelers interested in following these trails from the West Turkey Creek Road into Rock Creek Canyon and beyond. Turkey Pen Trail begins its journey to the crest at the Turkey Creek Ranger Station, just upstream of West Turkey Creek Campground. From that point it goes up and over a saddle into Turkey Pen Canyon. The trail follows this canyon upstream about a half mile to the point where the Hughes Tank Trail #262B climbs up and over a divide into Lower Rock Creek Canyon. This route provides access to Lower Rock Creek Trail #259A. Another half mile up Turkey Pen Canyon, the main trail leaves the canyon to climb up and over another saddle into Upper Rock Creek Canyon. There it joins the Upper Rock Creek Trail #259. Trail #259 heads up canyon for some distance then switchbacks up and out of the drainage to a junction with the Bootlegger Trail #257 and Rattlesnake Trail #275. It’s a short hike along the Bootlegger Trail to the Crest Trail #270, if that is where you’re destined.

These trails are not regularly maintained, so how easy they are to follow depends on how much they are being used. Maintenance on primitive trails is limited to removing obstructions and repairing damage that results from use. In many places, that means you’ll be following the streambed. These trails are primitive; traveling them by horse or mule is not recommended.

Both canyons support healthy riparian areas that provide a pleasant setting for your journey and make for good wildlife watching along the way. Views from the saddle between the canyons, and from the upper stretches of the climb to the crest, add spice to the trip.

Access to Crest Trail (via Bootlegger Trail)
Primitive route
Canyons to mountains diversity Rating: More difficult (#262), most difficult, (#259)
Riparian areas
Watchable wildlife


Season: Spring, summer
Length: 3.3 miles (#262), 5.8 miles (#259)
Elevation: 5,640'-8,320'
Use: Light
USGS Map(s): Chiricahua Peak, Rustler Park

Access: From Tucson, take I-10 east for 72 miles to US 191. Turn south 21 miles to AZ 181 and drive 12 miles east to the Turkey Creek turnoff (FR 41). Follow this road 8 miles east to the campground. The trailhead is located at the ranger station upstream of the campground.

These roads are rough and dusty and may be muddy and slick when wet. There is a flash flood danger at water crossings following summer and winter storms.

2.7 miles of Turkey Pen Trail and 3.8 miles of Upper Rock Creek Trail are in the Chiricahua Wilderness.

Lower Rock Creek Trail #259A is 2 miles long and rated more difficult. Hughes Tank Trail #262B is 1.4 miles long, rated more difficult and entirely within the Chiricahua Wilderness.

Motorized and mechanized vehicles and equipment, including mountain bikes, are not permitted in Wilderness. See the Wilderness section of this guide for more wilderness rules and ethics.

Because these are primitive trails, it is recommended that any who travel them bring a map and compass and be able to use them.

Before using this trail, call the Douglas Ranger District for a report on current trail conditions which can vary with season, weather and maintenance status.

Question Mark icon More information contact: Douglas Ranger District

USDA Forest Service - Coronado National Forest
Last Modified: Monday, 20 December 2004 at 17:44:26 EST

USDA logo which links to the department's national site. Forest Service logo which links to the agency's national site.