Road trip! Barfoot/Rustler Park in the Chiracauas above Portal, Arizona


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Tucson, AZ
Just got back from spending a week up in the Chiracaua Mountains, specifically at Barfoot Park (dispersed camping) near the Rustler Park Campground (vault toilets and ramadas with tables for $20/night...not worth it IMO). It was BEAUTIFUL up there at around 8300 ft. The drive from Tucson takes about 2.5 hours and has 15 miles of dirt road to get up there, but it's all 2WD if you like (I like 4WD High on all dirt roads just so I can drive with a bit more confidence over washboards corners and the like). The Barfoot Park area is a fantastic base to do exploring in your truck or hiking. Lots of trails nearby. Here's a shot of the road on the way out:
It gets steep and winding towards the top, but not technical just to get up there.

Camping: if you have a tent, it can get windy up there, but there are plenty of spots in the trees where you get a pretty good block. If you have a hard side camper/trailer, the options are plentiful. Basically, if it has a great view, it's gonna be hella windy. This spot was our first night, and we moved the next day because the wind HOWLED at us all night. Views were spectacular, though. This was on the 42D road to Rustler Park, where there were 3 or 4 similar dispersed sites.
Our second spot was much less windy, not as spectacular a view, but way better for wildlife (birds galore, if that's your thing, and lots of deer and a couple skunks at night!). This was actually in Barfoot Park:
Perry approves!

Hiking: So many trails up there! Recommend the OnXOffroad app to get the local trails. You can download areas ahead of time onto your phone when you're at home with signal. There's only spotty signal up there, and only when you have a view. Here are a couple shots of the trail up to Barfoot Peak. The views are amazing, and the temps are around 30 degrees cooler than Tucson on any given day.
Perry approves of this, too.

4x4 Roads: There were some fun drives up there. The best little out and back that REQUIRED 4WD Low was a 2 mile trip from Rustler Park (8300 ft) up to Long Park (9100 ft). It gets steep and rocky, but the end it worth it, and the drive is a fun little challenge along the way. I didn't really get out to take pics of the obstacles (my wife is probably rolling her eyes in the other room as I type this), but here's a shot of Long Park at the top:
The dog and the wife are in the truck, indulging me. :)

Nearby services: The closest town is Portal, AZ with any sort of store, at the bottom of the mountains. They sell light groceries (water, ice, eggs, canned stuff, etc.), beer, and wine. They also have a little cafe with excellent burgers and fries, and a great outdoor patio. There is actually a little lodge attached that you could stay in, if you hated camping but liked getting out into nature. Note: there is NOT a gas station in Portal. The closest gas is in Animas, NM (25 mins away from Portal, away from the mountains). Unfortunately, we had a dog emergency up on the mountain (Perry ate some marijuana and got VERY sick, and no, it was NOT mine), and found that the nearest animal clinic was in Silver City, NM. That's a whole other story, though.
Perry does NOT approve of IVs, but he's perfectly fine now, so all is good.