Le Far West, La Nature Et Le Vin : Voyage Dans Le Sud-Est De L'Arizona
Chiricahua National Monument, Willcox, AZ

Histoire et Culture

Le Far West, La Nature Et Le Vin : Voyage Dans Le Sud-Est De L'Arizona

Discover the Wild West with re-enactments of score-settling and cowboys; try food trucks and savor the cuisine of fine restaurants; sip a beer at one of the microbreweries and quality wine; or hike the trails where Indians and conquistadors preceded you.

Nestled in southeastern Arizona, the area known as Cochise County is home to several small towns with legendary histories, such as Tombstone ("the town too tough to die"), the artistic community of Bisbee, and Willcox, one of Arizona's three wine regions. And since most are located within an hour of each other, it's possible to visit all three in one day.


Once a hub of transportation – first stagecoaches, then trains – travel is rooted in the town of Benson. At the Visitor Center , housed in a replica of a 19th-century railroad depot, one can view images of the town's past during a stop on the Southern Pacific Railroad line and try out the free train simulator. Children who try it will receive a souvenir “Benson Train Engineer” certificate.

Each October, the town hosts its Butterfield Overland Stage Days, a nod to Benson's heritage as a stagecoach stop for early pioneers. Residents celebrate the event with a parade, rodeo and a re-enactment of a Pony Express Ride through downtown.

Discover the prehistoric, underground wonder of Kartchner Caverns State Park , just 15 minutes south of Benson. Inside this fully accessible “living cave” are stalactites and other rock formations formed over millions of years, including an 18-meter column nicknamed Kubla Khan. Budding astronomers can stay until evening, when clear, dark skies allow for stargazing.


You can spend 48 hours in this former mining camp now an artist community and not see everything. If you have some time, take a stroll down Erie Street, all that remains of the old mining town of Lowell, Arizona. Almost everything here is decorative - a life-size time capsule preserved from 1950s Americana - like the Harley Davidson repair shop and the Shell gas station where vintage cars are parked at the pump eternally waiting for a full one.

Erie Street is also home to the Bisbee Breakfast Club , a signature restaurant serving hearty breakfasts and mouth-watering brunches. On Main Street, you'll find even more dining options, as well as Brewery Gulch and its selection of, you guessed it, microbreweries.


Much like Bisbee, the town of Douglas boomed during the heyday of copper mining in the late 19th century, and it was during this period that two of its most enduring landmarks were built: the Gadsden Hotel and attorney John Slaughter's ranch.

With its Italian marble columns, 40-foot-long Tiffany stained glass windows, and gold-leaf ceilings, the Gadsden Hotel is a historic reminder of the opulence of the Wild West. The new owners have restored the lobby and most of the lower level rooms to their former glory while adding modern comforts and amenities. (Local tradition has it that Mexican General Pancho Villa once rode horseback up the lobby's grand staircase where a trace can still be seen in one of the steps.) "Texas John" Slaughter, cattle rancher and sheriff

of Cochise County , was one of the southwest's most beloved and feared lawmen (depending on which side you were on). At the Slaughter Ranch Museum , outside Douglas, one can experience what life was like during his lifetime through the restoration of several buildings, including the old adobe ranch house.

Tip: Plan a picnic and enjoy the pond and the shade of the trees on the property.

Sierra Vista

With a Spanish name meaning mountain views, and deep ties to Mexico, ironically, Sierra Vista is best known for its cuisine originating in other countries (although the Sonoran hot dogs at 143 Street Tacos are pretty good ). Enjoy a Viennese schnitzel (Wiener schnitzel) at German Café , sip a bowl of pho at Vietnamese restaurant Indochine , try Korean bibimbap or enjoy a Neapolitan-style pizza.

It's not just the food that draws people to this southeastern city. With more than a dozen varieties of hummingbirds migrating through the area, Sierra Vista has earned the status of the hummingbird capital of the United States. This does not include the more than 300 other bird species that flock to the region, particularly the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area . Spot other wildlife nearby at the Nature Conservancy's Ramsey Canyon Preserve , where you can encounter rare species like the coatimundi—raccoon-like mammals rarely seen elsewhere in the United States—on the shaded, winding trails. United.

Tip: For the cost of a simple donation, you can participate in a hummingbird ringing session. Volunteers and staff at the Southeastern Arizona Bird Observatory invite visitors to help capture, band, measure and release these tiny travelers as part of long-term studies of their migratory patterns.

Further north in the Dragoon Mountains is Cochise Stronghold , a rugged natural fortress once used by the fearsome Apache chief Cochise and his followers. Climbers know the fortress for a much different reason: It's home to more than a thousand routes and bouldering challenges, and has a well-deserved reputation for daring backcountry climbing.


Between Benson and Bisbee is Tombstone, home of lawman Wyatt Earp and his infamous score-settling at the OK Corral . The corral still exists in this "too-tough-to-die town," which now entertains visitors with stagecoach rides, shows , reenactments, and annual celebrations like Wyatt Earp Days (May) and Helldorado Days (October).

For those who want more, book a stay at Tombstone Monument Ranch , a ranch designed like a Wild West town complete with a blacksmith, saloon, and "jail." Facilities and activities include a swimming pool, card games, archery and horse riding.

Tip: While you're in town, don't forget to visit the world's largest rose bush, the 134-year-old Lady Banksia Rose Tree , which spans 830m² with a 3.5 meter trunk. And for a different kind of souvenir, adults can enjoy a local beer at Tombstone Brewing Company , which brews Southwestern-inspired beers like Mexican Hot Chocolate Imperial Stout, made in a classic English style, except for habanero peppers, cinnamon and cayenne pepper.


About 75% of Arizona's wine grapes are grown in this agricultural community, and there's no shortage of local vineyards and tasting venues . You can stop for tastings at several Arizona wineries during the Willcox Wine Festival , held over one weekend each spring and fall, and also featuring local artists, artisans and musicians. It is ranked by Fodor's Travel as one of the top 10 wine festivals in North America.

Along the way, stop at the Rex Allen Museum & Willcox Cowboy Hall of Fame . The cowboy who sings in Western films is in the spotlight with numerous film posters and vintage accessories. The city pays extra tribute each October during Rex Allen Days with a parade, rodeo, concerts and more.

For those who prefer wilderness to westerns, a short drive from Willcox will take you to Chiricahua National Monument , a towering volcanic rock site that you can enjoy for free year-round. Highlights include the Heart of Rocks Loop, a 7.5-mile hike featuring many of the monument's most iconic formations.

Cochise County Ghost Towns

What would the Wild West be without a ghost town or two? Hundreds of towns sprang up in the 19th century throughout the West, many of which were abandoned when the mines dried up. Echoes of the West, then in full swing, still resonate in the ghost towns of Fairbank and Gleeson in southeastern Arizona.

Fairbank once served as a transportation hub and supply depot for Tombstone and the Copper Queen Mine. Today, visitors can stop to tour the old school, which has been restored and transformed into a visitor center and bookstore.

Just 25 miles east is Gleeson , a copper mining town, thriving from 1909 to the 1930s. Little remains of it, but the owners of its restored gaol hold monthly open days for visitors.

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