Visit a former refuge for the Chiricahua Apache people in the stunning canyonlands of Southern Arizona.
Set in a remote canyon filled with unusual rock formations, this area served as a natural fortress for Chief Cochise and 1,000 of his fellow Chiricahua Apache people during a time when skirmishes with settlers led them to flee their homelands. Eroded piles of granite boulders and narrow passages through the canyon make this geologic wonder ruggedly beautiful. In this scenic area, visitors find plenty of areas to explore the natural fortress in the Dragoon Mountains where Cochise is said to be buried.
Hit the Trails
Get ready for high-elevation hiking above 5,000 feet through dense stands of oak and juniper trees. Cochise Indian Trail connects the East Cochise Stronghold Campground with West Stronghold Canyon. The 5-mile trek over the Dragoon Mountains brings narrow ravines, granite domes and sheer cliffs into view. The shorter Interpretive Trail and Nature Trail are accessible from the campground. Expect to see rock climbers using the trails to transport their gear to any of the 1,000 established rock-climbing routes in the area.
Pitch a Tent
The lush landscapes surrounding Cochise Stronghold are positioned at the transition point between the Sonoran and Chihuahuan deserts. The area is shaded by oak trees and the valley floors present a bounty of desert plants with many varieties of cactus and yucca. Pitch a tent at Cochise Stronghold Campground, which has 11 individual and two group campsites with grills and picnic tables. Small RVs are allowed but no hookups are available. The nearby Half Moon Ranch converted a historic ranch house into a sprawling vacation rental for large groups seeking creature comforts.
Explore Southern Arizona
Cochise Stronghold is an easy day trip for visitors to Tucson or any of the historic small towns of Southern Arizona. Make Tombstone, Bisbee or Sierra Vista home base for a few days exploring the area’s sky island mountain ranges. Just an hour west of the stronghold, Kartchner Caverns State Park offers tours of the unbelievable landscapes under the Whetstone Mountains. An hour east of the stronghold, Chiricahua National Monument presents another natural rock wonderland. The Chiricahua Mountains require steeper hikes at higher elevations, but the experience is equally remote, rugged and filled with stories of strength and survival.
For More Information
Douglas Ranger District
1192 W. Saddleview Rd.
Douglas, AZ 85607