Cochise Stronghold


East of Tucson and west of the Sunsites, the Dragoon Mountains are home to the famous Cochise Stronghold and boast a 5,000-foot elevation. Within the gorgeous woodland region, granite domes with staggering cliffs were home to Apache Chief Cochise. Nestled in the Coronado National Forest, the area is now managed by rangers but the rich history makes it a popular destination for Tucson visitors.

Getting to the stronghold can mean rough roads, though they’re usually manageable. Cochise considered the area his retreat for 15 years, along with 1,000 followers including 250 warriors. Cochise was the leader of the tribe’s Chiricahua band in the mid 1800s, when the U.S. took over what’s now Arizona and New Mexico.

Arizona History

Wrongly accused of kidnapping a rancher’s son, Cochise and the U.S. military began fighting in 1861. Cochise earned the reputation of a fantastic strategist who was never defeated. Ultimately, he passed away in peace and it’s said that he was secretly buried somewhere near Cochise Stronghold.

Visitors will find a number of homages to the chief, including Cochise Indian Trail that takes hikers over the Stronghold Divide. Just five miles long, it’s an accessible day hike with a short loop and information peppered along the way. Throughout this hike you’ll be treated to a gentle stroll flanked in junipers and oaks.

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