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Dragoon Springs Stage Station, AZPrint Full | Basic
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HAZ reminds you to respect the ruins. Please read the Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979 & Ruins Etiquette
Statistics
Difficulty 0.5    Route Finding
Distance Round Trip 0.3 miles
Trailhead Elevation 4,911 feet
Elevation Gain 21 feet
Accumulated Gain 30 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 0.5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 0.45
Interest Ruins & Historic
Preston
Descriptions 166
Routes 149
Photos 5,474
Trips 1,043 map ( 5,418 miles )
Age 36
Location Tucson, AZ
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Rated Viewed All Mine Friends
13  2011-01-05 Preston
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Forest Coronado
Backpack - No
Seasons - ALL
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Nearby Hikes Area Water Sources
direct air miles away to trailhead
1.0  Dragoon Marble Quarries
4.5  Mount Glenn via Northeast Ridge
4.8  Cochise Stronghold / Pale Face Slab
4.8  Cochise Stronghold / Rockfellow Dome
4.8  Cochise Stronghold / Whale Dome
4.9  Cochise Stronghold / Batline Dome
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short hike, long history
by Preston

Mobile Version
Overview: The historic Dragoon Springs Stage Station, on the northern edge of the Dragoon Mountains, is a site full of western history and brutal violence. The hike to its ruins, although exceedingly short, is worth the effort if you are in the area. One can also hike beyond the stage station ruins up Jordan Canyon, to Dragoon Spring itself.

History: In 1857, John Butterfield, after being awarded a government mail contract, constructed a stagecoach route that came to be known as the Butterfield Trail, between St. Louis and San Francisco. The route crossed southern Arizona, and stagecoach stations were constructed every twenty miles or so along the route, taking advantage of dependable water sources when possible. Dragoon Springs was one of these sources, and a station was constructed near the springs in August 1858. The heavily fortified station consisted of a 3 foot thick, 10 foot high stone wall, 45 feet by 55 feet enclosing the site, with 2 small rooms inside the enclosure. Stock was corralled within the walls.

The station got off to a violent start on the night of September 8, 1858, when three laborers attacked and killed three station employees wielding axes and a hammer. Employee Silas St. John's arm was nearly severed by an axe blow, but he managed to grab a rifle and a pistol and began firing, at which point the attackers fled. Silas lay in agony for several days, and fought off coyotes, vultures, and wolves, before help finally arrived. Silas lost his left arm, but recovered. The first Butterfield mail stage arrived on October 2, 1858.

A Confederate Army foraging party that was gathering stray cattle was attacked at Dragoon Springs on May 5, 1862, by Apaches under command of Cochise and Francisco. Four Confederate soldiers were killed, and buried at the stage station. Their graves can be seen today.

Several days after the famous Council Rocks peace meeting between Cochise and General Howard near the mouth of Stronghold Canyon West, a formal meeting was held at Dragoon Springs on October 12, 1872. It was here that the boundaries of the new Chiricahua Apache Reservation were laid out. The Reservation extended east to New Mexico, and south to Mexico, and included the Dragoon Mountains. The Reservation was short lived, only lasting until 1876.

Hike: First locate the Dragoon Springs Stage Station sign next to the road (1.1 miles up Forest Road 4232 from Old Ranch Road, and 0.7 miles past the signed Coronado National forest boundary). Begin hiking up the path that departs from behind the sign. The path travels north, climbing a low grassy rise, and crosses through a fence along the way. The path quickly arrives at a large, rectangular rock wall, maybe 4 to 5 feet high. This is the ruin of the stage station. A few yards further north are the graves of the Confederate soldiers. Several interpretive plaques inform visitors of the site's history. Visible to the north is Dragoon Pass and the Texas Canyon area. Immediately to the south and east, the Dragoon Mountains rise from the surrounding plains. Return the same way.

One can also continue hiking (or driving) for another mile along Forest Road 4232 to the Dragoon Springs area, in Jordan Canyon. A rock wall among the oak trees in the wash may be Dragoon Spring. If so, it is in disrepair, as I did not see any water. A well beaten cow path heads up Jordan Canyon for aways before fading away.

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    Directions Preferred Months Oct Nov Mar Apr
    Water / Source:none
    Preferred StartAny Cell Phone SignalYes Sunrise5:33am Sunset7:20pm
    Road / VehicleFR / Jeep Road -Car possible when dry
    Fees / Permit
    None

    Directions
    Print Version
    To hike
    From Tucson, travel east on Interstate 10 past Benson, and take exit 318 (Dragoon Road). Turn right onto Dragoon Road, and follow it for 3.6 miles to the town of Dragoon. When you cross the railroad tracks, make an immediate right onto Old Ranch Road (Dragoon Road makes a sharp bend to the left). Follow Old Ranch Road (low clearance dirt, ok for cars) for 2.4 miles to the turnoff for Forest Road 4232 on the left, which is marked by a sign indicating "JORDAN CANYON 2, STAGE STATION, FOREST ACCESS". Turn left and follow Forest Road 4232 for 1.1 miles to the wooden sign for Dragoon Springs Station. Park here, and follow the unmarked trail behind the sign for 0.15 miles to the stage station ruins and cemetery.
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    WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.
    page created by Preston on Jan 07 2011 2:45 pm
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