Getting a Strong Hold on the Nature of Things
Overview: This little hike is a quick informative loop. The major trees, shrubs and plants of the Dragoon Mountains and the Cochise Stronghold are introduced and explained via the abundant signage along the trail.
History: Cochise Stronghold is an important fixture in the history of the Southwest. Chief Cochise led his small band of Apaches in an effective guerrilla campaign against the US Army for several years. His strategic and tactical brilliance was enhanced by the Apache's intimate knowledge of the geography and abundance of a land that the whites found inhospitable. To understand the history, you must understand the landscape of the Stronghold.
Hike: Cross the bridge at the southeastern corner of the Cochise Stronghold Campground. Take a moment to read the plaque to the left. A bench awaits at the other side of the bridge. Go left and follow the well marked trail. Signs will explain the various plants you will encounter and their uses by both the animals of the Dragoons and the Apaches. Banana Yucca is abundant as are other yucca species. Oaks, pines, sycamores, and juniper provide shade and were resources as well. Clumps of Bear Grass dot the landscape, good cordage if you know how to use it.
About halfway around the loop the trail splits off to the Cochise Trail. Stay right and follow the nature trail through more informative signage back to where you began.
Back across the bridge at the southwestern corner of the campground is a paved interpretive that explains the history of the area in detail. It is well worth your time and expands on the knowledge offered along the nature trail.
Water Sources: Water is not available in the campground. However, restrooms are available at the trailhead.
Camping: The Cochise Stronghold Campground is an intimate shaded campground. It is available on a first come basis with 9 sites with tent pads and picnic tables. There are also 2 group sites as well. The area and campground are popular with birders as well as hikers.
Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.
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.