register help

Cochise Stronghold Nature Trail, AZ

12 6 1
Guide 6 Triplogs  1 Topic
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Tucson > Douglas
3.3 of 5 by 3
clicktap icons for details
Difficulty 1 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Loop 0.35 miles
Trailhead Elevation 4,916 feet
Accumulated Gain 59 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 30 minutes
Kokopelli Seeds 0.65
Interest Historic & Seasonal Creek
Backpack No
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
25  2018-05-20
Cochise Stronghold
5  2016-12-26
Cochise Stronghold Campground
30  2016-12-26
Cochise Stronghold Trail #279
15  2016-01-30
Cochise Stronghold Trail #279
12  2015-09-28 AZWanderingBear
Author AZWanderingBear
author avatar Guides 27
Routes 62
Photos 2,620
Trips 700 map ( 4,689 miles )
Age 63 Male Gender
Location Phoenix, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
Expand Map
Preferred   Mar, Nov, Apr, Feb
Seasons   Early Autumn to Late Spring
Sun  6:08am - 6:17pm
Official Route
2 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Named place Nearby
Getting a Strong Hold on the Nature of Things
by AZWanderingBear

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.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your hike to support this local community.

2015-10-05 AZWanderingBear
    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.

    Most recent Triplog Reviews
    Cochise Stronghold Nature Trail
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Walking in a Winter Wonderland. This will be one of my most memorable hikes.

    On Christmas Eve & Christmas morning, the Cochise Stronghold Campground had 3-4” of snow and the trail at higher elevations had a little bit more. Christmas Day the temps got up into the mid-40s so the snow started to melt. Overnight it froze.

    Campground: I got to the campground around 10:00 on the 26th and was greeted by snow/ice accumulations and the sound of running water from the ice melt. I had my ice scraper so I quickly got the campground squared away.
    What a great day and what great memories. See my triplog about the campground.

    The trail was a combination of slush, ice, and snow. Temperatures rose into the low 50’s during the day so there was a lot of melt and streams and trails were running with water. Snow was melting and falling out of the trees. This was a target rich environment for photos so I was often stopping to take photos. I was using my new Sony alpha6000. It will take some getting used to with the screen and the lenses. Layering was difficult. It was tough to get the right layers so I was often either too hot or too cold and had to stop and adjust. Not many people had hiked very far on the trail. In some places, I started to think that I wish I had my Kahtoola Microspikes for the ice. As I got closer to Half Moon Tank the trail I started wishing I had worn my Sorel snow boots and not my Lowa desert boots. Looking at the trail from the Dam to the Divide, I decided to turn back.
    Cochise Stronghold Nature Trail
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Cochise Stronghold Campground
    Driving in on Ironwood presents the full panorama of the Dragoons. I stopped at the Interpretative sign then continued on. There was one little fork in the road. The main road went left, I went right (I'm just a Road less Travelled kind of guy :y: ). I ended up in the “dispersed camping” area outside of the Cochise Stronghold Campground. There were numerous RVs and trailers. Camping here is free but you don’t have picnic tables – so bring your own. I had a nice talk with some women from Colorado who were staying for two weeks. There must be 2 dozen places to camp.

    I got back on the main road and followed it into the campground. As you enter the campground you have to stop and go to an interpretative sign with an envelope box and a payment box. If you have a National Park Service Pass, Golden Eagle Pass, Coronado Forest Service Pass, etc, enter your Pass # and it is $5 per night. If you don’t have a pass it is $10 per night. There was no one in the Campground. Each campground has access to the Outhouse near the trail, a picnic bench, fire pit and a sorry excuse for a BBQ.

    I chose Campsite 7. Mostly because it was in the sun and the snow was melting. (Did I mention that it was cold just after Christmas). And it is close to the trail. These campsites are close together. Later in the day a family of Norwegians chose #8. Eynar and his sons Odin, Paul, and Ian (named after Ian Paice of Deep Purple :o), (I was afraid to ask who Odin was named after) They had a Norwegian Sami Indigenous TeePee tent - way cool. They were expert fire builders. I am fearless but they scared me with how they were splitting kindling with a hatchet in the dark. But they each had 10 fingers as best I could tell so I couldn't say anything. They stayed up talking around the fire. Didn’t bother me since I don’t speak Norwegian.

    A Santa Claus looking pilgrim pulled up in a Pickup/trailer combination and camped near the group site. His generator bothered the Norwegians but not me. I could hear the stream under the bridge tonight from my campsite.

    I would camp here again if there were only a couple of groups. Otherwise I might consider bringing a table and camping out in the dispersed camping. :M2C:

    SNOW For Christmas. The Alligator Junipers were nicely green.
    Cochise Stronghold Nature Trail
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Day 2 of our 8-day road trip through SE AZ began with a really good breakfast at the Cochise Stronghold B&B. We ate on the patio with our friends the hummingbirds, the chickens that layed the eggs we were eating, and the B&B's very friendly cat. Not a bad start to the day.

    We packed up and drove the very short distance to the campground to stroll the nature trail in the cool before heading off to the Chiricahuas.

    Permit $$

    Coronado Forest
    MVUMs are rarely necessary to review unless mentioned in the description or directions
    Coronado Motor Vehicle Use Maps (MVUMs)

    Map Drive
    FR / Dirt Road / Gravel - Car Okay

    To hike
    From Tucson, go east on I-10 to Exit 318. Follow Dragoon Road to the intersection with Highway 191. Proceed south on Highway 191 to Ironwood Road. Take Ironwood Road west until it ends at the Cochise Stronghold Campground.
    page created by AZWanderingBear on Oct 05 2015 4:28 pm
    help comment issue

    end of page marker