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The Dragoon Mountains, part of Coronado National Forest, are located southeast of Tucson between the Whetstone and Chiricahua mountain ranges. On the east side of the mountains is the Cochise Stronghold Campground, which accommodates both tents and small camping trailers (16-feet maximum length) and is available on a first-come-first-served basis.
This Description offers details on camping in the Dragoons, but outside of the established Cochise Stronghold Campground. All of the locations below can be accessed with a regular-clearance passenger car IF the roads are dry.
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If the Cochise Stronghold campground is full and/or if you’re looking for sun and more space, we’d recommend finding a spot along Forest Road 4809 (about a mile before reaching the official campground). 4809 is also called W Hunt Road on some maps. If traveling with an RV, the approach is easier and less bumpy from the south end of the loop. There is no fee to camp here, and you can stay for up to 14 days in a row. There are no facilities, and no water is available.
We found the Dragoon Mountains' west side to be more picturesque and offered more solitude for camping. For tent-camping, we recommend one of several sites along the loop made by Forest Road 4804 off of Forest Road 687. The sites offer both shade and sun, and there's privacy between the sites. Note that there's one section of this loop where you'll find climbers parked and practicing, so you might want to avoid that site.
For RV-ers, there are several "pull-through" sites along Forest Road 687 before reaching the creek created by the drainage of Slavin Gulch. Not all of them offer shade (which is just fine in the winter and cooler months), but most offer views of both the west side of the Dragoons and the valley to the west.
There is no fee to either tent-camp or RV on the west side, and you can stay in one spot for up to 14 days. Water was found in the creek mentioned above, but, to our knowledge, there were no other reliable water sources nearby. There are also no facilities in these camping areas. However, the town of Tombstone is only about 30 minutes away (west, on Route 80) if you need basic provisions.
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