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Cochise Stronghold Trail #279
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mini location map2012-03-31
9 by photographer avatarEartheist
photographer avatar
 
Cochise Stronghold Trail #279Tucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 31 2012
Eartheist
Hiking9.50 Miles 1,100 AEG
Hiking9.50 Miles
1,100 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
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The_Dude
Uberdroog
Very cool hike up to the East/West Stronghold Divide, down the western side to the bottom of the Western Stronghold, then back again. Little less than 10 miles round trip from the campground. From the trailhead near the campground on the East side, it's about 3 miles up to the divide; mostly gradual accent. Amazing piles of granite boulders everywhere, some as big as houses. From the divide, it's 1.75 miles down to a wash at the bottom of the western side trailhead. There is a forest road that leads here, so this looks like a nice place to possibly camp and hike the trail from here. (The main campground on the east side was very crowded and we were lucky enough to be there at the same time as a giant church/camp group of teenagers.)
The way back up was a little harder, as it's shorter and much steeper back up to the divide, but the spectacular views on the west side make it worth it. This part of the trail is pretty open, and gives great views of the canyon and what I think were the Whetstone Mountains way out West. A little bit of a grind getting back up but not too bad. Then of course the walk back down the East side is a breeze.
Amazing geography, and fascinating imagining the Apaches holing up there while they fought with the encroaching white army because they rejected the US's offer to relocate them off their land.
Hiked end of March, weather was perfect. Got a little warm late in the afternoon, but plenty of cool breezes. Usual SW desert flora: manzanita, junipers, elms, pinion pine, saw a few tiny ferns, yuccas, etc. Not much wildlife: a few large birds (woodpecker, hawk, turkey vulture, blue birds, and a big black bird (grackle?), one jackrabbit and one lizard. Lots of fresh scat with seeds on the western side trail, but never saw anything to go with it. Too big for a deer, but smaller than a bears. Looked like from a fox or maybe mountain lion.
Very cool trip. Worth the drive down from Phoenix for sure.
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