Native American/Apache Itinerary
Naming the County
In the mid 1800’s, the U.S. Army was sent here to protect the settlers and set up camp in the area that would become Fort Huachuca. Battles between the Apaches and the army were give and take and the soldiers were later withdrawn due to the Civil War in the east. The Apaches thought they had won the battle with the settlers and the soldiers. But, when the Civil War ended, the Calvary returned in much greater strength. After the death of the great Apache Chief Cochise (for which the county is named), the Apache warriors rode under Geronimo. In the late 1880’s, Geronimo surrendered to the army in Skeleton Canyon. Learn more about Native American/Apache History.
Amerind Foundation Museum
Archaeologists and scholars at the museum study the Chiricahua Apaches and other American Indian cultures. The Amerind houses one of the finest private collections of Native American art and artifacts in the country. It is located between Benson and Willcox.
A vast expanse of rocks and forest in the Dragoon Mountains, this is where Cochise is reported to be buried. Where is his grave? The mystery continues today. No one knows, but this was his favorite hideout. He and fellow tribe members used the natural landscape to escape and launch their own attacks during the Indian Wars. You can hike the 4.5 mile (rated difficult by the Forest Service) at Cochise Stronghold trail, camp at one of 10 individual campsites or spend the night at a nearby bed & breakfast inn or hotel in the towns of Cochise, Pearce/Sunsites or Sunizona.
Chiricahua Regional Museum and Research Center
You’ll get an in-depth view of the Chiricahua Apaches and their influence on southeastern Arizona’s culture. Just around the corner is the Willcox Commercial. Apache leader, Geronimo, used to buy sugar there.
127 E Maley St, Willcox, AZ 85643 | (520) 384-3971
Fort Bowie National Historic Site
Take a 1.5 mile hike to the Fort Bowie Visitor Center and learn about the Bascom Affair, an event that launched the Indian Wars of the region in the late 1800s. Access to Fort Bowie is an eight-mile dirt road to the trail head. It’s well worth the visit. Along the trail, you can see where the Butterfield Overland Stage stopped and view a cemetery.
Chiricahua National Monument
See what the Apaches called the “land of the standing up rocks.” The stunning “hoodoos” are testament to the geologic forces of time. You’ll find several hiking trails to keep you busy and helpful staff at the monument’s visitor center. The monument is located between Willcox and Douglas.
You can also tour Faraway Ranch, the home of Swedish immigrants, Neil and Emma Erickson. They settled in Bonita Canyon in the late 1880's, and their home evolved from a simple homestead to a thriving guest ranch that operated from 1917 to 1972. Inside is a fireplace with carvings made by Buffalo Soldiers.
In the San Pedro River Valley and the town of Sierra Vista is Fort Huachuca, an army post established in 1877 to help quell the Indian Wars. The post was home to B Troop of the U.S. Cavalry and the famous Buffalo Soldiers. In 1886, the Buffalo Soldiers pursued Geronimo and tracked him and his band in the Pinito Mountains in Mexico. You’ll find more information on Fort Huachuca in the Military History section.
Petroglyph Discovery Trail
Along the San Pedro River, you’ll find evidence of ancient peoples. You can view ancient carvings of the area’s early inhabitants. Start at the San Pedro House for information on the Petroglyph Discovery Trail. After the Petroglyph Discovery Trail, visit the pictograph site located on Fort Huachuca in Sierra Vista. At the top of a mountain lane, you can see the rock paintings in Garden Canyon.
For more information on Fort Huachuca and the San Pedro River Valley, contact the Sierra Vista Visitors Center.