Public Lands

Public lands offer diverse recreational opportunities for visitors to Cochise County. Listed below are the outdoor recreation areas where you can view our stunning landscapes, National Park Service sites, public lands, wildlife viewing, birding and nature activiites.

Chiricahua National Monument offers camping, hiking and scenic drives. You can also visit Faraway Ranch, a former guesthouse. Chiricahua National Monument is located between Willcox and Douglas off AZ Highway 181.

Coronado National Memorial offers hiking, picnicking, birdwatching and caving as some of the ways to enjoy nature in this historic site where Coronado first crossed into the Americas in the 1500's. Located south of Sierra Vista on Highway 92.

Fort Bowie National Historic Site is a monument to the fierce battles of the past, Fort Bowie helps visitors see the clash of cultures that soldiers and Indians faced during the settling of the American West. Hike, picnic and view wildlife and birds during your visit to the fort.

San Bernardino National Wildlife Area, east of Douglas, offers wildlife viewing, hunting and fishing. 

The Nature Conservancy's world-renowned Ramsey Canyon Preserve is home to a notable variety of plant and animal life thanks to the abrupt rise of mountains like the Huachucas from the surrounding arid grasslands. This combination of factors creates “sky islands” that harbor tremendous habitat diversity and form stepping stones to the tropics.

For information on public lands in Cochise County, contact the Douglas or Sierra Vista Ranger Districts.

Kartchner Caverns State Park on Highway 90 in Benson offers cave tours of the most recently opened state park in Cochise County. Other activities include camping, picnicking and hiking. Kartchner Caverns was named named 2017 "Best Arizona Attraction" by USA Today Readers' Choice, a year after being named "Best Cave in the USA" from the same readers' group. 

Tombstone Courthouse State Historic Park is run by the City of Tombstone. It showcases Tombstone's wild history and the people who made it the "Town Too Tough To Die." Exhibits include a tax license for operating a brothel and invitations to a hanging, just to name a few.

Whitewater Draw Wildlife Area, an outstanding waterfowl habitat, provides fantastic opportunities for wildlife watching, especially in winter when Sandhill Cranes migrate through the area. Arizona Game and Fish currently manages Whitewater Draw for waterfowl, cranes, and other wetland associated birds.

Willcox Playa Wildlife Area offers a rich experiencefor seeing waterfowl in an otherwise desert environment. Bird-watching at the playa and associated habitats is a fantastic way to spend a day or a weekend. Birds range from shorebirds to the thousands of Sandhill Cranes that are the focus of the annual Wings over Willcox birding festival every January.

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) manages and protects lands, natural attractions and sensitive areas. Recreational opportunities abound on BLM land in Arizona, including hiking, bicycling, camping and picnicking, horseback riding, rock climbing, geocaching, visiting historic sites and more. For a complete list of areas in southeastern Arizona, visit the Safford Field Office or Tucson Field Office

San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area, extends along the San Pedro River from Benson to the Mexican border. The riparian area is an invaluable habitat for wildlife and birds. It provides miles of opportunities to enjoy birding, hiking and other outdoor activities.

Sign up for our free newsletter
Submit