Category Archives: Hiking

National Parks will offer 3 free summer weekends

Your vacation doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. Want to see some really cool spots for FREE? The National Park Service announced that it will offer three free weekends this summer on June 20-21, July 18-19 and August 15-16.

Three national parks are in Cochise County. Only one charges an entrance fee.  The other are free year round.

Photo (c) National Park Service

Photo (c) National Park Service

Chiricahua National Monument: This is an amazing place. The Chiricahua Apaches called it the “land of standing up rocks.” Volcanic activity started the formations, and years of erosion have sculpted these towering spires. You can choose from 15 hikes in the park. More than 200 species of birds call the area home. Faraway Ranch is also on site. It was once a simple homestead that was a guest ranch from 1917 to 1972. Check the park’s visitor center  for tour times. Chiricahua National Monument is between Willcox and Douglas in Cochise County. Check the Chiricahua National Monument’s website for directions.

Fort Bowie National Historic Site. Copyright Luanne Mattson

Fort Bowie National Historic Site. Copyright Luanne Mattson

Fort Bowie National Historic Site: The Indian Wars of the late 1800s started with the Bascom Affair. Learn about it, and see the ruins of the Fort when you complete the 1.5 mile hike into the site. It’s a beautiful spot! Fort Bowie is accessible by a dirt road. See the National Park Service’s directions to get there.

Coronado National Memorial: This national park site commemorates the spot where Spanish explorers crossed into the U.S. Birds, hiking trails, incredible views, history and limestone caves are here. Coronado National Memorial is south of Sierra Vista in Hereford. See directions at their website.

If you want to enjoy the outdoors this summer, these are some great places to explore.

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Recurring events in Cochise County

Want the chance to learn about Arizona’s history or experience some of southern Arizona’s greatest outdoor activities? You can with some of the events in Cochise County that happen on a regular basis.

Tours of Historic Faraway Ranch, Chiricahua National Monument

The Faraway Ranch was one of the earliest cattle and guest ranches in southeast Arizona. You’ll get to step back in time and see how life was lived in the early days of the West.

Details: 2 p.m. & 3 p.m. Fridays-Sundays at Chiricahua National Monument, 12856 E. Rhyolite Creek Road. Admission is free with park admission of $5 a person. Info at 520-824-3560, ext. 303 or

Arizona Folklore Preserve, Sierra Vista

Arizona’s Official State Balladeer Dolan Ellis and musical guests perform Saturday and Sunday afternoons in the Arizona Folklore Preserve’s intimate setting in forested Ramsey Canyon. Many of the songs are inspired by aspects of Arizona life and culture. Reservations are required. Go to the Arizona Folklore Preserve’s website to see a list of upcoming shows.

Details: 2 p.m., Saturdays & Sundays at the Arizona Folklore Preserve, 44 E. Ramsey Canyon Road, Hereford. Admission is $15 for adults and $6 for students 17 and under. Info at 520-378-6165 or on the Arizona Folklore Preserve’s website.

Guided Walks, Ramsey Canyon Preserve, Sierra Vista

On these walks, you have a chance to see 170 species of birds found in the preserve and the surrounding national forest. Southwestern specialties such as painted redstarts and magnificent hummingbirds are here, as are other animals, including mountain lions, canyon treefrogs, rattlesnakes and dozens butterfly species. Guided nature walks are conducted March through October. Admission to the Preserve is $5; $3 for Cochise County residents. 27 E. Ramsey Canyon Road, Hereford.

Details:  9 a.m. Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at Ramsey Canyon Preserve. Admission is $5 for non-residents and $3 for Cochise County residents and Nature Conservancy members. Children under 16 are free. Call 520-378-2785 for more info.

Hummingbird Banding

Up to 10 species of hummingbirds use the San Pedro River corridor and surrounding areas as a migratory path. The public is invited to get an up-close look as scientists catch, band, weigh, measure and then release the birds.

Details: Check the Southeastern Arizona Bird Observatory’s calendar of events or the Hummingbird Monitoring  Network’s calendar page to find out when banding sessions are held. Viewing the banding is free San Pedro House, 9800 Highway 90.  4-6 p.m. Donations are gratefully accepted. For more information call the Southeastern Arizona Bird at 520-432-1388.

Farmer’s Markets

Local farmers and growers offer fresh produce and products. You’ll find a luscious assortment of garden fresh fruits and vegetables for sale, plus many other unique items.

Sierra Vista Farmers Market: noon to 4 p.m., Thursdays on the northwest corner of Willcox Drive & Carmichael Ave. in Sierra Vista. Info:  520-378-2973

Bisbee Farmers Market: 8 a.m. – noon, Saturdays, May through October in Vista Park, Bisbee. Info: 520-432-5421 or 1-866-2BISBEE

Events like the hummingbird banding are seasonal, as the birds migrate from about March to October, so call ahead for more details.

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Arizona Trail–start it in Cochise County!

Have you hiked any of the Arizona Trail’s 817 miles? If you have, you know that it’s got some gorgeous scenery along the way. Part of that trail starts right here in Cochise County.

Last week, an Arizona Daily Star article announced that the Arizona Trail has been designated a National Scenic Trail. President Barack Obama signed it into law on Monday, March 30.

The trail spans the length of Arizona starting at the Coronado National Memorial, where Francisco Vásquez de Coronado led an expedition to find the “Seven Cities of Cibola.” Read its legend and lore.

Cochise County’s portion of the Arizona Trail lies in the Huachuca Mountains.

The Huachuca Mountains near Sierra Vista

The Huachuca Mountains, Sierra Vista, AZ

It is the first 21 miles of the Arizona Trail on the southern border. Most of the trail lies in the Miller Peak Wilderness, a moderate-to-difficult section of the trail, with segments along the Crest Trail and on to Miller Peak (the tallest mountain in Cochise County at 9,466 feet).

For more information on the trail, contact the Sierra Vista Ranger district of the Coronado National Forest.

Happy Hiking!

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Chiricahua photo

Check out this great photo of some of the formations at Chiricahua National Monument. Kudos to the photographer, Laurent for his patience at getting this shot in the rain!

Have you posted any? If so, let us know. Post a comment and a link below!

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Chiricahua hiking weekend

My hike in the Chiricahua National Monument this weekend was amazing. Michelle and I braved the wind. We did the Echo Canyon loop trail. I hiked this same trail a couple of years ago. It still amazes me every time I see these rock formations. These are a couple of the pictures we took.

Photo (c) Luanne Mattson

Photo (c) Luanne Mattson

This one looks like it’s going to fall on Michelle, but it has probably been like that for thousands of years!

Echo Canyon Loop trail in Chiricahua National Monument

Echo Canyon Loop trail in Chiricahua National Monument

Check out this and other trails. The map on the Cochise County website shows you where they are located. The big green area on the right side of the map shows the Chiricahua Mountains. The National Monument is on the northern edge of the range. The Apaches called this mountain range the “land of the standing up rocks.”

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