Cochise Stronghold

Leaving Chiricahua National Monument I didn’t have much of a plan other than heading west. Instead I decided to pick something randomly on the map that looked interesting and check it out. And that’s how I ended up at Cochise Stronghold in Cochise, Arizona. Took a quick photo from a distance on the desolate entrance road for a great view of the Dragoon Mountains.

At the base of the mountains is a Coronado National Forest entrance sign. To paraphrase, Cochise was born here in 1815 and was the leader of the Chiricahua clan of Apache Indians, battled the US Cavalry from 1860 to 1872, and was buried in an unkown location in the Stronghold upon death.

Also at the entrance road is a stone homestead named the Shaw House which was donated in 1990 by the previous settler Richard Shaw who lived there since the 1920’s. After I returned home I was surprised to find this house is reservable through the website.

Nearby the homestead are some small historical signs detailing early homesteading in the area going back to the 1880’s.

Once I reached the end of the entrance road there is a parking area and some campsites along with several trailheads. I didn’t have cell service and couldn’t figure out how long they were, and it was getting late in the afternoon so I chickened out only doing the short History Trail.

The highlight of the trail are several signs detailing the history, including how the Stronghold was used by the Apache as a natural fortress, historic settlers going back 9,000 years to the current era, Cochise and the Chiricahua Apache, and the war and reservations imposed by the US government.

And finally there’s a plaque dedicated to Chief Cochise as Greatest of the Apache Warriors. After passing in 1874 he was buried somewhere within the Stronghold but it’s a secret and was only known by one white man Thomas J. Jeffords.

Unfortunately that’s all I had time left to see today. I headed back to Benson in my favorite cheap hotel (one that I know had Internet) so I could plan a bit more for tomorrow.

Author’s Note: Due to many reasons – none of them very good – I’m posting this from the future in June 2022. Actual visit date/time December 13, 2019 3:15pm. I’ll backdate it later so as to maintain chronological order. I’ve got an overwhelming backlog of photos to process which is probably why I procrastinate. Hope you enjoy them all the same.

Lat = 31.9221897 , Long = -109.9676971 -- Show at Google Maps

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