Cochise Trail 279

Coronado National Forest, Arizona

Elevation Gain2,236ft
Trailhead Elevation4,924ft
Elevation Min/Max4922/5973ft
Elevation Start/End4924/4924ft

Cochise Trail 279

Cochise Trail #279 is a hiking trail in Cochise County, Arizona. It is within Coronado National Forest. It is 4.5 miles long and begins at 4,924 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 9.0 miles with a total elevation gain of 2,236 feet. The Cochise Stronghold Campground camp site is near the trailhead. There are also restrooms. The Halfmoon Tank (elevation 5,669 feet) and Johns Well (elevation 5,397 feet) reservoirs, the Cochise Spring spring, and the Stronghold Divide information guidepost can be seen along the trail. This trail connects with the following: Middlemarch Canyon Trail #277 and Trail #278.

Cochise Trail #279 Professional Reviews and Guides

"A day hike into the Dragoon Mountains, 4.5 miles one way.

The hike begins on an interpretive nature trail; follow the left fork for quickest access to the Cochise Stronghold Trail. A path leaves the nature loop to cross the wash of East Stronghold Canyon and then climbs the opposite bank to link up with an equestrian trail arriving from the north. Turn right at this junction. Follow the wash southward through a woodland of oak and juniper. Early on there are good views of the massive granite slabs that form the backbone of the stronghold, but these spires soon disappear behind rounded foothills."

"Named for the famed Apache chief, Cochise Stronghold is an alluring and mysterious place. Ringed by salmon-tinted granite domes and faces, this wilderness of rock provided safe haven for Cochise during the twelve years that he and his warriors fought the U.S. Army.

Never surrendering, Cochise agreed to peace only in exchange for land in 1872. Cochise died on June 8, 1874, and he was buried Heading south from a Forest Service campground to Stronghold Divide, the Cochise Trail offers a wonderful look at this legendary locale."

"Once your dog is watered and leashed—remember to pack water in—cross the bridge to begin the Cochise Stronghold Trail 279. Though the pathway itself is very easy on boot and paw, with the exception of occasional rocky segments in the upper reaches, this trail takes you through the rugged natural fortress of the Chiricahua Apaches, a sanctuary for Cochise’s troops in their bloody 12-year war with the U.S. Cavalry (Cochise, legend has it, is buried somewhere in the stronghold).

Once you cross the bridge, point the leash left. Before you get 0.25 mile in, the path begins climbing through an extravagantly lush, oak, juniper copse studded with turpentine bushes, blood-barked manzanitas, beargrass, Schott’s yuccas, madrone trees, quinine bushes, agaves, and chilicates—a pepper plant. Stay alert and heed the leash rule, for deer, bears, and javelinas thrive in this bountiful place."

Cochise Trail #279 Reviews

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This is an easy hike with a lot of beauty to it. The history of Cochise makes it more enjoyable. It's in the middle of no where. The good thing is the camp ground is small and clean if you chose to stay.
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This trail is my favorite of the region. It is actually quite an easy trail to walk up to the stronghold divide. The elevation gain is quite gradual but not boring by any means. The scenes are quite lovely. You can easily imagine how Cochise hid among these rock formations. East of the stronghold divide the trail begins going downhill with lots of switchbacks. The scenery becomes more inspiring with each turn. There is one very, very narrow portion of the trail where there is no possible way I would cross on a horse (in case you had that plan). Some repair to the trail is needed here. I actually plan to hike in from the east end of the trail so I am going uphill on my way in toward the stronghold divide then turn back for downhill return. I hear the drive in toward the east entry is a beautiful drive.
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A great trail with suprisingly awesome views and chances for some scrambling and bouldering. A nice overnight can be done by starting at the east stronghold and hiking the 4.5 miles to the west stronghold, where there are some nice campsites near and around the unpaved parking lot there. Aside from the occasional car (or hiker who starts there rather than at the east side), a nice amount of seclusion is available. Bring plenty of water; there is usually some available at Half Moon Tank, but I wouldn't want to drink it, even treated!
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We walked up to the divide on a Saturday afternoon and jogged back down. It's a nice stroll on a well worn trail with gradual elevation gain. The vistas are limited but impressive. The place, as a whole, is well worth a look, and this trail is a great introduction.

Cochise Trail #279 Photos

Trail Information

Coronado National Forest
Nearby City
Coronado National Forest
Moderate to Difficult
Skill Level
USGS Cochise Stronghold
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Nov 2018