Day trips in & around Sierra Vista

Fort Huachuca:

Welcome to Fort Huachuca, home of the U.S. Army Intelligence Center and the U.S. Army Network Enterprise Technology Command (NETCOM)/9th Army Signal Command. Located in Cochise County, in southeast Arizona, about 15 miles north of the border with Mexico,

Garden Canyon – Garden Canyon is the site of ongoing archeological studies at a prehistoric village near the mouth of the canyon. At higher elevations there is rock art, which includes black and red rock paintings possibly dating to the 12th century A.D. There is also eye-catching white eagle paintings believed to have been done by the Apache artist in the 18th century. This scenic area within Fort Huachuca contains some of the most diverse plant and animal life in the Huachuca Mountains.

Huachuca Canyon – no fee- nice picnic area


Fort Huachuca Museum

A national historic landmark, this is the custodian of the southwestern military history. The fascinating history of the U.S. Army and the Southwest comes alive in displays and dramas. Hours are 9 AM to 4 PM weekdays, 1 PM to 4 PM weekends. Call 520-533-5736 or 520 533-3402.

Fort Huachuca Army Intelligence Museum — this Museum traces the Army Intelligence history and other military intelligence gathering equipment from early US military service.. Open Monday through Friday 9 AM to 4 PM. Saturday and Sunday 1 AM to 4 PM. Free. 520 533 – 1107

Buffalo Corral Riding Stables – has horses to rent for groups or individuals by the hour. . Hours of operation are Thursday through Sunday, 9 A.M. – 4 P.M. the last horse out for open riding is 2:45. For more information call     520-533-5220.

Old Post Cemetery, Fort Huachuca – If you like local tales that only tombstones can tell, the Old Post Cemetery is a must see for both the graveyard history buff and the vacationing family looking for local color during a leisurely stroll. Tip: Be sure to check the backs of gravestones for information that can often be more interesting than what is engraved on the front.

Parker Canyon LakeThe 300-acre Parker Canyon Lake recreation area is located in the western foothills of the Huachuca Mountains, 30 miles southeast of Sonoita on Arizona highway 83. There is a campground and a maintained hiking trail which circles the lake.  The 80-acre lake offers both cold- and warm-water fish, including stocked rainbow trout and resident bass, sunfish and catfish.  Directions: Go out the West gate at Ft Huachuca and turn left all the way to the end of the road. Great place to visit and have fun. About a 30 min drive. Free (520) 378-0311.

Sierra Vista:

Located in Cochise County, Sierra Vista is the main commercial, cultural and recreational hub of the area. At an elevation of 4,623 feet, Sierra Vista’s abundant sunshine and clean air combine to make this city a comfortable and pleasant place to live. Also called the humming bird capitol of the world! It is also located at the Main gate to Ft. Huachuca.     Website:


Henry F. Hauser Museum

The museum reports on the history and environment of the Greater Sierra Vista Area. A must see complement to the Fort Huachuca Museums. 2950 E. Tacoma Street Sierra Vista AZ 85635 (520) 417-6980 x 560 Open Monday-Friday 9 am to 5 pm. Open Saturdays, October-March, 10:00 am to 2 pm.

Ramsey Canyon Preserve

owned and operated by the Nature Conservatory Ramsey Canyon Preserve the most popular natural viewing areas in the southwest Arizona.

Situated on the East slope of the Huachuca Mountains the 300 acre preserve is home to more than 200 species of rare and engage teenagers plants and animals, including birds that snakes frogs ferns and lilies.

From April through September significant number of migratory hummingbirds are attracted to Ramsey Canyon   To reach Ramsey Canyon take Arizona Highway 92 S. from Sierra Vista to the 327 mile marker turn right onto Ramsey Canyon Road and follow it to its end. The road is paid to it a few yards of the preserve.  . Call 520-378-2785.



Carr Canyon Road (Forest Road 368)
If you look up at the Huachuca Mountains from the town of Sierra Vista, a band of sheer cliffs bends and curves across the face of the mountain range. The relatively flat area above is called the Carr Reef. That is the Carr Canyon Road, the only road into the upper reaches of the Huachuca Range.

This narrow, winding road was built at the turn of the century , to open up Carr Canyon provides the reward of extraordinary views of Sierra Vista, the San Pedro Valley, and a number of surrounding mountains. You’ll find an extensive network of trails that lead throughout the Huachuca Range.


Our Lady of the Sierras Shrine
High on a hill in the Huachuca Mountains, a 75 foot Celtic Cross beckons visitors to come closer, a large angel with open arms welcomes visitors to the Shrine. Our Lady of the Sierra Shrine. Free admission. Open daily 9 am to sunset. website:



San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area

San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area







The San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area, 40 miles of lush riparian vegetation, features an abundance of plant and animal life. The SPRNCA runs along the San Pedro River, from the Mexican border nearly to Saint David and has ten access points. In addition to wildlife the NCA contains the sites of several mining towns, such as Charleston, Millville, Fairbank and Contention City. Evidence of prehistoric cultures can be found at the Murray Springs Clovis Site and the ruins of a Spanish presidio represent the colonial period. The Nature Conservancy has listed the San Pedro as one of the 10 “Last Great Places” in the U.S. The area is generally closed to private vehicular traffic, except by special permit. Find visitor information at the San Pedro House on Hwy 90, 6 miles east of Sierra Vista or call the Bureau of Land Management .




Coronado National Memorial :

The Coronado National Monument is located in Southeast Arizona along the Mexican Border. It consists of 4750 Acres of Oak Woodland and mountainous terrain. It is through this area that Francisco Vasquez de Coronado and his expedition traveled in their search for the fabled “seven cities of Cibola (Gold)” from 1540 to 1542. The national monument has a visitor’s center with a small museum/gift shop, take the Memorial Road to the end.. 520-366-5515. The Visit is free. Great Views of Arizona and Mexico. Take your camera!          website:


Murray Springs Clovis Site & Trail

This BLM (Bureau of Land Management) archaeological site was first discovered in 1966. The trail is 1/3 mile long and offers 10 exhibits on life in the Ice Age. Only bones and teeth of the large animals like mommoths, mastodons, giant ground sloths and saber-toothed cats can be found here today.. From Sierra Vista, go east on highway 90 about 4 miles from the intersection of highway 90 and highway 92, to Moson road. Go left (north) 1.1 mile to the entrance road on the right (east). (520) 439-6400


Cochise County:

Cochise County’s history shaped Arizona and much of the American West

Get away to the heart of Cochise County, Arizona, the Land of Legends.  Wyatt Earp, the Apache leader Cochise, and the famous Buffalo Soldiers all made history here.. In Cochise county you’ll experience the Old West, military history, birding, hiking, the lush Sonoran desert, restored mining towns and much more.



Bisbee :

Once the most prosperous Arizona copper mining town, Bisbee is now a modern artist colony perched on picturesque hillsides. Next visit the lavender open pit mine, historic brewery gulch with many scenic bars and many fascinating galleries and shops. About 30 miles east-southeast of Sierra Vista, this landmark offers visitors a unique sense of living history. See the open pit mining or ride the tour trains to experience the history of copper mining in Arizona. Visit the many specialty shops featuring arts crafts: Mary delights and antiques. Bisbee is the seat of Cochise County government and Arizona Main Street city. For information call 520-432 -5421.     Website:

Queen mine tour — mine tours daily from the historic mining district and circuit surface mine tours. Historic walking tour and Cochise then tours. Write a tram 1500 feet underground and learn about era in Arizona copper mine. 520-4322-07192

Copper Queen Hotel .  Western historic themed rooms  are available and it has a nice restaurant and bar.

Antiques — many antique an old book are stores on the main street

Bisbee Mining and Historical Museum

Exhibits highlight social issues and the daily lives of Bisbee residents nearly a century ago as well as the practice and technology of mining. Fees: Adults $7.50, Seniors (60+) $6.50, Children 16 and under $3.00



“The town too tough to die” was home of Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday and the Clayton’s. The famous OK Corral is still there. Website:


So is scenic Boot Hill Cemetery and daily staged live shootouts. Tombstone has many exhibits, restaurants, old stores, rides and numerous historic buildings are available for you to see.  Allow at least a half day for fun and exploration. Make sure you take your camera, as you see many historical rascals prowling the street and bars.

Six Gun City – free gunfights the 12 Noon and three o’clock Wednesday through Sunday only confide where you can sit on public tables or food and drink in out of hot sun.

Birdcage Theater – feel free to learn the history of shady Tombstone.

Tombstone Courthouse State historic Park

The original Cochise County courthouse built in 1822 now houses an extensive Museum. Exhibits depict knowledge of famous shootout between the Earp’s and the Clayton gang but also mining and ranching life, which was the life blood of the County. On the second floor is a complete 1880s courtroom. The courthouse also house the jail and visitors can step out into the prisoners exercise yard and do the wooden gallows. A must see in anyone interested in the authentic old West. One dollar for children $4 for 16-year-olds and adults 520-457-3311

Big Nose Kate’s Salon . Enjoy the lighted atmosphere inside Big Nose Kate’s with a long bar and restaurant. It has Beautiful glass murals and offers a store downstairs. Get in from the heat and have a cool drink or sarsaparilla.


Douglas was founded almost 100 years ago. The city of Douglas is characterized by a wealth of distinguished architecture deed to the first quarter of the century. The Gadsden Hotel is the best known of these structures, but architecture and history aficionados also one of visit church square, historical residential district Douglas Williams house museum in the unique Sonora row houses.


The Gadsden Hotel — listed in the National Register of Historic Places, this opulent hotel was built in 1907. The lobby with sweeping Italian marble staircase where they say Poncho Villa rode his horse up  the steps, features a Victorian chandelier , authentic Tiffany vaulted skylights and a 42 foot stained-glass mural. The hotel offers a restaurant and historical bar. It is located at 1046 G Ave. in Douglas. Phone 520-364-4481

Slaughter Ranch and Museum

During his lifetime, John Slaughter was a Confederate soldier, Texas Ranger, rancher and Sheriff of Cochise County. As a rancher he had to contend with the Chiricahua Apache Indians and their leader Geronimo. He was one of the founders of the city of Douglas. Walt Disney produced a 2 hour program on the life and times of John Slaughter. View the surrounding valley, ranch and sprawling ranch house. John H. slaughter acquired some 65,000 acres of the old San Bernardino land-grant from an air of the original owner. Refusing to seek a third term, Slaughter moved out to the ranch with his family spent the last three decades of his life there. Glimpses into the life of a turn-of-the-century quintal cattle baron as you see the home, wash house, icehouse, granary and commissary. From Douglas take 15th St., East. It becomes the Geronimo Trail. Take this road east approximately 15 miles. Museum is open to the public Wednesday through Sunday 10 AM to 3 PM admission is three dollars per adult



Benson sits astride Highway 10 And Hwy. 90 leading to Fort Huachuca and Sierra Vista. Website:


San Pedro Valley Arts and Historical Museum

Located at 180 S. San Pedro St. in Benson, AZ , 30 miles northeast of Sierra Vista.
Gift shop, museum and art gallery. Displays are of antiques, collectibles, and art exhibits. Open Tuesday – Friday, 10 am – 4 pm, Saturday 10 am – 2 pm, Summer hours 10 am – 2 pm, closed August. (520) 586-3070


Kartchner Caverns State Park
In addition to the caverns, this new Arizona state park offers a Discovery Center, campground, above-ground hiking trails, and a hummingbird garden. The hummingbird garden attracts many beautiful butterflies as well as birds. Located on Highway 90, about 10 miles south of the #302 exit from Interstate 10,Kartchner Caverns State Park is open daily, 7:30 am to 6 pm. An entrance day-use fee of $l0 per vehicle (4 people) . The Caves are another fee and you have to register weeks in advance,


Gammons Gulch:

Re-creation of an 1890’s Town and Mining Camp. Located 12 miles north of Benson. Take Pomerene Rd. to Cascabel Rd. Continue to Mile Marker 6. Shortly you will come to E. Rockspring Road. Hours: Sept.-May: 9 till 4, Wed thru Sun., call ahead to guarantee availability. Closed June thru August, reservations only during these months.



Cochise’s Stronghold:

Cochise of the Chiricahua Apaches used this natural granite fortress is a haven from the US Calvary. Today the lush wooded area offers picnicking camping and hiking trails. Located 10 miles west of Sunsites.  520-364-3468   website:


Fort Bowie national historic site — established during the Civil War on a former overall mail route, Fort Bowie played a key role in the pursuit of Geronimo and his band of Apaches. Visitors can hike approximately 3 miles to the site of the original Fort, passing the remains of the old Butterfield stage Coach House displays of the visitor Center highlight the colorful history of the Fort  Call 520-874-2500




Chiricahua National Monument :

Unique rock formations in the traditional territory of the Chiricahua Apaches a great hiking camping area visitor and sent a visitor’s center and campground are available $4  per vehicle for entrance 520-824-3560 website:

St. David: Pecans are grown in this small quaint town.  It has a monastery with a yearly crafts Festival at the monastery.

Sonoita and Elgin :

Arizona’s southern mountains offer areas for world-class vineyards. You’ll find several wineries in this Sonoita area. Website:

Sonoita offers the “Steak Out” restaurant. Good steaks and ribs for all.


Patagonia shares the same coolness of the 4000 foot altitude with Sierra Vista. Patagonia sits astride the Arizona Trail in the Santa Rita Mountains. With a popular under 1000 population in the geography which precludes expansion Patagonia is a peaceful historic town with shops and restaurants. Pentagon offers a circus of curb recreation at Lake Patagonia is a few minutes from Mexico a visit to Lake Patagonia is an easy one day trip from Sierra Vista. Website:



Nogales is about an hour away. This border town crossing into Mexico is the main entry from Southern Arizona to Sonora Mexico and Baja California. To just visit Mexico Park on the American side near McDonald’s (it is a small fee) and walk across. Shopping is only a block away.  Don’t buy anything right away, walk a few blocks ask about prices and buy on the way back. Great restaurants and shops you bargain for everything. You will need a US passport to get back into the United States, since the laws have changed. Military members should check restrictions with your post command. There has been some drug related violence along the border in the last couple of years.



Tumacacori National Historic Park

An early Spanish colonial mission surrounded by 47 acres of parkland. The mission, now in ruins, was first founded by Father Kino in 1691. This park adjoins the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail. Fees apply.



Tubac Presidio State Historic Park

Remnants of the military fort established at Tubac in 1752 are featured in an underground display. Exhibits in the Visitor Center illustrate Tubac’s multi-cultural history. An 18th century Santo figure, four-and-a-half-feet tall and depicting St. Francis Xavier, has been painstakingly restored and is on display. Tubac. Open daily 8-5, closed Christmas. Fees apply.



Local Ghost Towns:

Charleston Ghost Town

Eight miles southwest of Tombstone. In its heyday, it was tougher than Tombstone. The U.S. Army used Charleston as a training site for house-to-house combat during WWII. The remains of this wild river camp were virtually obliterated; only a few scattered sheets of tin and heaps of adobe rubble remain today. Park at the San Pedro River Bridge on Charleston Road. Walk north 1/2 mile to ruins.


Pearce (partial Ghost Town )

One mile off U.S. 191 from a point 19 miles south of Willcox. This old gold camp once had a population of 2,000 — all of them well supported by the wealth of the Commonwealth mine. Johnny Pearce discovered the mine in 1894. In its heyday, the old Commonwealth was the richest gold digging in southern Arizona. Contains operating store and post office, with many vacant adobes, mine and mill ruins.


Fairbank Ghost Town

Fairbank is a “ghost town” located within the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area (SPRNCA), along the San Pedro River. Its life as a town began with the construction of a railroad in 1881, and it soon became an important depot as well as the closest railroad stop to Tombstone, then one of the largest western cities. Still standing are some buildings, such as the Adobe Commercial Building and The Small House. The newly refurbished Schoolhouse includes a museum, open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, 9:30 am to 4:30 pm. Hours are subject to change. Free admission, donations welcome


Gleeson Ghost Town

16 miles east of Tombstone. Even before the arrival of Spaniards in this area, Indians were mining turquoise near the present site of Gleeson. John Gleeson prospected the area in 1880s. Later, Tiffany’s mined the same blue gem while other interests mined copper, lead and zinc. Contains picturesque ruins, cemetery.  There are still people living in Gleeson.  Please be courteous and respect private property rights.


Harshaw Ghost Town

Santa Cruz County; 10 miles southeast of Patagonia. Settled about 1875, this place soon boasted a newspaper, “The Bullion,” saloons, numerous stores, with 100 working mines nearby. Contains stone, adobe ruins, cemetery.


Mowry Ghost Town

Santa Cruz County; 15 miles southeast of Patagonia. This small town grew up around an old silver, lead and zinc mine purchased in late 1850’s by Lt. Sylvester Mowry, U.S. Army. Lt. Mowry’s operations were cut short in 1862 when he was charged with supplying lead for confederate bullets. He was jailed at Fort Yuma, and his mine was confiscated by Uncle Sam. Contains extensive ruins.