This campground is located in a magnificent, rugged canyon that served the famous Apache Indian leader, Cochise, as a refuge against his enemies. As you enter the East Stronghold Canyon, you pass in the shadow of rocks that quite likely served the Apache warrior as perches for his lookouts. The haunting shapes into which the forces of nature have carved those rocks helps make a visit to this charismatic place an unforgettable experience.Campsites at Cochise Stronghold are shaded by oaks and surrounded by a diverse community of vegetation that includes plants of both the Upper Sonoran and Chihuahuan Desert. To help you become better acquainted with this unusual environment, the Stronghold Nature Trail follows a 0.4 mile barrier-free loop that wanders among the yucca, cactus and rocks. This short, easy stroll provides a self-guided introduction to a number of desert plants as well as some of the principles of desert ecology. It also provides good views of the rocks that form the ramparts of the Stronghold. A barrier-free history trail in the campground tells of the area’s colorful past. If you would like to retrace the steps of this area’s historic residents even deeper into their nearly impenetrable refuge, you may choose to follow the Cochise Trail past dozens of fantastic rock formations as it makes its way across the Dragoons to West Stronghold Canyon and the Council Rocks historic area. Note: No potable water is available in the campground. Black bears in area. Accessible to persons with disabilities.
My husband, myself and our 2 small dogs live in Tucson, AZ. We recently acquired a roof top tent and we’ve been trying out various campgrounds across the Southwest.
Dog friendly hiking opportunities from this campground on the Cochise Trail. I recommend arriving during daylight hours. We left after work, and it was harder to navigate the primitive roads back to the campground in the dark. You do have to cross the stream several times to get the the site. When we crossed the water was 3-6” deep and a few crossing are over rocks (not pavement). We had no issues in our F250, but any vehicle with a normal amount of clearance should be fine. We saw several small SUVs/crossovers, small trailers, a dirt bike and a Prius.
It’s a popular place and we were lucky to get the last site available that night. There are also dispersed camp sites (also popular) along the W Hunt Rd loop.
The campground has pit toilets (with 2 stalls each). Each site has a picnic table, a nice fire ring and a tall BBQ grill. The sites are close together. No water, so bring your own.
We will definitely return to the Cochise Stronghold area.
Dry camping and good hiking. Cheap stay and deposit on honor system.
Various Oaks and Alligator Junipers abound at this cute little National Forest campground tucked in the Dragoon Mountains, another of Arizona’s beautiful “Islands in the Sky.” Named for the late Apache leader, Chief Cochise, this campground sits at the base of a few absolutely gorgeous hiking trails and rock climbing areas.
Each site has a good amount of space but oddly a small amount of space for tents and RV’s longer than 24 feet won’t fit in most of the sites. There is no privacy in between sites, but each site has good tree coverage (almost too much for our solar suitcase on an extension cord). Each site has a huge cement picnic table, fire ring, and grill and there are a couple composting toilets. There was no drinking water available at the campground (the website says there is water), but there is a creek you can pull water from for filtering, so come prepared.
Important note: If there is rain in the forecast, be aware that you may get stuck in this campground for a couple of days, as you have to cross numerous washes on the road to/from the campground. We were there for 3 days before it was safe to pull a small camper across the “death wash” that grew to 6 feet high and 20 feet wide during a 24-hour rain event!
We went here for a quick overnight and it did not disappoint. The campground itself is pretty small and would be cramped if full, luckily it was no where near full when we were there (late fall). The rocks of the Dragoon Mountains are amazing and wandering among them is certainly worth it. We came back another time and discovered multiple dispersed camping spots on the Forest Service road that veers off just as you cross the Forest boundary as you head in towards the campground - this is where we will camp in the future (no fee). The hiking is amazing - head to up at least to half moon tank to see water and amazing rock formations.
I love it here. The campsites are fairly small and there's not much room for tents, but you don't go to the Stronghold to spend much time at camp anyway. The climbing here is rugged and relatively undeveloped and the views are pretty amazing. The rock that's formed here is unlike anything else in the area and just spending time here far from civilization makes you feel like an Apache warrior hiding out in the mountains.
We loved staying at Cochise. The sunsets were amazing every night, there were tons of trees for shade and hanging hammocks and it was a great place to make a basecamp for a couple days of climbing.
Rustic camping paradise. Endless trails, with amazing sights at every bend. Stumble upon rivers, vistas, sunning reptiles, and imagine what its like to be a native, shaking up settlers and hiding from Colonialists.
I can't wait to go back. I went in March and the weather was perfect. Aim for spring or fall, and get in early to find a spot. There's always something available, but get in early to find the good spots, lots of them spread out! COCHISE IS THE BEST!!! Lots of rock climbing too! So much scrambling, bouldering, and trad and sport routes. You'll love it even if you don't climb.