Walks, Hikes & Rock Climbing

“Granite is the best rock in the world for boulder hopping… enjoy wonderful geological scenery where fairyland merges with fairy tale…”


Hiking Cochise Stronghold

The Coronado National Forest, adjoining Cochise Stronghold, A Canyon Nature Retreat offers several great walks and hikes. Maps and trail access information is available to our guests.

The Cochise Indian Trail climbs gently for the first mile through thick woodlands with breathtaking views of salmon-tinted granite domes and rock faces made even more colorful by the adhering lichens which grow in a wide range of colors. The trail is a 6 mile round trip to the divide, rated moderate in difficulty with an elevation gain of ~ 1,000 feet. For those with the time and ability you can hike further downhill from the divide toward Cochise Stronghold West. This additional two mile (one way) trail is steeper but the surrounding rock garden is very dramatic and isolated. We highly recommend the Cochise Indian Trail or exploration of even just a portion of it.

The Rockfellow Dome Trail is much steeper than Cochise Trail. The upper part of the trail is closed annually from Feb. 15 – June 15 when the resident raptors are nesting.

Chiricahua National Monument
Chiricahua National Monument
The Chiricahuas and Fort Bowie

The Chiricahua National Monument and Wonderland of Rocks is just an hours’ drive from Cochise Stronghold through open high-desert grasslands of the Sulphur Springs Valley. The famed Chiricahua Mountains have numerous places to walk, hike and picnic. At the northern end of the mountain range, rising to nearly 10,000 feet is an oasis of cool weather hiking and sightseeing opportunities. Amazing biological diversity, otherworldly landscapes of balanced rocks, stone spires and sculptured boulders and a rich history await.

Fort Bowie National Historic Site
Fort Bowie National Historic Site

Fort Bowie — at the northernmost tip of the Chiricahuas you can trek to the abandoned Army fort, now preserved as a national historic site. The 1.5 mile trail is an easy hike traversing diverse mile-high terrain of rolling grasslands and oak woodlands. The trail leads past stagecoach station ruins, a historic cemetery where Geronimo’s son is buried, and a verdant spring with towering ancient black walnut trees. This is the place where the Apache Wars began in 1861.

“Hiking Back in Time, In the Mountain Stronghold of Cochise” is an article written by our guests, Barbara and Christopher Johnson and published in Applachia Magazine, Summer/ Fall 2004, Vol LV, no. 1, by the Appalachia Mountain Club, Boston, MA. See “Hiking Back in Time.”

Rock Climbing in Cochise Stronghold
Toofast Topos

A friend of Cochise Stronghold, Geir Hundal’s long-awaited book, Toofast Topos, of climbing routes in the Stronghold, is available.  We have a copy of the guide book for guests to check out.

Toofast Topos Cover Toofast Topos Back Cover

“Treasure of a different sort awaits visitors to the Cochise Stronghold labyrinthine fastness. For rock climbers, the treasure is a marvelous and magical sanctuary of granite domes and cliffs that invites vertical exploration. The Stronghold, for many Arizona climbers, is simply the best climbing area in the state. It’s a wild and somewhat remote place that offers superb, multi pitch routes up chickenhead festooned faces, as well as some marvelous crack climbs…


The Dragoon Mountains is a fault-block range lifted above the flanking valleys along fault lines. The Cochise Stronghold, in the range’s midsection, is formed by the 73-million-year-old Stronghold Granite. This huge intrusion of pale granite has weathered along joints and fractures into today’s craggy topography. The granite is ideal for climbing — a rough, abrasive surface dotted with numerous flakes, edges, and large handholds called “chickenheads.”

…The only climbing regulation currently in effect is cliff closure for nesting peregrine falcons from February 15 to June 30…. Climbers should minimize their impact on the rock and the surrounding topography to help preserve this fragile area. Follow existing trails to the cliffs whenever possible. Carry out all your trash… Remember that this is not a convenience bolting area. Don’t add bolts to existing routes and if you’re in search of new routes, use bolts sparingly. Many existing routes were climbed without bolts…”

The above quotes are exerpted from:

Rock Climbing in Arizona, by Stewart M. Green with permission from Falcon Publishing, an imprint of the Globe Pequot Press. To order a copy of this guide book visit www.GlobePequot.com, contact by email at info@GlobePequot.com, or call toll free at 1-800-243-0495 M-F, 9-5 p.m.


For more information about rockclimbing in the Stronghold, check out our informational sister site, CochiseStronghold.com