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Friday, September 19, 2008

COCHISE STRONGHOLD

COCHISE STRONGHOLD Coronado National Forest Only one white man knows where the remains of Chiricahua Apache leader Cochise were interred in 1874 among the clefts and canyons that bear his name –and he ain’t talking. As he promised, Thomas J. Jeffords took the secret to his own grave, amplifying the intrigue of his blood brother’s legacy. Exploring the hauntingly beautiful expanse of weathered granite and high desert ecosystem of the Dragoon Mountains is as much a trip through American history as it is an outdoor adventure. Sights along the trail, make it easy to imagine how the jumbled ocher ramparts that had once served as fortifications continue to shield the chief in a stony embrace.
 LENGTH: 6 miles round trip
ELEVATION GAIN: 1,050 feet  
RATING: Moderate  
GETTING THERE: From Phoenix, drive south on I-10 to just past the town of Benson and then take exit 318 (Dragoon Road). Continue on Dragoon Road to Highway 191. Go south on Highway 191 to the town of Sunsites and then turn left onto Ironwood Road. Continue on Ironwood Road, which will turn into a good dirt byway (FR 84) and follow the signs to the campground. There is a $5 daily fee per vehicle. Bring the exact amount because no change is available at the pay station. The hike begins at the bridge near the restrooms and follows the Nature Trail briefly before connecting to the main route. The turnaround point for this hike is at the signed “east-west divide” junction.

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