Thursday, March 14, 2013

Boulder Day on the Cochise Trail

The Cochise Stronghold lies on the East side of the Dragoon Mountains. It is named after Chiricahua Apache Chief, Cochise, whose people lived in this rugged natural fortress for 15 years during the mid-1850's. This section of the Dragoon Mountain range is distinguished by pinnacles and giant outcroppings of granite boulders.

We hiked the Cochise Trail, which begins at the small NFS campground at the Cochise Stronghold. This pretty little campground has 9 camp sites recommended for rigs under 30'. 

The Cochise trail can be up to 10 miles round trip; we hiked to the Stronghold Divide which separates the East and West portions of the trail, for a round trip of 7.5 miles total. The trail ascends gently to the divide through oak and manzanita canyons along occasional streams (at this time of year), opening into broad vistas of giant granite boulders. 

On the road approaching the Cochise Stronghold.

The campground is nestled in the trees at the bottom of the photo,
and is surrounded by hills and mountains on three sides.
These granite boulders are part of your morning view.

Heading away from the campground, we were soon treated to views of giant boulders beyond the oak trees.
The faint green tinge on the rocks on the left is lichens.
Many of the rocks in today's pics are covered with bright green lichens.

Gentle ascent among trees.
About 1/3 of the hike was shaded, good news on a day heading into the 80's.

I just love the natural balancing act!

Here you can see the surrounding hills we are walking through are chaparral covered.
The granite boulders are a small section of the Dragoon range.

We get such a kick out of groups of lizards sunning themselves in the morning!

You can really see the green lichens on the rocks here.

Halfmoon Tank, a watering hole about 2 miles in.

This was a gorgeous hike on a well marked, gently ascending trail, with fabulous views, a little bit of water, and some shade...smack  in the middle of a rather dry and barren desert. We may just have to hike the West side of the Divide before we leave the area next week!


  1. I love those hikes that surprise you, especially ones with big boulders. Dramatic.

    1. Boulders, saguaros...I am drawn to anything dramatic in nature!

  2. Beautiful rock formations! Looks like an ideal hike as you said. It is a little warm, though. It was 70 at the elevation we hiked but it is 82 here at the park.
    Enjoy yourselves but be careful out there!

    1. We are in the 80's too. Early morning hiking only for a couple of days. Really watching out for snakes now!

  3. The rock formations reminded me of Alabama Hills without the lichens. We will be back :)

  4. What a cool surprise. We stopped at the restarea on I-10 that had all these fabulous rock formations. Happy Trails!