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Cochise Trail #279

HARD 72 reviews
#4 of 61 trails in

Cochise Trail #279 is a 8.7 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Pearce, Arizona that offers the chance to see wildlife and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from October until April. Dogs and horses are also able to use this trail.

Distance: 8.7 miles Elevation Gain: 1,906 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dog friendly



horseback riding

mountain biking

rock climbing

bird watching





Dogs, Horses and Pack Animals (Donkeys, Mules, Llama) are also able to use this trail. You can start from either the West or East ends. The East end is the Cochise Stronghold Campground. The road is well maintained. There are several water crossings, so you will need a truck or SUV type vehicle.

7 months ago

I feel this trail may be closer to moderate than hard since I felt better after completing it than I did after I finished the grand loop in Chiricahua which is about the same distance. Nice views, not too crowded.

7 months ago

Very well maintained trail with lots of very nice views of the western valley after reaching the summit and then continuing west. I took my Jack Russell terrier and he was fine - nothing too steep or arduous. There is some shade along the trail which was welcomed. Nice views of many hoodoos going up from the east about halfway to the ridge top. Takes about 2 hours to go from the campground to the west end, then another 2 hours to get back to the campground. There were a few streams with running water in early April. You can park outside the park and walk in if you want to avoid the $5 fee for trail use parking. However, I always find it more convenient to pay and pack a lunch. Having lunch at one of the campground's picnic tables under the trees is serene and extremely nice at the end of the hike - one of the highlights of the place. Lots of birds and shade make it even better.

horseback riding
7 months ago

We had a great ride started from the East Side Horse trailhead. There was water still running in the creek. The trail was good and over the divide it was less traveled and steeper switchbacks. Great views. We went over and back over 10 miles.

8 months ago

Great hike around amazing history. Like the scenery. I did the hike starting on the East end based upon past reviews. It's a good way in

9 months ago

beautiful rugged mountain views lots of the trail has brambles and with all the cow paths it's easy to get off on the wrong trail.

9 months ago

Moderate trail with stunning views. multiple water crossings. we parked at the Cochise campground on the east side of the canyon and the Cochise Indian trail. there is a few required. trail starts with a bridge and nature trail. it is a little more than 2 miles to the old Damm and 3 to the divide between the east and west canyons.

9 months ago

What a fantastic hike with amazing views.

11 months ago

Did it from Cochise stronghold. I would not rate this trail as difficult. Nice landscapes.

11 months ago

Review for the WEST end trailhead. Do NOT follow the Google map. Take 80 to Middlemarch Rd then FR 687. I used the app map option once on Middlemarch Rd to trail FR 687 is a VERY rough rd. I took my 2 wheel drive truck but would not again. Takes a long time to reach the trail However once on, its a beautiful trail! Loved it! Gorgeous scenery. I went little the East/West Trail Divide sign and could see the West end is definitely more scenic so we turned back

Wed Nov 07 2018

This hike is great. Great views and interesting geology. This area is very dry and can be very hot. The campground on the east side closes 6/1 through 9/1. Would suggest hiking after 11/1. Rattelsnake are very prevalent. We saw a group of coatimundi and a lot of trantula. The creek was flowing as it had rained a few days before. Small waterfalls were seen

Sun Aug 26 2018

as someone else said, "this trail has everything "One of the prettiest trails I have hiked.

Tue Mar 13 2018

Great hike through beautiful rock formations. Hiked on a Monday, no one around. Had the whole place to ourselves. Very nice hike!

Tue Mar 06 2018

Nice hike on the dragoon’s

Mon Mar 05 2018

A great winter hike. Water running end of February. Beautiful!

Tue Feb 13 2018

Wonderful hike with spectacular views. Great rock formations and plenty of vegetation to see. This trail has it all. We left early and had the divide all to ourselves. Will do again soon!

Tue Jan 23 2018

Awesome trail with amazing rock formations of the stronghold. Surprisingly lush area around Cochise Spring. I hiked up to the divide and then returned to the trail head. I highly recommend this trail.

Thu Dec 28 2017

If you want to hike from the West Stronghold, DON'T follow Google maps which directs you up Hwy 80 to Horse Ranch Rd, a gated road through private land. Instead, follow Middlemarch Rd from Tombstone to Forest Rd 687 to the West Stronghold. After hitting the private road, we followed the directions below from Rt 191 which actually leads to the East Stronghold. Nice hike but not the one we planned to do. Beware, other hikers said the Forest Road is very rough and not suitable for a regular car. Good luck and enjoy whichever route you do take!

Sat Dec 16 2017

Was a scenic hike with views of the mountains. The trees and plants were nice as we passed by large Boulders. Have to watch your step as there is variety of rocks in the trail. The coarse sand caused me to slip once because it isn’t secure footing. Would do it again

Thu Dec 14 2017

Beautiful views and rock formations. We went 2 miles up to the dam and the trail was easy to moderate. The signage in parking/camping area is confusing--implies that the trailhead is only for the short interpretive trail--but if you keep going it leads into the longer trail options.

Thu Nov 23 2017

Beautiful area, I hiked up to the divide and back.

Wed Nov 01 2017

This is a good moderate hike on a well maintained trail. Lots of scenic views. There are a lot of good historical plaques at the beginning of the trail that are not to be missed if you are a history buff. There is also a short nature hike section at the beginning that will help you identify the plants and trees. Be sure to take plenty of water. It gets quit hot between late April and mid October. We went in September and it was in the mid 90’s. It is my understanding that the $5.00 fee is if you park in the campground area.

Tue Oct 31 2017

Excellent moderate hike and unique views of rock formations. Historical area. In October 2017 it was bone dry so bring a lot of water.

Sun Oct 22 2017

We love this trail! Our first time was by horseback, but we hiked from the campground the second time we went. The boulders up the ravine are cool to hike under, they are left of the trailhead. Lots of exploring to do off the trail. Half moon tank is nice around the 3 mile mark I believe.

Sun Sep 24 2017

Great hike with nice views only a mile in

Mon Apr 03 2017

Great hike but not so sure where we were supposed to go in. So we ended up at the campground which costs to park if you're not staying there. It's 10 without a senior pass and 5 with one. We drove to Pearce on rt 191 and turned onto Ironwood Rd. There's a sign for the Stronghold. Follow the road and it becomes dirt and can be a little bumpy but not bad. At the campground head for the trail marked Cochise Nature Trail. You go over a small wooden bridge. The nature trail is only 1/4 mile long but halfway up that trail you see signs for Cochise trail west. I've included pics of the signage. We followed this up for a mile and came to a resting spot with a little spring and some clear cool water. We continued up for another 1/2 mile to see some wonderful rock formations. My husband got tired so we turned back at this point. The trail itself is easy to moderate but gravelly so watch your footing in some spots.

Thu Mar 02 2017

If you have a choice, start your hike from the West Stronghold. I saw several people who started from the east turn around at the 3 mile marker, which is the divide...not halfway point...between the East and West Strongholds, which means they missed the best views. The best views, by far, are between the Divide and the West Stronghold Trailhead.

Fri Nov 13 2015

We have hiked this many times, mostly to the Divide and back which is a 6 mile round trip. I hiked it once from the east side of the stronghold to the west side and back. This is about a 10 mile round trip, and the west side is more rugged but Oh so beautiful. This is one of my favorite places to hike.

Tue Jun 02 2015

Excellent trail Map is incorrect. Trail is west of Sunsites, not sahuarita. So trailhead approx 1 hr east of Tucson. We hike there a lot, year around.

Sun Apr 27 2014

great trail, everywhere you go is beautiful. Lots of wild life as well as the many different ecosystems. all views are breathtaking.

Sat Apr 05 2014

Very nice hike. Not too strenuous but definitely not flat. Rock formations are fantastic as you get into the last 1/3 of the hike (closer to the divide and the turnaround point). The trail is clearly marked. I hiked on a weekday and can't recall seeing anyone else on the trail the entire afternoon. Which is how I like it. Cochise Stronghold is a special fee area so you will still have to pay $5 to hike even if you have a National Park pass. Happy hiking and be safe!

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