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Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Cochise County Arizona Keeps Memories of the Old West Alive

Cochise County sits at the very southeastern tip of the state of Arizona on the border of New Mexico to the East and the country of Mexico to the south. Cochise County was officially created on February 1, 1881, and its name comes from the legendary Chiricahua Apache war chief Cochise. At the time of its inception, the county seat of Cochise County was Tombstone, but in 1929 it was moved to Bisbee.

Cochise County Arizona Keeps Memories of the Old West Alive (5)

Cochise County Arizona Keeps Memories of the Old West Alive

For both visitors to the state and local Arizona residents, trips to Cochise County are rare but also filled with unique experiences that leave lasting impressions on everyone who takes the time to visit. Leaving either Phoenix or Tucson, you will head south and east on Interstate 10 and then in Benson turn onto the Arizona Highway 80. If you are traveling during the day, you will be driving through beautiful desert and mountain roads that have plenty of spots to stop, appreciate the majestic views and take photos.

If you choose to begin your trek on a clear night, you will likely be rewarded with a view of more starts than you ever thought imaginable including a clear view of the milky way.

The town of Tombstone will likely be your first stop and is the perfect place to get into the spirit of the old west. Ghost and Murder Tours are available both by trolly and by walking, and most include a trip to the legendary Boot Hill Cemetery. Many places in Tombstone are considered haunted, but if you see Wyatt Earp or Doc Holiday walking down the street, they may not be ghosts.

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Cochise County Arizona Keeps Memories of the Old West Alive

There are actors in period costumes walking through the dusty streets, on horseback and stagecoaches still deliver some guests to their overnight accommodations. There are plenty of places to get something to drink and eat in Tombstone, and many will include an earful about that fateful October day in 1881 where the gunfight started at the OK Corral and ended with a procession of bodies to the Boot Hill cemetery.

Other outdoor activities in the area include hiking, rock climbing bird watching, and great photography opportunities. The Dragoon mountain range offers all these activities and is also well known as the spot where he warrior Cochise and his army defeated a small force of Confederate soldiers here at the First Battle of Dragoon Springs. According to history, he was defeated at the Second Battle of Dragoon Springs a just a few days later, but many believe his spirit lives on in these mountains. There are also a few several ghost towns that can be visited, including Gleeson and Courtland. At the Dragoon exit of Interstate 10, you can find the Amerind Museum of Native American art which is filled with artifacts of all types that tie back to centuries of Native American history.

Finally, in this little known corner of the state, you can find one of its most impressive natural wonders, Kartchner Caverns.

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The cave was recently discovered in 1974, and since access to it has been strictly regulated, it is considered a “living” cave. Visitors will have the chance to experience a wide variety of unique minerals and formations. Since water still drips into the cave, the calcite formations continue to grow and change. The cave is only viewable by a guided 90-minute tour, but the Discovery Center is open to the public. At the Discovery Center, there is plenty of educational information, exhibits, and a large gift shop. Close to the Caverns, there are also campgrounds, hiking trails, and shaded picnic areas that visitors can enjoy. So if a trip to Arizona is in your future, make sure to put Cochise County on your list of places to go.

Cochise County Arizona Keeps Memories of the Old West Alive (1)

Cochise County Arizona Keeps Memories of the Old West Alive (1)

Read more- Why You Should Visit Tombstone, Arizona

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Marko Jankovic
Marco is a travel blogger and technical writer for many subjects

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