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Whether you’re a hiker, a climber, a spelunker or a birdwatcher, we’ve got everything for the adventurous and outdoorsy spirit.  If you’re a history buff, this region is rich in legend and lore and is packed with incredible tales of famous outlaws, Native Americans, cowboys, and heroes.  To see it all, you’d need more than a day.  But here are a few ideas to get you started. 

Tombstone

Legendary doesn’t even begin to describe this historic town.  On October 26, 1881, the Earps, along with their friend Doc Holliday, confronted the Clanton gang in the vacant lot behind a horse corral.  Just over thirty seconds expired later, they and the OK Corral were forever immortalized in the history book. Today, they and the infamous gunfight remain imprinted as the epitome of the Old West, and helped Tombstone earn the moniker, “The Town Too Tough to Die”.

Tombstone is a registered National Historic Landmark and Preserve America landmark, and many original buildings still stand from its famous heyday.  Schieffelin Hall on Fremont Street is one of the Southwest’s largest adobe structures and is still in use as a Masonic Lodge, meeting house, and theatre.  The city’s original City Hall, operating as such for nearly 100 years, stands across the street. 

Allen Street is the town’s epicenter, and to preserve its historic integrity, cars and motorcycles are not allowed between Third and Sixth Streets.  However, you can explore Tombstone on foot, ride in one of the horse-drawn stagecoaches, or take the Tombstone Trolley tour, narrate by entertaining and knowledgeable hosts who will point out some attractions you might choose to visit later in the day.  The Bird Cage Theatre, OK Corral, Big Nose Kate’s Saloon, and the Crystal Palace are all located here, as well as exhibits, shops, tours, and restaurants.  Check out www.tombstonechamber.com and www.explorecochise.com for more information. 

Kartchner Caverns

In 1974, adventurers and spelunkers Gary Tenen and Randy Tufts discovered these enormous living cave, with its 58-foot tall Kubla Khan formation and 21-foot “soda straw”: a hollow stalactite, the second longest in the world.  The duo kept the stunning find a total secret for years, wanting to make sure its integrity and mammoth beauty would be preserved properly for new generations to enjoy. 
In 1988, the Arizona Legislature approved its purchase as a state park, and eleven years later Kartchner Caverns was opened for public tours.  The Kubla Khan formation and Throne Room tours are available year round, while the Big Room tour houses the largest room in the caverns.  It is open from October to late April, closing in summer to accommodate the female myotis bats.  Kartchner’s living ecosystem and breathtaking sights are monuments to the incredible power and patience of our planet; an unforgettable experience for anyone who visits them.

Bisbee and the Queen Mine

Nestled in the gorgeous Mule Mountains, Bisbee is rich in mineral mining and was known as the “Queen of the Copper Camps” in the late 1800’s.  Her mines produced 8 billion pounds of copper, gold, turquoise, silver, lead, and zinc—making it a powerhouse in the mining industry and a force to be reckoned with. 

The town that sprang up as a result of the mine thrives today as a serene, artistic community full of art, music, and history.  The Victorian buildings now offer stores, art galleries, cafés, restaurants and museums.  The Convention Center is a terrific place to start; you can get a personalized walking tour of the historic city, or book Lavender Jeeps to take you through the winding and steep streets.  The Bisbee Mining and Historian Museum has a comprehensive history of copper mining in the West, and is completely deserving of its affiliation with the Smithsonian Institution.

The most popular attraction by far is deep underground, in the Queen Mine Tour.  Get suited up in a yellow slicker, hard hat, headlamp, and flashlight for a ride deep into the arteries of what was once the town’s lifeblood. The tour guides, once employees of the mine, tell the stories of its heyday and of their experiences in one of the toughest jobs on the planet.  It is an unforgettable and unique opportunity to learn about the town’s early history. 

For more information, go to www.discoverbisbee.com or call 1-866-2BISBEE.

Coronado National Forest

If you’re interested in exploring caves and taking in the kind of vistas that only Arizona has, we suggest Coronado.  At Montezuma Pass, you are standing at a scenic overlook 6,575 feet above sea level, and as the song says, you can see for miles. 

Be sure to wear sturdy hiking boots – the mountain roads are steep and often unpaved—and pack plenty of water and a flashlight.  Then you’re ready to explore Coronado Cave, where legendis that it was used by the Chiricahua Apache to escape the US Army.  Or you can poke around the abandoned mining towns in Fairbank, Charleston and Millville.  The Murray Springs Clovis site is where artifacts from the Clovis people and the now-extinct mammoth have been unearthed, echoing the prehistoric life of the native tribes and the abundance of wildlife that roamed the desert 10,000 years ago. 

Cochise Stronghold

From its high vantage point in the craggy Dragoon Mountain range, the former home of the redoubtable Apache war chief and his people stands at an impressive 5,000 feet above sea level.  Hidden in the gorgeous Coronado National Forest, this natural fortress is where Cochise and his 1,000-strong tribesmen and women lived for over fifteen years and held off the United States Army for over two of those.  Because of the sweeping view for miles across the desert floors, it was an ideal location from which to spot approaching soldiers and ambush them before they even came within sneezing distance of the settlement.   A master strategist, formidable warrior, and cunning adversary, Cochise was never conquered in battle and died peacefully in 1974.  He was laid to rest somewhere near or on the Stronghold, but to this day the location of his grave has never been revealed, and no one has ever found a trace of it. 

The Stronghold itself offers hiking and equestrian trails, as well as self-guided Interpretive and Nature walks that cover everything for the leisure up to the serious hiker.  Be sure to take plenty of water, sunblock, sunglasses, and extra layers of clothing, as the weather can change abruptly.   There are also campgrounds and RV Parks available for picnics and daytrippers. Please take the time to read about the "Leave No Trace" program, available from the Bureau of Land Management.  This is information is important, whether you’re in our National Forests, Parks, or just looking around an old ghost towns.  Help preserve the land so that everyone can enjoy it for many years to come. 

You will always be greeted with a smile and your stay will be comfortable or we vow to make it right.