From the rugged mountain forests to the desert grasslands of Sierra Vista, the southeast corner of Arizona is one of the state’s most scenic regions. Much of this area is part of Cochise County, named in 1881 in honor of the chief of the Chiricahua Apache. Cochise waged war against troops and settlers for 11 years, and was respected by Indians and non-Indians alike for his integrity and leadership. Today Cochise County is dotted with small towns, many of them smaller—and tamer—than they were in their heyday. Cochise County encompasses six, and part of the seventh, of the 12 mountain ranges that compose the 1.7-million-acre Coronado National Forest.
In the valleys between southeastern Arizona’s jagged mountain ranges, you’ll discover the 19th-century charm of Bisbee—Queen of the Copper Camps. You can explore the eerie hoodoos and spires of Chiricahua National Monument and walk in the footsteps of the legendary Apaches, who valiantly stood against the U.S. Army until Geronimo’s final surrender in 1886. This is also where you can travel through the grassy plains surrounding Sonoita and Elgin—the heart of Arizona’s wine country.
A trip to this historically and ecologically important corner of the state will also take you to Fort Huachuca, the oldest continuously operating military installation in the American Southwest; to southeastern Arizona’s "Sky Islands," the lush microclimates in the Huachuca and Chiricahua mountains, where jaguars roam and migratory tropical birds flit through the canopy; and to historic mining and military towns, the tenacious survivors of the Old West—including Bisbee, Sierra Vista, and Tombstone.