Located near Sierra Vista, Huachuca City is a small rural town set amidst some of the most amazing scenery that the vast Sonoran Desert has to offer.
Due to its proximity to some of the area’s most revered state and national parks – and to metropolitan Tucson – a visit to Huachuca City is really the best of both worlds.
The area is full of pioneer and Native American sites, and boasts some of the region’s most famous and visited historic attractions which draw people from all over the world.
The summer weather can be brutal, so plan accordingly.
Let’s explore the best things to do in Huachuca City:
1. San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area
With nearly 60,000 acres of land under management, the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area was established to protect and preserve the region’s vital riparian habitat, where the San Pedro River and the Sonoran Desert meet.
It’s home to an amazing variety of plants and animals, many of which are absolutely unique to this rare ecosystem.
The conservation area is a favorite of bird-watchers, who are especially drawn to the migratory, wading birds and waterfowl that congregate here at different times of the year.
Archaeologists have also discovered evidence of human activity in the area going back more than 10,000 years.
2. Brown Canyon Ranch
Located in the shadows of the majestic Huachuca Mountains, Brown Canyon Ranch near Sierra Vista was first settled at the end of the 19th century.
The ranch and land have changed hands many times over the years but the original buildings are very well preserved, serving as great examples of southwest architecture. The building style largely uses adobe as a building material because it’s cheap, tough, weather resistant and efficient at keeping the home relatively cool, even in the blazing Arizona sun.
The historic ranch and grounds are open to self-guided tours but their hours are seasonal, so check before you go.
3. Sierra Vista Farmer’s Market
Farmer’s markets are great places to get lots of local fruits, vegetables and unique products you won’t find in most big chain stores.
They’re also great places to meet like-minded locals and support local farmers, entrepreneurs, and artists.
Located on East Fry Boulevard, the Sierra Vista Farmer’s Market is convenient to check out if you’ve got an hour or two of free time on a Thursday.
From all-natural soap and wild clover honey to local art, fresh baked goods and hot coffee, the farmer’s market is also a great place to pick up a few mementos to remind you of your Arizona adventure.
4. Ramsey Canyon
If you’re into the great outdoors and can’t ever seem to get your fill of scenic vistas and fresh air, then your trip to southern Arizona will be full of memorable moments.
Bring a sturdy pair of hiking shoes and appropriate clothing when hiking into Ramsey Canyon, especially if you’re there during the summer months.
The Ramsey Canyon trailhead is located near Sierra Vista. Though the mountains can be stark and brown in the summer, they’re often among the greenest and lush in the area – especially after a spring shower, when long-dormant grass, cactus, and desert wildflowers wake up and spring to life.
5. Sample Some Brews
Beer and wine have always been popular, but like a lot of places, Arizona has experienced a bit of a renaissance lately, especially when it comes to micro-brews and locally produced wine.
Bone Dry Tap House is a favorite haunt of the area’s beer enthusiasts. With a constantly changing menu of brews, you’ll almost surely find something that you’ll like.
They also offer beers from brewers in other parts of the state.
Hoppin’ Grapes is another favorite wine and beer tasting room that’s located on West Fry Boulevard in Sierra Vista. Stop by, take a load off and see what’s on tap.
6. Fort Huachuca Museum and Gift Shop
Historic Fort Huachuca was once home to the brave African American Buffalo Soldiers, who were sent to the remote southwest desert during and after the Civil War.
They were predominately utilized to fight and eradicate the remaining Native American tribes that were hostile toward the pioneers settling on what had been their ancestral land for generations.
The black soldiers were given their nickname by the Indians, who respected their strength and tenacity and considered them worthy adversaries.
The museum is full of exhibits, equipment, photos, and accounts of those who served on the base over the years and is a must-see for veterans and military historians.
7. Reservoir Hill
If you’re interested in getting away from the crowds and communing with nature, a few hours spent at Reservoir Hill on Reservoir Hill Road in Sierra Vista should be on your itinerary.
After following the trail to the top of the hill, you’ll be treated with unobstructed desert views, and due to Arizona’s blue skies, you’ll be able to see dozens of miles out.
There are lots of critters in the area that are dangerous – especially rattlesnakes, scorpions, and Gila monsters – so stay on the trail, hike with a friend, and don’t stick your hands into any dark crevices between the rocks.
8. Lights Out Family Fun Center
If you’ve grown weary of all Arizona’s historic sites, ghost towns, museums and that pesky sun that just won’t give you a moment’s peace, a trip to Lights Out Family Fun Center on East Wilcox Drive in Sierra Vista is a great place to spend a few morning or afternoon hours having fun and enjoying some much-needed air conditioning.
The center offers mini-golf, an escape room, air hockey tables, and lots of cool, old-school video games.
Whether you’re a kid or just act like one, you’ll find hours of enjoyment here.
The center is a great place for birthday and private parties too, and one price gives you access to all there is to offer.
9. Sun & Spokes
Bicycles are a great way to get around quickly, see the great outdoors, and burn some of those excess calories that you’ve been consuming lately.
Whether you’re an old pro or haven’t ridden a bike for years, you’ll find something suitable at Sun & Spokes.
Their services include sales, service, and rentals. They’re conveniently located on East Fry Road in Sierra Visa and they’ve got a great website, where you can find their hours of operation and all the services they provide.
There’s even a link to a map of local bike trails and tips on how you can hook up with groups of local bike enthusiasts.
10. Apache ATV Tours
Guided ATV tours are becoming popular in Arizona. The state’s wide-open land and spread out attractions in rural areas are the perfect backdrop for a few hours of motorized sightseeing.
You’ll be able to see ghost towns, Native American ruins and pictographs, historic towns and buildings, and, of course, the majestic Arizona scenery.
Tours are given every day and are available in Cochise, Santa Cruz, and Pima counties.
There are packages suitable for nearly every age and level of ability; you can even book private tours for birthday parties, church groups, and employers looking to reward their employees for a job well done.
11. Our Lady of the Sierras
Located in the scenic San Pedro Valley, Our Lady of the Sierras consists of a Celtic cross looming nearly 80 above the desert floor, a church, and a Virgin Mary statue that’s nearly 30 feet tall.
There’s also a shrine which pays homage to those who made a pilgrimage to a town in Yugoslavia years ago.
Regular services are still held in the chapel if you’re interested in attending a traditional mass. If you’d rather just mill around and take in the site’s splendor, you’re welcome to do that as well. Though the church isn’t open every day, you’re free to look around the grounds.
12. The Cove Aquatic Center
There are few better ways to beat the crushing Arizona sun than frolicking in the cool, swirling waters of an aquatic park.
If you agree and find yourself on Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway in Sierra Vista, then stop by The Cove Aquatic Center.
At nearly 40,000 square feet, the center has all the amenities and activities you’d expect, and the water is cool and mild year-round.
There are slides and shallow pools for the kids, and adult areas that are off-limits to kids if you just want to swim a few laps in peace and quiet.
Locker rooms for men and women are available, as is a snack bar, just in case you work up an appetite with all that activity.
13. Coronado National Memorial
Constructed as a memorial to the cooperation and friendship between the United States and Mexico, Coronado National Memorial also commemorates the famous – and infamous – conquistador who came to the Americas centuries ago.
Though considered by many historians to be a ruthless and barbaric gold-seeker who brutalized the natives in his insatiable quest for fame, titles and wealth, he’s still a fascinating character in southwest history and lore, who played a vital role in opening up the southwest – and was the first European to do so.
The memorial lies close to the international border near the Huachuca Mountains, just south of Sierra Vista.
14. Kartchner Caverns State Park
Kartchner Caverns is a priceless natural wonder that was discovered in the mid-‘70s by a pair of local spelunkers who were amazed at what they found.
Sporting the largest stalactites in the world, the caves are a one-of-a-kind glimpse into the amazing subterranean forces that are constantly at work creating otherworldly environments under our feet.
There’s a discovery center nearby with great exhibits that’ll teach you more than you ever thought you’d know about caves and geology.
Your guided tour will include the park’s major features and facts about the strange creatures that call the caves home too.
15. Cave of the Bells
There aren’t many places where it’s possible to explore underground lakes in amazing subterranean caverns, but Cave of the Bells in Sawmill Canyon is just such a place.
The site is nestled amongst the Santa Rita Mountains and contains a naturally heated lake that’s nearly 300 feet below the desert floor above.
Unfortunately, due to vandalism, the site is permanently locked and is only accessible after making a reservation, picking up the gate key, and leaving a deposit at the Forest Supervisor’s office in Tucson.
Though it’s all a bit of a pain in the neck, you’ll probably find it worthwhile, especially since you’ll likely have the remarkable place all to yourself.