Branching off the Middlemarch Road near the top of its climb up and over the Dragoon Mountains, this trail provides access into the remote backcountry of this history-rich mountain range. Middlemarch Pass was the half-way point on the route used by the military from the Sulphur Springs Valley to Tombstone. The trail passes through habitats that range from the upper Sonoran Desert, with its yucca and juniper, to higher elevation stands of oak and pinyon.
Views are best early on along the trail where high elevation vistas encompass a portion of the sweeping Sulphur Springs Valley and the neighboring Chiricahua Mountains. Middlemarch Road and the trail of the same name were blazed into the Dragoon Mountains to provide access for mining and ranching purposes. Long before European society had brought its commercial interests to this mountain range, however, indigenous peoples such as the Chiricahua Apaches were no doubt using this route as a travelway to Cobra Loma Spring and on into the rugged canyon that came to be called Cochise Stronghold. Between the spring and the Stronghold, the trail is not well defined and can become confused with a number of cow paths that crisscross the area.
Directions: From Tucson, take I-10 east 72 miles to US 191. Turn right (south) and drive 13 miles south to Middlemarch Road (FR 345) on the east side of the Dragoon Mountains. Turn right and drive 7 miles to FR 4388 (4-wheel drive), turn onto FR 4388 and continue to the trailhead.
Day Hiking: High desert/transition zone setting, Historic area, Views of mountains and valleys, Remote and secluded. This area can be hot and dry. Bring plenty of water. The trail between Cobra Loma Spring and Stronghold Canyon is crisscrossed with cattle trails and can be hard to follow. USGS Map(s): Cochise Stronghold