It wasn’t rushed. It wasn’t unexpected. But it was big PCS move across the country to what Will Smith would call “The Wild, Wild West.” Okay, so it’s not exactly the wild West, it’s the Southwest…the very far South, Southwest.
Say hello to Sierra Vista, Arizona!
Home to Fort Huachuca, Sierra Vista is located just a handful of miles north of the border of Mexico. It’s the perfect place to camp, explore, and enjoy the outdoors. The weather is insane; it’s wonderful, it’s warm (but not Phoenix warm), and the sunrises and sunsets are a sight to see. Sierra Vista has a great community feel to it, and the people are extremely friendly. The Spouse Club on post is active, inexpensive, and a great way to get involved. If you get out and about and make the most of your time here, you will be able to not only survive the Southwest, but you will thrive! Need help getting started in Sierra Vista? Add these to your to-do list:
Hike & Camp!
Fort Huachuca is situated among multiple mountain ranges—the nearby town, Sierra Vista, means “Mountain View.” Being a Colorado native, I’d say these don’t compare to the Rockies, but they are beautiful and have great vistas! Not to mention, they are quite the workout. The elevation in town is nearly a mile high! A few hikes to get you started are Carr Peak, Miller Peak, Montezuma’s Pass (includes a cave), and Garden Canyon. If camping is more your style, I would recommend Patagonia Lake or Parker Canyon Lake. They both have campsites, and as the names suggest…lakes. You can rent a pontoon boat at Patagonia and float on over to the edge of the lake where a set of rock formations lure cliff jumpers.
Explore the Post!
The post has two museums that are perfect for exploring! The Fort Huachuca Museum boasts the history of the installation, including its ties to the Buffalo Soldiers, who lived on the fort in the early 1900s. The second museum is the US Army Intelligence Museum. Fort Huachuca was actually declared a national historical landmark in 1976, and you can still see and visit old buildings. Also on post, a horse stable! The Buffalo Coral Riding Stable is open Thursday through Sunday and offers trail rides, private rides, lessons and horse leasing. Yeehaw!
Only a 25-minute drive from Sierra Vista, Bisbee is definitely worth your time and gas money! Bisbee was founded in the late 1800s around the Copper Queen Mine. Today, you can tour the Queen Mine, view the Lavender Pit, and check out the Bisbee Museum. Or if you’d rather, simply stroll the streets of this historic town and pop in and out of art galleries, antique shops and coffee shops. And don’t miss Peddler’s Alley if you’re an espresso fan! In the fall, Bisbee hosts the Bisbee 1000 Stair Climb, a unique version of a 5k complete with a beer festival later that afternoon.
Adventures in Tucson!
Tucson is a quick hour and half drive north of Sierra Vista. Worth it? Yes! It is home to the Pima Air and Space Museum, where you can walk through an airplane graveyard. While you’re there, visit the Titan Missile Musuem, which is a neat experience for kids and adults. This is where the U.S. used to house a nuclear warhead during the Cold War era… and yes, you can even go down into the silo where it was once held! Tucson is also a great stop for shopping, and a great escape if “Small Town USA” is feeling a little too small. The JW Marriott Starr Pass has incredible military discounts, and the cherry on top—a lazy river! Order a prickly pear margarita and your weekend is made.
The Town too Tough to Die: Tombstone!
If Fort Huachuca doesn’t make you feel like you’re already in the Wild West, take a quick 20-minute drive to Tombstone, AZ. This is the historical town famous for the shootout at the O.K. Corral. Actors and actresses dress up as vigilantes from back-in-the-day, and reenact shootouts in the dusty streets of Tombstone on a daily basis. Not something I’d recommend doing frequently, but it’s a cheesy, fun place to take visitors!
You may not fill up every weekend on your calendar with to-do’s while you are in Sierra Vista, but if you put in the effort to get involved and get out and explore, I promise it’ll be worth your while!
Have you been stationed at Fort Huachuca? What would you add to the list?