Much of the war against the Chiricahua Apaches was fought from Fort Huachuca, founded in 1877 in a canyon that had historically served as an escape route for one of the Southwest’s final hold-out tribes. Currently the fort is a major center for military intelligence training; its stories, past and present, are told at two museums here.
The main gate to get into the base of the fort is at Fry Boulevard and Highway 90 in Sierra Vista. Once you’re let on the base, the guards will direct you to Building 41401, which houses the museums.
The Fort Huachuca Museum (520/533-5736, Mon.–Fri. 9 a.m.–4 p.m., Sat.–Sun. 1–4 p.m., $2 suggested donation) has exhibits about army life on the Southwestern frontier, the famous battles with the Chiricahua Apaches, and the Buffalo Soldiers—African American cavalrymen whose story is one of the most fascinating of the West.
The U.S. Army Intelligence Museum (520/533-5736, Mon.–Fri. 9 a.m.–4 p.m., Sat.–Sun. 1–4 p.m., $2 suggested donation) tells the 200-year story of the army’s underrated intelligence corps. Since September 11, 2001, foreign nationals have not been allowed on the base, even if they are just there to see the museums.
Sitting at the base of the Huachuca Mountains, the military town of Sierra Vista is the largest town in the valley and the fort’s host, but has little charm in and of itself. There are a lot of chain hotels and restaurants, and it’s close to the southern end of the San Pedro River. It makes a good base if you’re planning on spending some quality time in the mountains, but otherwise it’s just a drive-through.