empire ranch national historic site; las cienegras national conservation area

We visited Empire Ranch National Historic Site while we were in the Las Cienegras National Conservation Area. Empire Ranch (located off State Route 83 about 10 miles north of Sonoita, Arizona) is part of the Las Cienegras National Conservation Area. The ranch was founded in 1871 while Arizona was still a territory. Arizona didn’t become a state until February 14, 1912.

Red dot is the location of Empire Ranch in southern Arizona.

The Empire Ranch started with 160 acers and 612 head of cattle in 1871 and slowly grew to 180 square miles of rangeland and 40,000 head of cattle by the 1890’s. “Located between the Santa Rita, Rincon, Whetstone, and Huachuca Mountains, the ranch also included a silver mine in the nearby Empire Mountains that yielded over $500,000 of silver in just 3 years of operation from 1881-1884.” (ref. wikipedia.org)

The Empire Ranch was under constant threat by Apache raiding parties during the Apache Wars, from the early 1870’s through 1886 when Geronimo finally surrendered.

Come along as we explore some of the grounds surrounding the Empire Ranch Headquarters…

Present day Empire Ranch house built in the late 1870’s. (Photo provided by Wikipedia.org.) The house and attached building are open and visitors are encouraged to walk through them. There are pictures of those who lived here along with the history of the ranch from 1871 through present day.
Cowboys at Empire Ranch 1890. (Photo provided by wikipedia.org.)
Owners of the Empire Ranch. (ref. Photo provided by wikipedia.org.)
Hiking trail around part of the surrounding grounds of the ranch.
Heritage Trail through the Cottonwood Trees. There are warnings of falling limbs and rattle snakes all along the trail.
Headquarters for Beau of Land Management at the top of the hill.
Cottonwood Trees.
Our friend Maggie admiring the size of some of the Cottonwood Trees.
Maggie’s other half and our friend Tony, notice the size of these Cottonwood Trees.
The Heritage Trail – watch out for Rattle Snakes!
There I am next to a giant Cottonwood tree stump.
Our Leisure Travel Vans at the Empire Ranch.
My better half – MaryAnn.
Me & MaryAnn.

Empire Ranch is a great stop while camping in Las Cienegras National Conservation Area. We highly recommend a visit to learn about the rich history of southern Arizona first hand. The cost to tour the ranch is $0 or in other words – FREE.

2 thoughts on “empire ranch national historic site; las cienegras national conservation area”

  1. Wow very interesting historically and beautiful those trees … I didn’t see any rattlesnakes, hope you did not too. Lovely pictures of MaryAnn and the two of you together. Looking awesome …


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