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.
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…
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.