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Name: Dragoon Springs Station Author's Rating:
Author: Matt Marine Avg. User Rating: Not rated yet
Type: 4WD Difficulty: (1 out of 5)
Time: 1 to 2 hours Region: SE Arizona
Length: 3.5 miles (one way). Add another mile (one way) to visit Jordan Canyon Elevation gain/loss/change: +500 / -500 ft / + 0 ft
Type: Out and back Avg Elevation: 5000 ft
Best time to go: fall, spring, winter Fees: NA
Fitness rating: Low Educational Merit: High
Danger/fear rating: Low Scenic Beauty: High
Hours of Operation: NA Last updated: January, 2011
Short Description: This is 2WD road to an historic stage stop and the only Confederate grave site in Arizona
Geocaches:Tons of cool geocaches around. Here's just a few. Butterfield; Dragoon Spring
References / Contact Information: American Civil War; Ghost Town Trails
Points of interest: Dragoon Springs Station. Confederate graves
Special Considerations: May require a State Trust Land permit (see update on permit page). Can be accessed by car if road is dry
How to get there: From Tucson, take I-10 east to the Dragoon exit (318). Head south on Dragoon Rd for almost 4 miles. When you get to the center of Dragoon, take a right on Main Street (also called Old Ranch Rd). Click here for directions

Trail Description

This is a short, very easy trail (2WD) to an old stage and mail stop called Dragoon Springs Station. It can be accessed by car when the road is dry.

The surrounding Dragoon Mountains are beautiful and the worth exploring. You can combine this with the Marble Mine and Council Rock adventures. You won't be disappointed!

General Information and History

The Dragoon Springs Stage Stop was constructed in 1858 as part of the Overland Mail Bill passed by Congress in 1857 to begin mail service between St. Louis and San Francisco. The stop was one of 200 along the 2700 mile route known as the Butterfield Overland Mail Route.

The Dragoon Springs Station was known as a "swing" station, which means it was used only for changing horses or mules. "Home" stations were more elaborate and housed a station master, cooks and maintenance men. This line was also known as the "Jackass Mail" route because for the most part, mules, not horses, were used to pull the coaches.

This station had a brief and violent history. On September 8, 1858, three Overland Company employees were killed by their workers. And a battle between Confederate soldiers and the Apache in 1862 resulted in the Confederate graves just north of the station.

On may 5, 1862, members of a Confederate foraging party fought with a group of Apaches. The soldiers were based out of Tucson and engaged in operations against Union soldiers from California. Four of the foraging party were killed. These soldiers are the only known Confederates known to have been killed in Arizona during the Civil War.

Mail service ended in 1861 due to the onset of the Civil War, increased Indian hostilities and the faster Pony Express service which had begun in 1860.

During its two years of existence, the Overland Mail route made a tremendous impact on the area drawing in large numbers of settlers and explorers to Arizona.

Although no longer an official mail route, the station continued to be a resting stop for travelers during and after the Civil War.

The Trail

At Waypoint 001 in the middle of bustling Dragoon (the intersection of W. Dragoon and Main Street), head east on Main Street, which immediately turns to a dirt road. On some maps, this is Old Ranch Road.

On my topo map, Main Street turns into Old Ranch Road at Waypoint 002. Keep left here. Keep driving down this well-graded dirt road for about 2 miles. At Waypoint 002, you'll see a left turn with a sign for Dragoon Springs Station. Don't worry if you miss it, you won't go far. After 1/4 miles you'll reach the entrance to Fourr Ranch (yes, it has two "rr's") at Waypoint 006 and private property. Turn around and find the road you missed.

Take the left and follow this road for about 1 mile until you reach the parking area for the station (Waypoint 004). Park and walk down the trail (through the pedestrian gate) to the station about 1/4 miles away.

The graves are about 100 ft north of the station.

After visiting the station, you can continue down the road into Jordan Canyon. I haven't taken this road for almost ten years, but what I remember about it was that it was 2WD until Waypoint 005. I remember it stopping there, but it may continue all the way to Dragoon Spring (Waypoint "spring").

Turn around a retrace your steps back to the town of Dragoon.


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