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Tucson, AZ Area


NakedNHappyHunter
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If I remember correctly, you need an annual pass to be on the BLM lands. They are difficult for visitors to get because of a two-week mail delay. We were able to find a BLM office to get one, just a bit of an out-of-the-way hassle. Remember to throw a couple gallons of emergency water in your Jeep and have a blast!

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January is a great time to visit Tucson, and Tucson is a great place for geocaching! I live in the northwest area, but you will find a plethora of caches throughout Southeast Arizona. You say you are interested in mines, old buildings, and windmills. Well, I don't remember any windmills around here, but there are plenty of old buildings. There are many abandoned mines as well, but most are dangerous and should not be explored. You might google for ghost towns near Tucson. I remember a couple Southeast of Tucson off Interstate 10 that have some great stories. The mountains surrounding Tucson have wonderful and secluded trails as well as geocaches. The Tucson Mountains to the west are beautiful, and the Santa Catalina Mountains to the North have my favorite trails. The Santa Rita mountains to the South have great trails too, and the area is well known for bird watching. There are no BLM lands around Tucson, but be aware of State Trust lands that are primarily used for cattle grazing that you must have a permit to explore. In my neck of the woods (NW Tucson), there is a fellow nicknamed "Likinhikn" who has just about monopolized Catalina State Park. His caches are always well-received, and he has hundreds of them! Catalina State Park is my favorite place to cache, hike, and run because of the beautiful scenery and wide open spaces. I hope this gives you short overview of geocaching Tucson. Be sure to visit the Desert Museum and the Pima Air Museum when you're out here. These are the two places I take everyone who comes to town.

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Many Tucson visitors take a side trip to Tombstone. If that is your case then I suggest that you stay either Tombstone or Sierra Vista. Sierra Vista is larger and has more hotels and restaurants. I tried to include your wish list.

 

I recommend that you visit Karchner Caverns. There is a cache at the Visitors Desk. Give yourself 2.5-3 hours to visit the center and take a cave tour.

Fairbank, AZ is located in the San Pedro National Riparian Region. It is an old railroad town that serviced the local mines. https://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache_details.aspx?wp=GCHBHJ&title=fairbank-memories. You can travel North or South along the river and see old stamping mills and a historic ranch. Your choice. Give yourself 3-4 hours.

 

Both Karchner and Fairbank will get you to Tombstone or Sierra Vista.

 

Charlestown, AZ is another ghost town with a cluster of caches. There is a nice interpretive trail that leads to Stamp of Approval. There is a petroglyph site nearby.

https://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache_details.aspx?wp=GC5FQKD&title=stamp-of-approval

 

If you get tired of Tombstone, try Bisbee. South about 25 miles. Old mining town now eclectic hippie. There is a Queen Mine tour that takes you underground.

 

Courtland, AZ. Another old mining town East of Tombstone. The hour or so drive from Tombstone is scenic and a jeep is or high clearance vehicle is a good idea. There is a cluster of caches here. The CO put together a very interesting history for each of the caches. This is a day trip for sure.

https://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache_details.aspx?wp=GC1G4NK&title=jailhouse-rock

 

Here are some searches that you can do for other adventures.

Hereford, Sonoita, Patagonia, Benson

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If I remember correctly, you need an annual pass to be on the BLM lands. They are difficult for visitors to get because of a two-week mail delay. We were able to find a BLM office to get one, just a bit of an out-of-the-way hassle. Remember to throw a couple gallons of emergency water in your Jeep and have a blast!

 

Not BLM land, but state trust land. A moot point these days, as they banned geocaching on those properties. To my knowledge, the only BLM land that requires a permit around Tucson is Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness, which is limited to 50 visitors a day and requires advance reservations.

 

There are no BLM lands around Tucson, but be aware of State Trust lands that are primarily used for cattle grazing that you must have a permit to explore.

 

Not right in town, but there are plenty of BLM lands around, like Ironwood Forest National Monument.

 

And I will echo WeeWillie's recommendation to visit down to Cochise County, it's a beautiful area.

 

In Tucson, Raven Art Studios have some great caches that we keep meaning to hunt when we're in town. Around Tucson, plenty of great caches west of town near Gates Pass, on the way to Saguaro National Park West.

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