Sierra Vista (Spanish: Mountain View) is a city in Southeast Arizona and the commercial hub of the region, making it a convenient base from which to explore the area. It is perhaps best known for historic Fort Huachuca, established in 1877 during the Apache Wars. Although still an active U.S. Army military base, its two military museums and historic cemetery are open to the general public.
The landscape around the city is typical for the Southwestern United States, and the nearby mountains and canyons can be explored on foot, by bike, or on horseback. Because it is a major stopover point on avian migration routes, the area is popular with avid birdwatchers and naturalists, and is known as the "Hummingbird Capital of America".
- 1 Sierra Vista Visitor Center, 3020 E Tacoma St (in the Oscar Yrun Community Center), ☏ , toll-free: , ✉ info@VisitSierraVista.com. M-F 8AM-5PM, Sa 9PM-4PM.
Sierra Vista is 75 miles (121 km) from Tucson, the nearest major transport hub.
- Tucson International Airport (TUS IATA), 250 S Tucson Blvd, ☏ . Served by a number of airlines, this is the closest airport with commercial service.
- 1 Sierra Vista Municipal Airport (FHU IATA), 2100 Airport Ave, ☏ . It does not serve commercial flights.
By shuttle bus
The following shuttle bus companies offer transportation to and from Tucson International Airport, as well as to nearby communities.
- Three Canyons Transit Company (Arizona Sunshine Tours), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Offers shuttle service to/from the Tucson airport, as well as to/from Benson, Whetstone, Sonoita, Patagonia, Tombstone, and Bisbee, and even to hiking areas. Reservations are best made by phone, not email, at least 24 hours in advance. The same company also offer guided bus tours of the region. $98 to/from Tucson.
- Huachuca Shuttle, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Provides shuttle service to/from the airport; reservations made less than 24 hours in advance have a $7 surcharge. Also provides transportation service within the Sierra Vista area, with no prior reservation required. $77-105 to Tucson, depending on hour of departure.
- Arizona World Shuttle Express, 51 N Garden Canyon Ave, ☏ . Reservations should be made 24 hours in advance.
By rental car
- 2 Enterprise Rent-A-Car, 743 E Fry Blvd, ☏ , toll-free: . M-F 7:30AM-6PM, Sa 9AM-12PM, Su 1PM-4PM.
- 3 Hertz Car Rental, 247 S 7th St, ☏ , fax: . M-Sa 8AM-5PM.
- 4 Vista Transit Center, 2050 E Wilcox Dr, ☏ , ✉ vistatransit@SierraVistaAZ.gov. The public bus operates normal routes Monday-Friday, with limited service on Saturdays. Route maps and schedules are available for download. Single trip: $1.25 (adults), $1 (military), $.75 (seniors/students/disabled), $2 (curbside service); monthly pass: $40 (adults), $24 (concessions); book of 20 tickets: $25 (adults), $15 (concessions), $40 (curbside service).
The city is very bicycle-friendly with a well-developed network of bike paths and bike lanes. Maps of bike and multi-use paths can be downloaded here.
For travelers interested in military and local history, Sierra Vista offers some museums and sites. In addition to this, the views to and from the nearby mountain ranges are fantastic and many of the city's best attractions are actually located outside the city itself.
- 1 Fort Huachuca. An active military installation, the fort was established in 1877 and played a pivotal role in the Apache Wars of the late 19th century.
Note: All visitors who do not have a DoD (Department of Defense) ID, CAC (Common Access Card), Military ID, Military Dependent ID, or Gold Star ID must make a formal application and submit to a background check at the 2 Visitor Control Center (VCC, tel. +1 520-533-3269, open daily 24 hrs) by the Van Deman Gate (East Gate). The process takes about 30 minutes; details and instructions are outlined here. International visitors are required to arrange for an official escort prior to their visit, and in addition to formally applying at the VCC should contact the 3 Sierra Vista public information office (Sierra Vista City Hall, tel. +1 520-458-3315, email@example.com) at least three weeks in advance. Free.
- 2 Fort Huachuca Museum, 41401 Grierson Ave, ☏ . M-Sa 9AM-4PM. Has a small gift shop. Free.
- 3 US Army Intelligence Museum, Bldg 41411 (next to the Fort Huachuca Museum), ☏ . M-Sa 9AM-4PM. Free.
- 4 Old Post Cemetery. Has the graves of US Army Cavalry and Buffalo Soldiers, who fought in the Apache Wars, as well as several Apache scouts and their wives. Gravestones marked 'Unknown' are for victims of Apache attacks who were too badly mutilated to identify.
- 5 Reservoir Hill Overlook, Reservoir Hill Rd. Has good views over the Fort and the neighboring Whetstone Mountains.
- 6 Garden Canyon, Garden Canyon Rd. Daylight hours. A lovely place for hiking, picnicking, and birdwatching. Follow the road up the canyon to see Apache (ca. 1700 CE) and Hohokam (ca. 400-1250 CE) pictographs in two different sites. The pictographs are protected behind fences, so they're easy to find.
- 7 Henry F Hauser Museum, 2590 E Tacoma St (in the Ethel H Berger Center), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. M-F 10AM-5PM, Sa 10AM-2PM (Sep-May). This small museum exhibits historic artifacts and photographs from the region, and also has a small gift shop. Free.
- 8 Arizona Folklore Preserve, 56 E Folklore Trail (from Hwy 92, take Ramsey Canyon Rd west 3.3 miles), ☏ , . Doors open at 1PM, show starts at 2PM. The Arizona Folklore Preserve features outstanding musicians in concert every Saturday and Sunday. $15 (adults), $6 (children under 17).
- Bird watching. Various locations in the Huachuca Mountains offer excellent opportunities for seeing birds as well as wildlife. SABO (Southeast Arizona Bird Observatory) and the Huachuca Audubon Society (tel. +1 520-803-1160) offer guided walks and tours throughout the area.
- 1 Huachuca Astronomy Club, 1140 N Colombo Ave (University of Arizona South), ☏ . Enjoy sharing the boundless dark skies of Sierra Vista. The Huachuca Astronomy Club hosts public events, both at the Patterson Observatory (operated by the University of Arizona) and at other outdoor locations. Free.
- 2 Huachuca Mountains. The Huachuca Mountains are part of the Coronado National Forest, and have many great trails to challenge both the novice and expert hiker. The guide book Trails of the Huachucas by Leonard Taylor is an excellent resource, available from Amazon and the public library. The Monday Hikers and Tuesday Hikers clubs (tel. +1 520-458-2008, +1 520-417-6960) meet weekly, hiking locations vary.
- 3 Sierra Vista Ranger District, 4070 S Ave Saracino, Hereford (off of Hwy 92), ☏ . Sells hiking maps for $10, and has updated trail and camping information.
- 4 Ramsey Canyon Preserve, 27 E Ramsey Canyon Rd, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Mar-Oct: Th-M 8AM-5PM; Nov-Feb Th-M 9AM-4PM; closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day. More than 170 species of birds have been found here, including 14 species of hummingbirds. There is also a small bookshop and a mile or so of easy hiking trails, one of which continues on to the Hamburg Trail on National Forest land. The best time to visit is between April and September. Parking is limited to 27 spaces, and it is not permitted to park along the roadside. If the parking lot is full you will have to return some other time, or better yet arrange for someone to drop you off and pick you up. $6 (adults), $3 (members and Cochise County residents), free (children under 16); visitor pass is good for one week, with multiple visits permitted.
- 5 Brown Canyon Ranch (off of Ramsey Canyon Rd). Daily dawn to dusk. A historic century-old ranch in the foothills of the Huachuca Mountains, with a few easy hiking trails connecting to the trail network in the National Forest. Free.
- 6 San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area, Hwy 90; Charleston Rd (east of Sierra Vista), ☏ . Daily dawn to dusk. The area provides opportunities for birdwatching, camping, hunting, hiking, fishing, biking and horseback riding. Free.
- Cycling. The region has many excellent routes and trails for both road and mountain bikes. Bicycles can be rented from 5 M&M Cycling (tel. 520-458-1316) and from 6 Sun N Spokes (tel.+1 520-458-0685).
- 7 [dead link] Buffalo Corral Riding Stables (Fort Huachuca), ☏ . 9AM-3PM Th-Su; last ride begins at 2:45. Has horses to rent to individuals or groups by the hour. Also offers guided horseback riding excursions as well as riding lessons. Note: as this facility is located on Fort Huachuca, visitors must comply with admission requirements as outlined above under 'See'.
- 8 Hang gliding, Carr Canyon Rd, S Hwy 92 (Huachuca Mountains). Carr Reef, the large cliff face overlooking Carr Canyon, is a popular jumpoff point for hang gliders.
- 9 Sierra Vista Aquatic Center, 2900 Martin Luther King Jr Parkway, ☏ . Hours vary by season. 'The Cove' is a 36,500 sq-ft facility hosting a wave pool, water therapy pool, diving pool, and water slides. Good for hot summer days. $6 (adults), $4 (kids).
Festivals and events
- 10 Cochise Cowboy Poetry & Music Gathering, 5225 E Buena School Blvd (Buena Performing Arts Center), ☏ , . A three-day event held every February, featuring local and nationally-recognized poets and musicians. Tickets can be purchased at the Sierra Vista Visitor Center, 1 Spur Western Wear, Safeway, and online. $20 (headline performances), $10 (Saturday daytime performance), $6 (children 6-18).
- 11 Cochise College Rodeo, Wren Arena (off of Canelo Rd on Ft Huachuca; see entry requirements for Ft Huachuca above under 'See'), ☏ . 1st full weekend in March: on Saturday gates open at 12PM and rodeo begins at 1PM, on Sunday rodeo begins at 10:30AM. An annual two-day event showcasing bronc and bull riding, steer wrestling and roping, and barrel racing. $8 at the gate, $6 advanced purchase (Yardley Community Center, Safeway, and Cochise College campuses), free (active military personnel, children under 5).
- 2 Big 5 Sporting Goods, 135 S Hwy 92 (Coronado Village Shopping Center), ☏ . M-F 10AM-9PM, Sa 9AM-9PM, Su 10AM-8PM. Besides Walmart, this is the only place in town which carries outdoor equipment.
- 3 Crafted Luxuries, 108 El Camino Real, ☏ . 10AM-5PM. Custom made jewelry, candles, artwork and special order gift items.
- 4 The Mall at Sierra Vista, 2200 El Mercado Loop (The Mall at Sierra Vista), ☏ . M-Sa 10AM-9PM, Su 12PM-6PM. Southeast Arizona's only mall, anchored by Dillards and Sears, with a Cinemark Cinema.
- 5 La Salida del Sol Lions Club Swap Meet, 5801 E Hwy 90, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Sa 5AM-4PM, Su 6AM-3PM. A good place to find curiosities and collectibles, with food vendors as well. The best time to come is Saturday morning.
The local restaurant scene includes American diners, Mexican restaurants, pizza places and some places with Asian food but also a surprising number of German restaurants and cafés.
- 1 Angelika's German Imports, 1630 E Fry Blvd, ☏ . T-Th 10AM-5PM, F 10AM-7PM, Sa 10AM-3PM. Has a good deli counter, with great potato salad. Also has a good selection of imported German groceries and other products. $5-10.
- 2 Bread Basket, 355 West Wilcox Dr, ☏ . M-F 6AM-5PM, lunch served from 11AM-2PM. German bakery with great soups and salads, sandwiches, schnitzels, breads, and pastries. Eat in or take away; very popular for lunch. $2-9.
- 3 The Landmark Cafe, 400 W Fry Blvd, ☏ . Sa-Tu 6AM-2PM, W-F 6AM-8PM. This well-established family restaurant is especially known for large breakfasts. $5-10.
- 4 Rodolfo's Taco Shop, 862 E Fry Blvd (on the SE corner of Fry Blvd and 7th St), ☏ . M-F 6AM-10PM, Sa Su 6AM-11PM. Cheap, fast, authentic Mexican food, featuring tacos, burritos, and carne asada. $3-10.
- 5 La Casita, 465 E Fry Blvd, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. M-Th 11AM-9PM, F 11AM-10PM, Sa 11AM-9PM, Su 11AM-8PM. A busy place known for excellent margaritas and Mexican food. Mains $10-20.
- 6 Country House Restaurant, 4373 S Hwy 92, ☏ . Daily 7AM-8PM. Offers reliable American classic diner food. $11-30.
- 7 The German Cafe, 1232 E Fry Blvd, ☏ . M-Sa 11AM-9PM. Excellent, authentic German food. Reservations recommended. $10-15.
- 8 Peacock Restaurant, 386 W Fry Blvd, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. M-F 11AM-9PM, Sa 12PM-9PM. The long-established, family-run restaurant specializes in traditional Vietnamese cuisine, and even offers a few vegetarian dishes. Their spring rolls and pho are especially recommended. Mains $10-16.
- 9 Pizzeria Mimosa, 4755 E Neapolitan Way, Hereford (directly off of S Hwy 92, 10 miles south of Sierra Vista), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Su-Th 11AM-9PM, Fr-Sa 11AM-9:30PM. Offers Neapolitan pizzas fired in a traditional wood oven. $11-30.
- 10 Ricardo's Mexican Restaurant, 7196 S Hwy 92, Hereford (10 miles south of Sierra Vista), ☏ . M-Sa 4PM-9PM. A long-established restaurant which was rebuilt in 2012 after burning down in a wildfire the previous year. They offer Sonoran style Mexican food with good margaritas. $11-30.
- 11 Tanuki Sushi Bar & Garden, 1221 E Fry Blvd, ☏ . M-Th 11AM-2PM, 5PM-9PM; F 11AM-2PM, 5PM-9:30PM; Sa 5PM-9:30PM. For being in a spot a long distance from the sea, they offer some surprisingly excellent sushi. Very popular, and rated 'Best sushi in AZ' by Arizona Highways. Take out available. $6-20.
- 12 Texas Roadhouse, 2075 El Mercado Loop, ☏ . M-W 3PM-9PM, Th 3PM-10PM, F Sa 11AM-10PM, Su 11AM-9PM. A national chain which offers steaks and fall-off-the-bone ribs. Mains $9-25.
- 13 Vinny's New York Pizza, 1977 S Frontage Rd, ☏ . M-Th 11AM-9PM, F Sa 11AM-10PM, Su 12PM-9PM. The most popular pizza place in Sierra Vista. $7-17.
- 14 Food City, 85 S Hwy 92 (Coronado Village Shopping Center), ☏ . Daily 6AM-11PM. Carries Mexican food items and produce, with a take-away deli.
- 15 Fry's Food & Drug, 4351 E Hwy 90, ☏ . Daily 5AM-12AM. Has a deli section with take-out options, including soups and salads.
- 16 Safeway, 2190 E Fry Blvd, ☏ . Daily 5AM-12AM. Has a deli with take-out options.
- 17 Walmart Supercenter, 500 N Hwy 90 Byp, ☏ . Daily 24 hrs. Has a number of take-out options, including salads.
- 1 Broxton's Coffee, 920 E Fry Blvd, ☏ . M-F 6:30AM-4:30PM, Sa 8AM-4PM. This friendly place serves great coffee along with baked goods and even breakfast burritos.
- 1 Ramsey Vista Campground, 4070 South Avenida Saracino, Hereford (on a steep mountain road with switchbacks), ☏ . 8 dry tent campsites, with water and toilets available. Trailers under 12' permitted. Reservations can be made online. $10/night.
- 2 Reef Townsite Campground. Located on the site of the old mining town of Reef, with many relics of the old town still visible. Great views, toilets available, no water. Trailers under 12' permitted; longer trailers cannot navigate the steep switchbacks up the mountain. Reservations can be made online. $10/night.
- 3 Suburban Extended Stay, 1850 E Wilcox Dr, ☏ . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 12PM. This hotel offers free high-speed internet access, free coffee and an exercise room. Fully equipped kitchens in every room. Pet friendly. Special entertainment packages available for guests: golf, swimming, date nights, movie nights, etc. $49-$64/night.
- 4 Windemere Hotel & Conference Center, 2047 S Hwy 92, ☏ , toll-free: , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 4PM, although earlier checkins can be accommodated. Swimming pool, pets permitted. Includes one free happy hour drink at the onsite bar, as well as continental breakfast. Free wi-fi. While earlier online reviews of this hotel have in general been positive, reviews from 2014 are for the most part negative describing the hotel as run-down and filthy. $69-$79.
- 5 Beatty's Guest Ranch and Orchard, 2173 E Miller Canyon Rd, Hereford (off of S Hwy 92), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Popular with naturalists and birdwatchers, this lodging is surrounded by National Forest and offers six units with breakfast. $70-$120/night.
- 6 Lazy Dog Ranch, 3123 N Thistle Rd (drive west of Sierra Vista on Charleston Rd, turn right on E Escapule Rd), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Located within the San Pedro National Riparian Conservation Area. Two suites available, with pool. No smoking indoors, pets accepted. $125/night, $10/night (pets).
- 7 Casa de San Pedro Bed and Breakfast, 8933 S Yell Ln, Hereford (off of E Waters Rd), ☏ , toll-free: , ✉ email@example.com. Chef Lark Beaugureau also offers cooking classes. $169-$275/night.
- 8 Holiday Inn Express, 1902 S Hwy 92 (across from The Mall at Sierra Vista), ☏ . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 12PM. $153-$171/night.
- 4 Sierra Vista Public Library, 2600 E Tacoma St, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. M-Th 10AM-7PM, Fr 10AM-6PM, Sa 10AM-4PM. Computers available, free wi-fi access everywhere in the building during opening hours (no library membership required).
- The Mall at Sierra Vista, 2200 El Mercado Loop (The Mall at Sierra Vista), ☏ . M-Sa 10AM-9PM, Su 12PM-6PM. Free wi-fi is available throughout the mall (see listing above under 'Buy').
- Sierra Vista Herald. Also available in print.
- 5 Canyon Vista Medical Center, 5700 E Hwy 90, ☏ .
- 6 High Desert Clinic Urgent Care, 77 E Fry Blvd, ☏ . M-F 9AM-7PM, Sa-Su 10AM-4PM.
Head east on Charleston Rd toward Tombstone, and along the way explore the old ghost towns of Charleston and Millville. Or head east on Hwy 90 towards Bisbee, or south on Hwy 92 and visit Coronado National Memorial. Drive north on Hwy 90 and visit Kartchner Caverns State Park, and then continue on towards Tucson.