Birding Locations in Cochise County

Birding Locations in Cochise County

The San Pedro River is known as one of the 5 best birding areas in the United States with approximately 400 species that can be found here during the year. Down By The River lists on this page the Birding Locations in Cochise County. In this part of southeastern Arizona, nearly 250 species migrate birds through the river corridor during the spring and fall. That still leaves about 150 birds that reside in the area all year round. Down By The River abuts the San Pedro River with easy access to the river. The B and B  is located at the northern end of the San Pedro National Riparian Conservation Area. The water usually is flowing behind the property even in dry years. It goes underground a couple of miles further north. Birding in the area is available throughout the year. Check on our Birds Page for the different birds that have been seen on the property or in the adjacent river area.

Down By The River B and B is centrally located to many of the birding areas. These other birding locations are listed below in alphabetical order. Be advised that bird watching may be better for some sites due to the time of the year.

Benson Birding Trail

The Benson Birding trail is located near the water reclamation plant and is along the San Pedro River. It can be reached off of Ocotillo Rd north of 80.

Chiricahua Mountains

Take I-10 east and exit in Willcox or further on east to the exit to Portal. There are many birding areas in these mountains both on the west side at the National Monument and Pinery Canyon, and on the east side near Portal Cave Creek and the surrounding areas of the mountain range.

Cochise Stronghold

Take I-10 east and Exit 318 to route 191, then 20 minutes south and then 20 minutes west on Ironwood road in the Dragoon Mountains. It can be seen from our place but you have to go east into the next valley for access or on a primitive road out of Tombstone. From the top of Chochise Stronghold you can see both the San Pedro and Sulphur Springs Valleys. I have had other guests that have told me that there is also a water pond off the trail up there.

Holy Trinity Monastery

The Benedictine Monks run the Monastery and take care of a pond and a birding trail that runs along the San Pedro River. The Monastery is about ½ mile south of the B and B on the east side of the river.

Huachuca Mountains

The Huachuca Mountains are located about 1 hour south on 80 then west onto 82 then south again onto 90 and into Sierra Vista. Continue south onto 92 at the intersection of 90 and 92. There is a lot of wild life to see and many birds. There are also canyons there. I have been to Ramsey Canyon and have seen deer running around like tame puppy dogs. There are also a couple of other canyons, Brown, Carr and Miller Canyons that birders have told us about in these mountains.

We have also had guests tell us of Garden Canyon that is on Fort Huachuca that has the Elegant Trogon in a nesting area not far from the road. There are restriction on the Fort so you have to read up about what you can and cannot do. Foreign visitors will not be allowed on the base.

And almost to the Mexican Border is the Coronado National Memorial with more birding opportunities.

Mule Mountains

The Mule Mountains are where Bisbee is located. The area is home of Zacatecas Canyon that begins at the end of Brewery Gulch and goes back into the canyon.


Patagonia, Arizona is located about an hour away. Take 80 south and then west onto 82 passing through Sonoita. There is nature photography in the area with rolling hills and oaks. Also a nature preserve is located at the Patagonia Lake. South of Patagonia is the San Raphael Valley. The Valley is pristine and should be full of vegetation after all our summer rains. The Vega Ranch is there which is part of an old Spanish Land Grant. The road leads back toward Sonoita and the wine country.

San Bernardino National Wildlife Refuge

East of Douglas and adjacent to the John Slaughter Ranch Museum, this is a large wildlife and birding area. The refuge has available water and is a major draw for wildlife.

San Pedro House

San Pedro House is located on the west side of the San Pedro River about 45 minutes south on AZ-80 and then west on AZ-90, between Bisbee and Tombstone. This is a nature area in the National Riparian Area and is run by the Friends of the San Pedro River. They have reintroduced beavers into the area and there is visitor’s center and a nature hike along the river.

Willcox Twin Lakes

The lakes are located at the golf course south of Willcox on Rex Allen Jr. Drive. This lake has blinds set up for better viewing and also has water in it during the summer months. Many types of water fowl can be found here.

Willcox Playa

During the winter months, the Sand Hill Cranes spend time at the Playa or at White Water Draw. This is celebrated in January by Willcox with the “Wings Over Willcox” event. Many birding lectures and day trips are available during this time.

White Water Draw

The White Water Draw is located about 1 hour south on AZ-80 and then turn left onto Davis Road east just after Tombstone. Located just off Davis Road, this is a birding area and has lakes. During February the Sand Hill Cranes nest there. We saw about 20,000 birds there last winter.