America's Best History Spotlight
On this page we're going to Spotlight the lesser known historic sites and attractions that dot the history landscape across the USA and are worth a visit if you're in their area. And while they may be lesser known, some are very unique, and will be that rare find. You'll be, at times, on the ground floor, or maybe even know something others don't. It'll be fun. Visit them.
San Pedro Riperian NCA, Arizona
Wander near the border with Mexico in Cochise County, Arizona and you might just find the San Pedro River, waysides about mammoths, old ranches long forgotten, and the San Pedro NCA that tells the story of the land and the history there. Yes, this is a Bureau of Land Management site, managed by that branch of the Interior Department and not the more famous National Park Service. So, if you're wondering why you've never heard of these 57,000 acres, that's probably it. Congress designated the area for preservation in 1988, and since then, the land has provided good walks and history among a variety of sites, both along the San Pedro River and around it. Photo above: Sign leading into the San Pedro NCA. Courtesy Bureau of Land Management.
Info, What's There Now, History Nearby
San Pedro Riperian National Conservation Area
Today you can visit the park, camp under its stars, and visit a wide variety of sites, including archaeological remains from over ten thousand years ago. It's all included in the Chihuahuan and Sonoran Desert landscape with the San Pedro River running through it. Mammoths used to roam here; go to the Mavis Clovis site to learn about that. Settlers tried to prosper here; check out the Fairbanks or Millville Town Site, Little Boquillas Ranch, and Mormon markers for that. There's also a few tours to embark on, a Visitor Center and bookstore, and plenty of places to hike.
Photo above: Visitor Center and bookstore in the San Pedro House. Courtesy Bureau of Land Management.
Where Is It
The National Conservation Area Visitor Center, the San Pedro House, is located six miles east of Sierra Vista, Arizona. From Tuscon, it's forty miles east on Interstate 10 to State Highway 90. Go south toward Sierra Vista, then take Fry Boulevard east for six miles to the Visitor Center.
What is There Now
A variety of sites to visit, including the San Pedro House Visitor Center, the Fairbank Historic Townsite, the remains of the Spanish Presidio Santa Cruz de Terrenante, the Murray Springs Clovis Site, past home to mammoths, and the San Pedro River and its trails.
How Much to Visit
Day use in the San Pedro Riperian National Conservation Area is free. Overnight use, i.e. primitive backcountry camping is available, with permit, for $2 per night per person from self-pay stations at trailheads.
Visitor center is open daily 9:30 to 4:30, and the park is open year round. Guided walks are available through the Friends of San Pedro several days a week. Call ahead or ask at the San Pedro House when you arrive if one is available that day.
San Pedro Riperian NCA
Friends of San Pedro River
There's a variety of other attractions in the area. You are only seventy miles from Tuscon where attractions such as the Mission San Xavier del Bac, St. Augustine Cathedral, and the White Stallion Ranch are located. There's also Saguaro National Park surrounding the town. Along the way, there's Coronado National Forest, and to the west, there's Tumacacori National Historic Park.