Coronado National Forest, Safford
By Kelly Vaughn Kramer
Tucked between Grant and Moonshine creeks near the top of Mount Graham, this fairly primitive campground was spruced up as part of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009. Shaded by elegant stands of aspens and firs, Cunningham is the starting point for several hiking trails, including the Grant Creek and Grant Goudy Ridge trails, both of which reference Fort Grant, the former Army post on the southwestern slope of the mountain.
But easy access to Pinaleño Mountains hiking trails isn’t the only thing that makes this campground special. It also features a corral, uncommon at campgrounds in the state. So, if you’re a traveler by horseback, this is a great place to tether your mount for the night. Car campers won’t be disappointed, either. Ten sites feature fire pits and grills, and aspens surround most of them, particularly 2 and 9.
The only downside to camping here during the warm summer months? Bugs. Lots of them. Although they’re easily dissuaded by sprays and screens, they can be annoying while you’re searching for repellent in your backpack. If you can handle the bold bugs, you won’t regret parking your steed — steel or saddled — at Cunningham.
Campfire Tale: The Army abandoned Fort Grant in 1905, but after Arizona gained statehood in 1912, it became the Fort Grant.
PHOTO: The meadow at Cunningham Campground, in the Pinaleño Mountains, blooms with black-eyed Susans and bracken ferns during the summer. | Randy Prentice
Elevation: 9,000 feet
Directions: From Safford, travel south on U.S. Route 191 for 8 miles to State Route 366 and turn right. Follow SR 366 for 26 miles to the campground.
Information: Safford Ranger District, Coronado National Forest, 928-428-4150 or www.fs.usda.gov/coronado
Season: Mid-April through mid-November
Fee: $10 per night
Amenities: Toilets, Pets