Monday, June 5, 2017
The ruins for Camp Rucker, Arizona are located off of Highway 191 on Rucker Canyon Road. If you are driving from Tucson, Arizona, it is about a 2.5 to 3 hour drive. Rucker Canyon Road is unpaved and passable to passenger cars under good conditions. I would not take a passenger car on this road during the monsoon season because of mud as well as wash crossings that may become treacherous during periods of heavy rain.
History: Camp Rucker is an old military fort associated with the Apache Indian Wars between the years of 1876 and 1886. In June of 1876 the Chiricahua Apache Indian Reservation was abolished and the San Carlos Reservation on the Salt River was created removing the Chiricahua Apaches. The United States policy was any Apache not on the reservation was considered a renegade Indian. To aid in finding and removing Apaches not at San Carlos the military created Camp Supply near the Mexico border. After Mexico and Sonora objected to its location the camp was relocated to Rucker Canyon. From April to June of 1878 two companies of Indian Scouts: Companies C and D were stationed at Rucker under the direction of Lieutenants Rucker and Henely. In July of 1878 a tragedy occurred when both Rucker and Henely were killed during a flood in Rucker Canyon. Afterwards the camp was renamed Camp Rucker to recognize the Lieutenant. Later, Rucker received extensive use during the Geronimo campaign when the 4th Calvalry and more Indian Scouts were stationed here. The camp would soon be decommissioned after Fort Bowie to the north. From 1888 to 1970 four families used the area as headquarters for a home and ranch.
Since the Forest Service acquired the property in 1970 they have managed the buildings in a state of suspended decay maintaining them so they will not fall apart but not restoring them back to original condition. Today there are five or six buildings along with ruins that visitors can enjoy. A path takes visitors to each building and signs give interpretative information on the area's history. If you go please do not deface buildings or remove artifacts. Also I would advise keeping a lookout for snakes because of the long grass (Information from Forest Service signage).