Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Coronado Memorial Park 12/22/2011

View south into Mexico

Wanting to give my wife some space with her family, I drove south of Sierra Vista to Coronado Memorial Park close to the border. The park is administered by the National Park Service to preserve the ecology of the southern Arizona desert. The park memorializes the Vasquez de Coronado Expedition up the San Pedro river and into Arizona. He was searching for the seven cities of gold and also exploring new land for the Spanish to colonize. (Information from

Information: The park has no fee to enter and offers visitors many recreational options including hiking, birding, picknicking and sightseeing. It is important to remember that this is desert country so it is hot during the summer and cold during the winter. Carry plenty of water. Also the area is a smuggling route for drugs and illegals into the US so stay vigilant. While in the park I saw a large number of Border Patrol personnel and vehicles; however, at no point did I not feel safe. Inquire about trail conditions before venturing out.

Hiking: The park offers an abundance of hiking which is exactly what I came to do. I left the Visitors Center and drove to the top where the trail for Coronado Peak and the Crest Trail started. I hiked to the Coronado Peak (0.4 one way) and out Joe Canyon another 1.5. Hikers can see evidence of the July fire with burned signs and burned vegetation. It is always amazing to me how fast vegetation comes back after a wildfire. I hiked back to the trailhead and up the Crest Trail appr. 2.5 miles one way. This trail gained considerable elevation and was more difficult. Near the crest of the Huachucas I saw a number of abandoned mines with iron gates blocking them off. This park is one of my favorite in Arizona and offers widespread views of the Huachucas, Dragoons and into Mexico.

Desert vegetation in park; near crest of Huachucas

Pic of park from Crest Trail

Looking east from Coronado peak

Looking across the valley near Coronado Peak

Looking SW along the Huachuca Mountains

Ridgeline into Mexico

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