Saturday, March 18, 2017

Jeep ride to Coronado Peak Memorial

Saturday, March 18, 2017

My location:  Las Cienegas NCA near Sonoitas, Arizona

Another beautiful morning.  The horse camp is still there, so I suspect there will be many more horses again today.


This morning, we have other plans.  We got an early start and finished our breakfast around 9 o’clock and jumped in the Jeep.  Our destination today is Coronado Peak Memorial.  Read about this drive from Al in his blog, Travel With the Bayfield Bunch.

We drove the back road through the grasslands to hwy 82 and turned left heading for Sierra Vista about 20 miles East.  We drove between the Greystone and Mustang Mountain ranges.  Turned right onto hwy 90, going through Huachuca City and then hooked onto hwy 92 South out of Sierra Vista.

It’s hard to miss the Huachuca Mountains South of town.


Passed this beautiful entrance as I was leaving Sierra Vista. 


Wasn’t long before I saw the sign telling me to turn toward the mountains onto Montezuma Canyon Road towards Coronado National Memorial.


Stopped briefly at the Visitor Center and then it was all up from there.


I think we’re heading up there.


Here’s looking down the way we came.  It was a narrow dirt road and if you’re afraid of heights, as I am, it was best not to look over the shoulder of the road. 


Our friendly Border Patrol had a commanding presence at the end of the road in the parking area. 


That is Miller Peak in the background.  The only way to get to that peak at 9466 feet, is to hike the 6.5 mile trail.  Unfortunately, they don’t allow dogs, so that dashed that hike.  (I couldn’t do it anyway.)


We did walk Montezuma Trail to the top of Coronado Peak and could see forever in all directions.

There is Carr Peak to the Northeast.


Yuma is looking toward Mexico to the South.


Looking straight East through Montezuma Pass, the way we drove up.


Looking West into San Rafael valley and into the Coronado National Forest.


I believe those are the Santa Rita Mountains in the distance to the West..


It is hazy unfortunately, so the photos don’t show you forever very clearly.

There is a Coronado Forest road that heads from the summit and it will take us back to Sonoita.  It’s a rough dirt road and it’s 62 miles down the West side of the Huachuca Mountains , but that’s the way we’re going.


First stop was at Copper Canyon.  There were three men with dogs.  The dogs had antennas on their collars.  Asked what they were for, and they said it was for tracking the dogs.  Figured out later, these guys were border patrol and the dogs were used to track illegal aliens.  Their ride was definitely ready for anything, anywhere.


This is where I’m headed.


The road was quite good and firm as we came down the mountain and headed into the San Rafael valley.



Stopped at this beautiful mountain stream to rest.



Yuma got his fill of the clear stream water.


It was a pleasant drive with views everywhere.


After about 30 miles of dirt road, we came onto pavement at Parker Canyon Lake.  We also hit civilization.  There were campgrounds and homes at the lake.  The campgrounds were overflowing with people.  Must be a popular lake for Tucson residents to get away from it all.  (Not really.)





One last look back at the Huachuca Mountains.


At Parker Canyon Lake, we turned onto the pavement of hwy 83 that takes us 32 miles North to Sonoita and home.  You can see the Mustang Mountains.  We’re headed just Northwest of those mountains.



The County Fairgrounds in Sonoita.


Few more horses for the horse lovers.



See you later.


  1. Where to start... So many beautiful scenes. The mountain ranges look rugged. Hiking them would be going pretty much straight up, it looks like. Thanks road into San Rafael Valley was so pretty. It must have been a pretty drive. Gorgeous mountain streams! Parker Canyon Lake would be a fun place to camput. Thank you for more beautiful horses! I think Yuma was looking for a perrotita!

  2. Thanks Dolly. It was a nice drive. But a long one. Six hours is enough to tire me out. Once in a lifetime trip.

  3. Your photos brought back pleasant memories of the day we did that drive as well. That whole area of Southeastern Arizona is just the best. Another great drive is up and over the Chiricahua Mountains to Portal and Cave Creek. That drive begins near the gates of the Chiricahua National Monument which is itself another great place to visit. Great scenic views and hiking trails. In that same area is Fort Bowie and it's a great hike if you take the back way in from the Apache Pass.

    1. Thanks Al. May have to save that drive for another year. It certainly is beautiful country.

  4. So many wonderful areas to explore looks like a very long day but also and interesting one as well, great photos.

    1. Thanks George. The heat is even reaching up to the plains. May have to go higher soon.

  5. I like it when you and Yuma mix it up with the border patrol ! 😀

    1. Thanks Moonfly. They were not the friendliest bunch.

  6. So many beautiful places to explore. Tom and I took that same ride almost two years ago, this year we only went up to the peak and back down. Beautiful pictures to remind us of that ride.

  7. What an adventurous day you seem to have had, i bet you were tired too after such a lengthy drive! The pictures and your family are all very beautiful!