Coronado Peak • Huachuca Mountains
• Coronado National Memorial
• Cochise County


Start of the trail
 

Five minutes later, I am almost there
 

View southeast at Cerro San Jose in Mexico
 

View back toward Montezuma Pass, the vehicles parked there, the windy road to get there, and the full mass of the Huachuca Mountains and of Miller Peak
 

View east down through the canyon
 

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Date: February 21, 2015 • Elevation: 6,864 feet • Prominence: 289 feet • Distance: 0.8 mile • Time: 30 minutes • Gain: 270 feet • Conditions: Cool, overcast with gusty winds

Coronado Peak is a small bump in the southern foothills of the Huachuca Mountains. It's not much of a hike to get to the top, but it is popular, and many people who come to the area when visiting the Coronado National Memorial and who bother to drive the steep road to Montezuma Pass will probably hike this peak. The trail is good, has benches and informative signs, and the views are excellent.

Beth and I were in Sierra Vista for the weekend. I had a conference at Cochise College on Friday, so we decided to make a weekend out of it. We stayed at the Quality Inn in town, the same place we stayed on our last visit here in 2004, when we hiked Miller Peak. We arrived late Thursday evening, a little after midnight.

Friday was my conference, which ran about four hours. Then I explored the Fort Huachuca (Army) Base, scouting the roads for a possible hike up Huachuca Peak. I was able to get on with no problem and even able to follow the myriad of roads to the one leading up Huachuca Canyon. I drove in about two miles, but the road was very rocky. I was not going to hike the peak today anyway. I had thought about hiking it tomorrow, but I decided that I'd wait another time. The weather was cold and blustery, and the hike was longer than I assumed. I didn't want to strand Beth back at the hotel for most of the day. I exited the base and returned to the hotel around 2 p.m. We were both beat and spent the rest of the day napping and watching Criminal Minds reruns.

For Saturday, we planned a loop drive to Bisbee, with a side trip to the Coronado Memorial. We left the hotel around noon, arriving to the Memorial about 20 minutes later. We drove up the road to Montezuma Pass, where we had also parked on our Miller Peak hike. The road is hardpack but it was bumpy in places. When we rolled into the parking lot, there were about six other cars plus a couple Border Patrol vehicles. The sky was gray and it was breezy and chilly.

My hike to the top and back took just thirty minutes. Part of the trail is the Arizona Trail, and the views were nice, but hazy with muted colors due to the clouds. There were other hikers on the trail, and I stopped at each of the signs to learn about Coronado, the leader of the first significant European exploration into what would become the United States. A few years earlier, a Franciscan monk named Fray Marcos de Niza had entered into "Arizona" in the 1530s. His reports spurred the much larger expedition led by Coronado. As was typical of these explorers back then, all they seemed to want was gold. Coronado eventually got as far as Salina, Kansas, but got no gold. They did pioneer routes across the land and later expeditions and people would follow. The memorial is merely to commemorate his arrival into the "United States".

We stayed at the pass for about an hour, then drove down. From here, we drove to Bisbee, and spent about an hour there, looking around its antique shops. Beth bought some neat minerals from a roadside kiosk. We've been to Bisbee before and will come back. This was not intended to be a long visit. From Bisbee, we drove back to Sierra Vista.

The following day, we drove home, arriving about noon.

(c) 2015 Scott Surgent. For entertainment purposes only. This report is not meant to replace maps, compass, gps and other common sense hiking/navigation items. Neither I nor the webhost can be held responsible for unfortunate situations that may arise based on these trip reports. Conditions (physical and legal) change over time! Some of these hikes are major mountaineering or backpacking endeavors that require skill, proper gear, proper fitness and general experience.