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Feb 15, 2017
16TH CENTURY SPANISH COLONIAL EXPLORATION OF THE AMERICAS LED TO LASTING CULTURAL INFLUENCES THROUGHOUT ARIZONA, AND FRANCISCO VÁSQUEZ DE CORONADO'S EXPEDITION WAS A MAJOR ONE. THE CORONADO NATIONAL MONUMENT COMMEMORATES CORONADO'S EXPEDITION OF 1540-1542 AND INTERPRETS ITS IMPACT.
It’s 1540, and a group of Spanish explorers travels north across the desert of Southern Arizona, exploring the area around today’s US-Mexico border and likely the San Pedro River Valley. During the 2-year expedition, the explorers discovered the vastness of the land north of central Mexico, and their findings drew intense curiosity by the Spaniards, leading to later occupation.
Coronado Cave became part of Coronado National Memorial in 1978, and is a rare example of an open, undeveloped cave in Southern Arizona. Hiking is required to get to the cave’s entrance, so be prepared for an elevation gain of 500 feet, and bring along at least two sources of light — the back of the cave is completely dark.
Hiking along the eight miles of trails is very popular, and birding draws visitors year-round. Guided hikes and tours with a park ranger are available during spring.
Drive one of the scenic routes around the memorial for breath-taking beauty. Montezuma Pass is noted for its unforgettable views of the San Pedro River Valley, San Rafael Valley, and other scenic drives that lead into the Coronado National Forest.
Ready for a break? Take advantage of the picnic area near the visitor center, and relax under the shade of mature oak trees.
Open daily, dawn until dusk, closed Christmas Day.
Entrance Fee: Free
Coronado National Memorial
4101 E Montezuma Canyon Rd
Hereford, AZ 85615