Coronado National Memorial offers a wide variety of recreational activities, along with an opportunity to reflect upon and appreciate the enduring influence of early Spanish explorers in the American Southwest.
The memorial traces the route taken by Francisco Vásquez de Coronado and his conquistadores. In 1540, Coronado led more than 300 horsemen across Arizona in a fruitless search for gold. While he never found riches, Coronado did make first contact with the Hopi and Zuni Indians, and he is considered the first white man to see the Grand Canyon.
No physical(?) trace of Coronado’s journey remains, but you can still experience the landscapes he witnessed as you take in the sweeping views of the San Pedro River Valley and the nearby U.S.— Mexico border.
Drive out to Montezuma Pass, a scenic overlook 6,575 feet above sea level. You’ll enjoy panoramic 360-degree views of the San Pedro River Valley and the San Rafael Valley. Get out of the sun with a tour of the colorful limestone formations in Coronado Cave.
If You Go:
Be on the lookout for bat-gates, a series of horizontal metal bars installed at many cave and mine entrances. The caves can be dangerous for people, so the gates keep them out, while allowing the bats to come and go freely.