Francisco Vasquez de Coronado's 1540-42 expedition entered what is now the United States in the valley East of Coronado National Memorial. This National Park Service memorial
commemorates the Spanish Entrada, interprets the significance of historical events, and interprets the natural environment in this area where the Sonoran and Chihuhuan deserts meet.
Three miles west of the visitor center, accessible
by a winding mountain road, is the scenic overlook at Montezuma Pass. This site provides views of the San Raphael Valley to the west, the San Pedro Valley to the east, and Mexico to the south. Montezuma pass is also the trailhead for the southern terminus of the great Arizona Trail.
Center - As a Memorial, there are few tangible artifacts or relics of Coronado's expedition within the park. Cultural interpretation is based on appropriate displays such as paintings depicting the expedition, authentic armor and weaponry, crafts, and interpretive text explaining the importance of the Spanish impact on the cultures of the region.
There is a nine-minute video on the history of the expedition, as well as a hands-on display of 16th century clothing and armor for visitors to handle, and try on. On special occasions, Park Service Volunteers don the costumes for reenactments and interpretation of historical events.
-Coronado Cave is located 0.75 mile from the Visitor Center up a moderately steep trail. A permit, free of charge, must be obtained at the Visitor Center before hiking to the cave. The cave is approximately 600 feet in length, 20 feet high and 70 feet wide with several crawl ways and passages, none of which is very extensive. Enclosed within Coronado Cave can be found a beautiful range of formations, including stalactites, stalagmites, flowstones and helictites.
-The picnic area, located near the visitor center, is open during daylight hours only. There are 25 sites located beneath the trees, two ramadas, and several water faucets and fountains. Outdoor grills are provided for cooking fires.
Trails - Several hiking trails are available including
the Coronado Peak Trail, Coronado Cave Trail, Joe's Canyon Trail,
Yaqui Ridge Trail, Crest Trail, and the Arizona Trail.
From Phoenix or Tucson take I-10 east and exit south on Hwy. 90 to Sierra Vista, then south on Hwy. 92 to S. Coronado Memorial Drive. (From Bisbee, take Hwy 92 west). Follow S. Coronado Memorial Drive 5 miles to the Visitor Center.