Montezuma Pass, view into Mexico
Coronado National Monument
East Montezuma Canyon Road is paved from Hwy. 92 to one mile west of the visitor center, then it is a narrow, unpaved mountain road to the scenic overlook and parking lot at Montezuma Pass. There is a 24-ft vehicle length limit. From the Pass it is possible to continue west into the Coronado National Forest to Parker Canyon Lake. The drive to the pass demands caution and care, but the view, encompassing Mexico on the south, the Huachucas and the San Rafael Valley on the west, and the San Pedro Valley on the east, is well worth the trip. Interpretive signs identify the various mountain ranges in view.
A narrow mountain road with numerous switchbacks will take you up Carr Canyon to the Reef townsite and Ramsey Vista campground. The Reef townsite was a mining camp active from the 1880s to the early 1900s when miners sought silver, gold and tungsten there. The town took its name from nearby Carr Reef, a band of quartzite cliffs running along the eastern side of the Huachuca mountains. After you have made the white-knuckle ride up the one-lane many-switchbacked road, you reach two relatively large level areas, Reef Townsite campground and Ramsey Vista campground. A short (3/4 mile) loop trail around the Reef campground guides visitors among old mining digs, a primitive water system, and the foundations of an ore mill. The elevation is 7200 feet. In the fall the drive up Carr Canyon can lead you to a view of the beautiful splashes of bright yellow formed by the forest of aspens high up the mountain. For more information call or visit the Sierra Vista District Office of the U.S. Forest Service, 5990 South Highway 92, Hereford, AZ (520) 378-0311. Season: spring, summer, fall
Chiricahua National Monument Scenic Drive
The 8-mile scenic Bonita Canyon drive climbs through oak-juniper and pine forests to Massai Point where an overlook offers breathtaking views of mountains, desert valleys and landmarks such as Sugarloaf Mountain and the Cochise Head formation. Pullouts along the way offer opportunities to take a closer look at rock formations, geologic features and exhibits.
Chiricahua Trail, AZ Hwy 80
The 50-mile stretch of Arizona Highway 80 from Douglas, Arizona, to Rodeo, New Mexico offers many opportunities to observe desert plants and wildlife. The Chihuahuan desert landscape features mesquite, yucca and creosote bush. Javelina and mule deer are seen in the hills and birds include kestrels, prairie falcons, and red-tailed hawks. Many reptiles inhabit the area including horned lizards, collared lizards, Mexican blackheaded snakes, and numerous species of rattlesnakes. The best season to see reptiles is in the warmer weather from April through September. The yucca plants display their beautiful waxy white flowers in late April and May.
Willcox-Dos Cabezas-Chiricahua National Monument
Route 186 southeast from Willcox travels through the scenic area south of the Dos Cabezas Mountains, past the historic Apache Pass area and the Fort Bowie National Historic Site. Further south it leads to the Chiricahua National Monument and Turkey Creek Road into the Chiricahua Wilderness.