Coronado Trail National Scenic Byway
- DesignationNational Scenic Byway (2005)
- Intrinsic QualitiesScenic
- Length120 miles
Drive through high desert and forests, and see former Native American footpaths first used as horse paths by Conquistadors and prospectors, then as wagon trails for pioneers. While admiring the scenic beauty, imagine nomadic tribes of hunters, gatherers, trappers, outlaws, homesteaders, lumberjacks and ranchers living along the byway.
Story of the Byway
From the twin cities of Eager and Springerville to the twin cities of Clifton and Morenci, the route follows a trail used in 1540 by Spanish explorer Francisco Vasquez de Coronado as he looked for the fabled “Seven Cities of Cibola.”
Care should be taken as there are several sharp curves and steep drop-offs along this narrow road — in some cases, there are no guardrails, and in some areas, speeds may slow to 10 mph. But the view of the natural beauty of Arizona can be seen as well as wildlife along the route. South of the Hannagan Meadow Lodge as there are more than 100 species of fish and wildlife, including elk, mule deer, antelope, black bears, squirrels, bald eagles and 160 other kinds of birds. You will see great stands of aspens, oaks, maples, mountain ash, firs, spruce, and junipers.
Each season brings its own beauty to the area, in fall the colors are incredible, in spring the wildflowers are blooming, winter makes the area the state’s cross-country skiing mecca, and in the summer temperatures are cool.
From Payson, go east on State Route 260 for 87 miles to U.S. Route 60. Turn left onto U.S. 60 and continue 49 miles to Springerville. From Springerville, go south on U.S. Route 191 for 120 miles to Clifton.
Points of Interest
Sipe White Mountain Wildlife Area
See elk, osprey, and golden eagles
Swiss-like village with nearby spruce-fir forests
2011 Wallow Fire, especially Escudilla Mountain
See damage of the torched 550,000 acres of once-gorgeous forest. Firetower with panoramic views on Escudilla Mountain.
Hannagan Meadow Lodge
Only lodging along the route
Blue Range Primitive Area
See 3 rivers (Black, Blue, and San Francisco)
Blue Vista rest stop/edge of Mogollon Rim
On a clear day you can see forever.
Lunch in a Meadow
Starting in Eagar, head southeast toward Alpine for 2 miles, then drive 5 miles on Forest Road 57 to arrive in the Sipe White Mountain Wildlife Area. Stop in this spruce-fir forest to look for elk, ospreys and golden eagles. Continue south toward Alpine, a Swiss-like village settled in the late 1870s, where you can enjoy lunch. Fuel up before continuing south through Alpine where you’ll arrive to Hannagan Meadow. Check into the Hannagan Meadow Lodge—the only accommodation in the middle of the Apache National Forest. Settle into the remote scenery and select from any number of recreational activities surrounding the lodge in the Blue Range Primitive Area.
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