Where are we now?
K&N RV Park, Huachuca City, AZ
Oh, this is another exiting adventure trip we had planned. From Sierra Vista we drove south along AZ-92 past Hereford and then south along the Coronado Memorial Road, which in turn becomes the West Montezuma Canyon Road an all paved road all the way past a mile of the Coronado National Memorial. Noticing the sign to the Entrance of the Coronado State Park we drove the short distance to the Memorial and Visitor Center passing an in the bushes hiding Humvee with telescoping camera mast of the Border Patrol. Maps inside the Visitor Center display the history of the area as well as a model of the mountains. We obtained permission to visit the cave and informed the park ranger that we would be leaving our dogs in the truck (of course with open windows) for the duration.
A short drive from the Visitor Center is the cave trail parking lot from where the trailhead starts. It is described as a moderately steep trail to head up to the cave. However, we felt that this ¾ of a mile of steep, switchback, gravel and rock path was longer and steeper than advertised and we were glad when we got to the cave entrance at an altitude of 5700ft. panting and had to catch our breath. Not an easy way to start an adventure J
The entrance to the cave is pretty small and you had to bend down to climb over large boulders quite a steep 30 ft. down to get to a more level path for walking. It is pitch black inside but we came saddled up with several flashlights, I also had a headlamp, walking sticks, and we were wearing our (Tactical Desert Storm) sensible hiking boots. What we didn’t bring, were gloves, so our hands, we noticed later, were quite dusty when we emerged after our tour inside.
The Coronado Cave is also called: Montezuma’s Treasure Vault, and Geronimo’s Cave. Legends claim that the Apaches used it as a hideout when being pursued by the U.S. Army.
We dared a few tight passages down there but I chickened out when it came to crawl ways and deep holes where I could not see where it would lead. There were stalagmites and stalactites we discovered when shining our flashlights around, but it was pheanomal and also very, very dusty in there. Benno was trying to position himself onto a tall rock some 8 ft. up for a photo op, but slipped on the dust and came down in a not planned hurry, hitting the deck. Luckily he was not hurt.
Once we got back down to the parking spot where our two Dachshunds had been patiently waiting, we ate our packed lunch at the provided picnic table and then took the tour along the part wise paved and further on packed gravel road to the Montezuma’s Pass and Observation Point.
The drive is absolutely beautiful! The road up to the Montezuma Mountain Pass brings you to the Observation Point at an altitude of 6575 ft. This road is for the most part a narrow, gravel road with many, many switchbacks where our truck was hugging the mountain in the curves. I would say it is not for the “faint of heart” and if you don’t like heights, do not look out of your side window.
Once we parked at the Observation Point parking lot where you have fantastic views of the surrounding mountains and valleys, we climbed up yet another footpath to the peak. What a view, you could look deep into Mexico and as well make out the famous fence!
At the Observation Point, Border Patrol had up to 2010 a Humvee with telescoping camera mast parked to view illegal border traffic, but in 2010 a border fence was built there and it stemmed the illegal traffic. Right after this they replaced the Humvee with a stationary tower and were able to operate the cameras remotely.
From the observation parking lot we followed the West Montezuma Canyon Road along the western sloop of the Huachuca Mountain Range, which is for the most part a wash-boarded, gravel path downhill that let us to Parker Lake, which we had visited in the past. Along we noticed a few more stationary Border Patrol camera towers positioned on high points. It is known that there on this western sloop of the Huachuca Mountain Range all the way to Parker Lake there are Black Bears, Mountain Lions, even Leopard (they come over the border from Mexico) and plenty of Cattle. Overall a super trip I would highly recommend.
Thanks for visiting and stay tuned for my post about our trip to Ramsey Canyon.