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Coronado Trail Scenic Byway

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Ride Stats:

  • Distance: 109 miles / 175.4 km
  • Ride Time: 4-6 hours
  • Approximate Fuel Costs: $8.28
  • State: Arizona
Submitted by:
OpenRoadRider pro


Seeking the riches of the legendary Seven Cities of Cibola, Spanish explorer Francisco Vasquez de Coronado's 1540 route ran close to this scenic Byway. Today's riches along this Byway are of a different nature -- vistas stretching for miles on end and an abundance of varied recreational opportunities and wildlife. Travel on the only road that had its name changed by the Bible. Only two years ago US 191 was US 666 and nicknamed 'The Devil's Highway.' But don't let that deter you.

If you are into history and graveyards, stop by the remnant of the Stargo Cemetery, with burials dating back to the 19th Century and make charcoal rubbings of the dates and names. History is prominent along this highway, and the remnants of an ancient rock house can be seen before entering the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest. You'll encounter switchbacks that contributed to the Coronado Trail being the least traveled federal highway. When the road was first proposed in 1916, an old cowboy said 'There ain't even a good horse trail.' Now hundreds of visitors travel the road every year.


Along the way you'll see the 'Arrow Tree,' where hundreds of archers fired arrows into the old wood. If you just happen to have a bow and arrow on you, try to find an empty space to make your own mark. Park your car at Hannagan Lodge and put on your walking shoes to traverse one of the many trails crisscrossing the area. Or try trail riding or mountain biking for a change of pace. Several trailheads lead to the 174,000 acre Blue Range Primitive Area, the last remaining USFS primitive area at Hannagan's Meadow.


Near the community of Alpine are numerous streams for fishing and lakes for swimming. Rest your feet in the cool waters or make a day of it by bringing your fishing pole to catch your meal for dinner. If you didn't get enough hiking along Hannagan Meadow, this area offers prime high country hiking. As you enter Round Valley, you'll see the Northern gateway towns of Springerville and Eagar. Here you'll find several pioneer era museums, two Pre-Columbian Indian Pueblos and complete visitor services.

A favorite of motorcyclists and driving enthusiasts, the Coronado Trail Scenic Byway is an adventure of switchbacks, steep grades, and hairpin turns and is known as one of the best driving roads in the nation.

In some parts of the road, drivers may not travel at more than 10 to 15 miles an hour. The road is steep and winding, and many sharp curves lack guardrails.

With travel primarily through mountain ranges and passes with elevations as high as 9,148 feet, travel at night and weekends during winter storms is ill advised but not prohibited. Plows are stationed near each end of the Coronado Trail for seasonal snow storms and the occasional rock slide.

The majority of the Coronado Trail Byway is open range (no fences). Big Horn sheep, mule deer, white-tail deer, elk, javelina, cattle, the occasional bobcat, black bear, wolf & mountain lion may be seen along or crossing the highway. Motorists traveling the higher speed sections should use caution.

The average daily travel for the heart of the byway is less than 100 cars per day although fall color and hunting season visits increase fourfold.

Over 400 Switchbacks!

Information was obtained by permission from www.byways.org.

This is a motorcycle ride in the state of Arizona. This motorcycle route has 7 scenery characteristics and other road conditions to help you plan your road trip. This motorcycle map was created by OpenRoadRider in February. Click here to see other Motorcycle Roads by OpenRoadRider

Rider Photos:

  • Motorcycle Ride Picture 1 for Coronado Trail Scenic Byway
  • Motorcycle Ride Picture 2 for Coronado Trail Scenic Byway
  • Motorcycle Ride Picture 3 for Coronado Trail Scenic Byway
  • Motorcycle Ride Picture 4 for Coronado Trail Scenic Byway
  • Motorcycle Ride Picture 5 for Coronado Trail Scenic Byway

Ride Scenery:

Historic SitesParksFall ColorsLakesForestMountainsRural

Best Time to Go

Spring, Fall

Road Characteristics:

Sweeping Curves RoadTwisty RoadHilly

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Previous Comments from other Riders:

DesertWildman says:

This route and it's scenery is phenomenal. Caution is advised, as the old Devil's Highway is not forgiving of either inattention or hot dogging riders.

Cliffs on one side, sheer drops, often with little or no guardrail protection - of course we know guardrails are nothing to a biker.

A great side trip is to detour out of Alpine over to Reserve, NM, or if you want to do a round trip, you could loop at the southern end and return up the NM side to Reserve, then back to Alpine.

Summer temps are gentle and cool until you get to the southern end where triple digit readings on the thermometer are not unheard of.

Take your time and stop a lot. Cameras are mandatory.

LLHR

Sun Feb 2, 2014 at 6:55 PM

akanawa says:

Drove all the way from El Paso just to ride this, one of the best motorcycle trips I've ever taken.
Fri Jan 11, 2013 at 9:10 AM

bdking says:

The best motorcycle road in all the states I've ridden
Fri Jan 11, 2013 at 9:10 AM

jfk22 says:

This is the best motorcycle road in AZ.
Fri Jan 11, 2013 at 9:09 AM

Warrengrand says:

I have to say I enjoyed this route even more than Durango Co. to Ouray. The mountain scenery is certainly more breathtaking in Colorado, but the endless twist and turns on this route will keep a smile plastered on your face long after the ride is over. May be the best kept secret around. Picture the Dragon's Tail many miles longer without the Cops and traffic.
WOW!!!
BTW, I would suggest staying in Alpine AZ.
Don't forget to eat at the Bear Wallow Cafe.
Fri Jan 11, 2013 at 9:09 AM






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