Location

  • Mexico Border to Parker Canyon Lake Trailhead.

Length

  • 20.8 miles

Southern Terminus: Mexico Border

  • GPS Coordinates: 31.33367° N, 110.28276° W
  • NOTE: This trailhead is not directly accessible by vehicles. Montezuma Pass is 1.75 miles north at 31.35112° N, 110.28527° W and is the nearest practical access.

Access

This passage is unique because you must start at mile 1.8 at Montezuma Pass and hike south in order to get to the beginning of the passage. To reach Montezuma Pass from the town of Sonoita, follow AZ 83 south 30 miles to its intersection with FR 48. Turn left (south) onto FR 48 and continue 5.4 miles to FR 61. Continue east 8.8 miles on a rough dirt road to a large parking area at the summit of the pass.
From Sierra Vista, travel 14 miles south on AZ 92 and turn right (south) on S. Coronado Memorial Road. Continue 8.3 miles, generally south and west, to the large parking area at the summit of the pass. Shortly after you pass the Coronado Memorial Visitor Center, the road turns to dirt and climbs to the pass via switchbacks. This road is narrow and curvy and is subject to vehicle trailer restrictions (24 ft.). Contact the Coronado National Memorial for more information.


Northern Trailhead: Parker Canyon Lake Trailhead

  • GPS Coordinates: 31.41946° N, 110.44206° W
  • Access: From the town of Sonoita, follow AZ 83 south 30 miles to its intersection with FR 48. Turn left (south) onto FR 48, continue 0.5 miles, and turn right onto South Lake Drive. Proceed 0.5 miles and follow signs to a dirt parking area near the AZT kiosk.

Trail Route Description

From Montezuma Pass use the hiker-only access to the southern start of the AZ Trail by taking the Coronado Peak Trail (500 ft.), then Joe’s Canyon Trail to the Yaqui Ridge Trail, which descends steeply to the Mexican border and ends at an international boundary marker. Returning to Montezuma Pass the route takes the Crest Trail (#103) from the Coronado National Memorial up into the Miller Peak Wilderness. After this steep and strenuous ascent, the trail keeps going up as it passes a junction with the Lutz Canyon Trail (#104) and soon reaches the Miller Peak Spur Trail (#105). After passing the spur, the trail follows a ridgeline over to Tub Spring (some maps show as Bathtub Spring), then almost immediately goes left and uphill at the signed Miller Canyon (#106)/Crest Trail junction and left and uphill again at the signed Carr Peak (#107)/Crest Trail junction. The trail continues past the Oversite Canyon Trail (#112) junction, past Bear Saddle and Granite Peak, and then goes left at the signed junction with the Sunnyside Canyon Trail (#117) near Pat Scott Peak. It follows this trail down into Sunnyside Canyon, passes the Copper Glance Trail junction, and runs downstream to the wilderness boundary. Here it joins a dirt road (FR 4758) for a short distance and then turns right at the AZT sign onto the Scotia Canyon Trail (#127). It crosses FR 4759, then turns south into Scotia Canyon and works its way down to FR 48. After crossing this road the trail turns west and reaches the Parker Canyon Lake Trailhead on FR 194 with a parking lot just north along FR 194 overlooking Parker Canyon Lake.


Difficulty

  • Moderate to Difficult.

Season(s)


Water

Water should be found at Tub Spring (aka Bathtub Spring) and Parker Canyon Lake (seasonal store; always lake). Seasonal water may be present in Sunnyside and Scotia Canyons.


Notes/Warnings

  • This area can be hot and dry. Bring plenty of water. All water along this passage should be purified prior to use.
  • Most of this passage is located within the Miller Peak Wilderness and Coronado National Memorial. Motorized and mechanized vehicles and equipment, including mountain bikes, are not permitted on the Memorial’s trails nor in the Wilderness.
  • Transportation is available from the Tucson airport to the Coronado National Memorial Visitor’s Center and Montezuma Pass from a variety of shuttle operators. Please visit the Shuttles page for more information.
  • Before using this trail, call for a report on current trail conditions which can vary with season, weather and maintenance status.
  • Dogs are not allowed on the southernmost 1.8 miles of the Arizona Trail within Coronado National Memorial (Coronado Peak, Joe’s Canyon and Yaqui Ridge Trails).
  • Overnight parking is allowed at Montezuma Pass as long as the driver does not occupy the vehicle overnight (no car camping).
  • For long-term parking, please contact Sierra Vista Self Storage (520-458-4400). They offer secure parking not far from the AZT’s southern terminus for $40/month.
  • Horses are not allowed on the southernmost 1.8 miles of the Arizona Trail within Coronado National Memorial (Coronado Peak, Joe’s Canyon and Yaqui Ridge Trails), however a special permit for thru-riders can be arranged. Please contact Park Staff to learn more.

Resources


For more information


Current Passage Info

Biden’s Immigration Promises Bring Disappointment, Negotiations And Accusations

KJZZ (April 26, 2021) by Michel Marizco There’s arguably no more divisive infrastructure project in the U.S. right now than this border wall I’m standing in the shadow of. I’m here with Kate Scott of the Madrean Archipelago wildlife center in Arizona’s Cochise County. We’re in the Pajarito Mountains west of Nogales where most of the work stopped on the border shortly after President Joe Biden took office. Border wall contractors left behind a mess in the middle of Coronado National Forest land. "Road construction done in a way without regard for the land," Scott says as we stand on the edge of a steep cliff, observing the chaotic junk pile left in the wall construction's wake. The dirt road leading up to the border was widened, the remnants of cliffs bulldozed over the side. Pieces of old vehicle barrier were pushed into canyons. Other heavy, broken pieces were left on ledges and used to form a welded together gate blocking access to the remainder of the border road. Broken and flattened culvert pipe scattered across the grasslands. "And everywhere that this was done, there has been created what I simply call mine tailings," Scott said. Under former President Donald Trump,...

Crews rescue woman who broke leg while hiking on Arizona Trail

WANE-TV (March 25, 2021) by Fernie Ortiz Rescue crews plucked a woman from the rugged Huachuca Mountains of southeastern Arizona after she broke a leg while hiking alone, according to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection news release. The Cochise County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue team requested air support to get the woman to safety after she became stranded on a hiking trail that was over 7,500 feet in elevation on Monday afternoon. Initially, an Arizona Department of Public Safety helicopter responded to assist, but there was no accessible landing zone in the mountainous terrain and dense forest. Additionally, 40 MPH winds made any landing impossible, the release said. Deputies then called agents with CBP’s Air and Marine Operations Tucson Air Branch, who responded in a UH60 Black Hawk equipped with a rescue hoist. The Black Hawk crew located the woman and crews on the ground and lowered an AMO Aviation Enforcement Agent Emergency Medical Technician to the mountain below. Video released by CPB shows the agent being lowered and contacting the local search and rescue team before they strap the hiker to a stretcher and hoist her up to the hovering helicopter. The Black Hawk crew stabilized the hiker...

Después de Donald Trump, un muro fronterizo inconcluso y aún polémico

New York Times en Español (16 de marzo de 2021) Por Simon Romero y Zolan Kanno-Youngs La prisa para construirlo duró hasta el último día del mandato del expresidente. El esfuerzo dejó secciones raras e incompletas de una barrera cuyo destino está ahora en manos del presidente Biden. Durante mucho tiempo, los excursionistas que completaban el Sendero de Arizona, una ruta de 1287 kilómetros que atraviesa desiertos, cañones y bosques, eran recompensados con una extensa vista de la naturaleza virgen en la frontera con México. Sin embargo, hace unas semanas, algo más resaltaba en este lugar tan inhóspito de las montañas Huachuca: un segmento solitario del muro fronterizo, que no está conectado a nada, en una zona en la que los inmigrantes rara vez intentan cruzar a Estados Unidos. “Allí estaba, este pedazo inacabado de muro completamente inútil, justo en este lugar mágico”, dijo Julia Sheehan, de 31 años, enfermera y exmecánica de la Fuerza Aérea, que llegó caminando hasta el lugar con otros tres veteranos militares que recorren el Sendero de Arizona. “Es una de las cosas más absurdas que he visto jamás”. El fragmento de muro de 400 metros forma parte de una serie de nuevos segmentos de barrera que hay lo largo de la...

Trump’s Incomplete Border Wall Is in Pieces That Could Linger for Decades

New York Times (March 16, 2021) by Simon Romero and Zolan Kanno-Youngs  A last-minute rush to build lasted through Donald J. Trump’s last day in office. The effort left odd, partially completed sections of a barrier whose fate President Biden must now determine. The sweeping view of undefiled wilderness on the border with Mexico long rewarded hikers who completed the Arizona Trail, an 800-mile route winding through deserts, canyons and forests. Then something else came into focus a few weeks ago at the forbidding site in the Huachuca Mountains: a lonely segment of border wall, connected to nothing at all, in an area where migrants rarely even try to cross into the United States. “There it was, this unfinished piece of completely pointless wall, right in this magical place,” said Julia Sheehan, 31, a nurse and former Air Force mechanic who trekked to the site with three other military veterans who are hiking the Arizona Trail. “It’s one of the most senseless things I’ve ever seen.” The quarter-mile fragment of wall is part of an array of new barrier segments along the border, some of them bizarre in appearance and of no apparent utility, that contractors rushed to build in the waning days of the Trump...
Border Wall & Southern Terminus Closure Update

Border Wall & Southern Terminus Closure Update

The southern mile of the Arizona Trail and the southern terminus remain closed and off limits to the public. The trail and terminus have been closed since border wall construction began in July of 2020. A total of 1,250 feet of cement-filled steel barriers have been installed near Border Monument #102. Although President Biden's Proclamation on January 20, 2021 terminated the national emergency on the southern border and ordered a 60-day pause in border construction projects, Coronado National Memorial has determined the area remains unsafe to the general public. Open trenches, unstable soils from blasting, and abandoned construction activities present hazards not commonly found in the backcountry. In addition, barbed wire fences along the international border that were removed to make way for steel barriers have not been replaced. Information on this closure is posted at Montezuma Pass, and on the Coronado National Memorial website, and on the Arizona Trail where Yaqui Ridge Trail intersects Joe's Canyon Trail. Please obey the closure order until the area can be stabilized and safely reopened. Thru-hikers are encouraged to either start at the Coronado National Memorial Visitor Center and hike up Joe's Canyon Trail to the AZT, then head north. Another option is...
Thinking of Thru-Hiking or Thru-Riding the Arizona Trail This Year?

Thinking of Thru-Hiking or Thru-Riding the Arizona Trail This Year?

Summertime is when hundreds of hikers, mountain bikers and equestrians are planning the logistics of a long-distance trip on the Arizona National Scenic Trail (AZT). Especially since many individuals canceled their springtime AZT adventures due to COVID-19, the Arizona Trail Association (ATA) has been anticipating the busiest autumn in history. However, Arizona’s intense wildfire season – with three major wildfires burning more than 100 miles of the AZT – and a recent spike in Arizona’s COVID-19 cases has led the ATA to discourage thru-hiking and thru-riding this year. We know how disappointing this is going to be for so many people. A southbound hike or ride from Utah to Mexico along the AZT is the adventure of a lifetime, and normally we would be encouraging everyone to use these uncertain times to hit the trail. But widespread trail closures with no safe or reasonable detours combined with Arizona becoming a global hot spot for the novel coronavirus has created an unsafe situation for “thrus” in 2020. In southern Arizona, the Bighorn Fire burned 120,000 acres on the Coronado National Forest, including AZT Passages 10, 11 and 12 through the Santa Catalina Mountains, as well as the Pusch Ridge Wilderness Bypass....

Temporary Trail Closure due to Border Wall Construction

Temporary Trail Closure Due to a large Homeland Security based construction project along the US-Mexico border, the National Park Service is implementing public use closure at Coronado National Memorial, effective at 0001 hours on December 1, 2019. Pursuant to the authority contained in the 16 United States Code 3, and Title 36 of the Code of Federal Regulations, sections 1.5 (a)(1), the following acts are prohibited within Coronado National Memorial. PROHIBITIONS: All visitor use, including driving, walking, and any access inside the described area. The closure will exclude all entry from the border fence and related project areas for public safety. See map for closure area. AREA DESCRIBED: This closure includes areas within Coronado National Memorial. The area south of the main park road from the east entrance to the picnic area. South of the picnic area, along the area south of Joe's Canyon trail, to the Yaqui Ridge trail south to the US-Mexico International Border. The trails, main park road, picnic area, and Montezuma Pass will remain open. Only areas south of the main park road, picnic area, will be closed to all foot, and vehicle entry for the duration of the construction project. PURPOSE: The purpose of this...
Arizona Trail Closed For Border Wall Construction Within Coronado National Memorial

Arizona Trail Closed For Border Wall Construction Within Coronado National Memorial

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced their plans today to construct two miles of border barriers through the Huachuca Mountains within Coronado National Memorial and across the Arizona National Scenic Trail. Beginning Monday, July 13 the southernmost two miles of the Trail will be closed in the interest of public safety during construction activities. Click here to send a pre-formatted message to your Congressional representatives. This project will significantly impact the southern terminus of the Arizona National Scenic Trail, transform the landscape, and forever alter the Arizona Trail experience. The border barrier project includes 30-foot-tall steel barriers filled with concrete, the installation of a linear ground detection system, and the installation of lighting, which will be supported by grid power and embedded cameras. In addition to a 100-foot-wide road along the border wall which will be frequently driven by Border Patrol agents, CBP will also build an access road down Yaqui Ridge that will be within 50 feet of the Arizona Trail. “The southern terminus of the Arizona National Scenic Trail is one of the most significant locations along the entire 800-mile trail,” said ATA Executive Director Matthew Nelson. “This is where the Arizona Trail begins, and where the dream...

Be Alert at Junctions

Trail users should be alert at all trail junctions as signs may be occasionally damaged by bears, wildfires, or winter weather. South to north hikers must go left (not straight) at the Carr Peak Trail junction to follow the AZT.

Use Caution

The AZT along the AZ/Mexico border continues to be impacted by people crossing illegally into the United States. Many new side trails are being created by dispersed foot traffic and AZT users should avoid mistakenly taking these trails intersecting the Arizona Trail (sometimes the AZT is less distinct than these foot paths). Trail users may meet immigrants along this passage, especially near water sources, and although no negative incidents have ever been reported by AZT users, caution should be exercised when hiking and camping in the Huachuca Mountains. It is recommended to camp as far away from the trail as possible.

Flickr Photos

Photos from the Arizona Trail Association’s Flickr galleries, for this specific passage. View the entire Flickr account.

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