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Joe's Canyon Trail, AZ

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Guide 18 Triplogs  1 Topic
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Tucson > Sierra Vista
3.4 of 5 by 9
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Difficulty 3 of 5
Distance One Way 3.25 miles
Trailhead Elevation 5,279 feet
Elevation Gain 1,460 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,525 feet
Kokopelli Seeds 8.33
Backpack No
Dogs not allowed
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
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16  2018-07-13 DarthStiller
36  2016-04-02 DevilChild
13  2015-09-05
Montezuma Pass to Mexico
34  2015-02-16 winotron
8  2014-08-08 BenTelly
8  2013-12-02
Joe's Canyon Trail Huachuca Mountains
8  2012-03-28 MAVM
11  2012-03-23
Yaqui Ridge Trail
Page 1,  2
Author HAZ_Hikebot
author avatar Guides 16,882
Routes 16,052
Photos 24
Trips 1 map ( 6 miles )
Age 22 Male Gender
Location TrailDEX, HAZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Mar, Nov, Feb, Apr
Seasons   Autumn to Spring
Sun  6:06am - 6:24pm
Official Route
2 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Geology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
this is not teva canyon
by HAZ_Hikebot

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The trailhead is 500 feet west of the Visitor Center on Montezuma Canyon Road at the picnic area turnoff. The trail climbs about 1000 feet in the first mile with scenic views of Montezuma Canyon and the San Pedro River Valley. After reaching the saddle at the top of Smuggler's Ridge, the trail continues westward with southerly views deep into the grasslands of Sonora, Mexico. Passing along the northeastern side of Coronado Peak, it joins with the Coronado Peak Trail and Montezuma Pass parking area.

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2018-07-14 HAZ_Hikebot
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  • 100 Classic Hikes - 2007
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    100 Classic Hikes - 2007

One-Way Notice
This hike is listed as One-Way.

When hiking several trails on a single "hike", log it with a generic name that describes the hike. Then link the trails traveled, check out the example.
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

Most recent Triplog Reviews
Joe's Canyon Trail
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Joe's Canyon / Yaqui Ridge / Coronado Peak
This was an old hike but a memorable one so I figured it was time to post the route and triplog for it. I became intrigued with the National Park System's I Hike For Health Challenge and set out that day for a hardcore (for me) day trip. Leaving phoenix about 3:45 AM I arrived to Coronado National Memorial visitor's station about 8am to start my planned hike.

The plan: Start on Joe's Canyon trail head; hike to Yaqui Ridge junction then do an out and back on Yaqui Ridge; return to junction then hike up the steep side of Coronado Peak to the viewing station; hike down Coronado Peak to Montezuma Pass then return to the starting point back at the Joe's Canyon trail head. Oh and of course swing by the visitor station to retrieve my I Hike For Health pin.

I found the hike up Joe's Canyon very enjoyable with nice switchbacks and plenty of shade at the start that transitions to more switchbacks and less tree cover. Great views back towards the visitor's station and Montezuma Peak. Exiting the canyon places you on a generally level hike along the ridge towards the Yaqui junction.

Yaqui was a short out and back but worth it to see the start of the Arizona Trail and stand at the border. Total silence and absolute solitude at this point. Just me and relentless wind. The hike back up got my legs burning and my breath huffing while taking in wonderful borderland views.

Hiking up the South side of Coronado peak seemed questionable after start, the trail which seemed clear at the start quickly proved to be more of a trace through the grass and loose gravel. Worth it for the surprised looks on the faces of visitors at the viewing station to see me stumble up out of nowhere.

The hike down Coronado to Montezuma's Pass was very straightforward, made a quick stop to the registry and observed the highly militarized border patrol and forest service presence. Something only found in the Southern reaches of the state. Return to the visitor station to high five the ranger, get my pin, and grab some awesome books from the bookstore to start my long drive back to Phoenix with a giant smile on my face.
Joe's Canyon Trail
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Montezuma Pass to Mexico
Decided to add to my mileage on the day and visit another country. Easy trip down the hill. Didn't see anybody else, resident or alien, until JJ showed up just after I had begun to head back to the truck.

I spooked a deer who got stymied by the fence and then decided to charge straight at me down the trail. It took a second before I realized it was a deer and not something else, and I yelled "hey!" quite loudly! :o We were both startled, and it decided that charging me wasn't the best plan and hopped off into the long grass. A neat close-up experience. :)

On the way back up, JJ decided to hit the south side of Montezuma Peak, while I took Joe's around the east. Boy am I glad I did that! I saw an enormous bird in a dead tree, and despite being aware of my presence it seemed content to stay there. As I got to within 15 feet of it, it decided to fly off, but I was filming! I assumed it was some kind of eagle but I don't know my birds so I asked Outdoor Lover, and she opined that it is probably a juvenile bald eagle! I had no idea they didn't get their white markings until they get older!

I'd hesitate calling this guy juvenile anything! (I'd like to see that egg!) It stood over 2 feet tall when perched in the tree and had a wingspan greater than mine! Easily 5-6 feet! Just an awesome experience to see at such a close range! :y:

Video here: ... 4Lhg
Make sure to change settings to HD 1080p if it's not there to begin with and view full screen for the best effect.
Joe's Canyon Trail
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The last stop on our Southeast AZ weekend road trip, the Huachucas. My first time here. The drive in to Coronado National Memorial from Sierra Vista was beautiful (despite having a HUGE dog run in front our car and try to attack us while driving down Coronado Memorial Road!). It was overcast and threatening to rain when we got there, but it never did. It was warm, cold, cloudy, and sunny at different times during our hike. In other words, typical AZ weather! There were a few other cars in the parking lot.

We walked across the road, read the warning about smugglers, and started our hike. It started climbing pretty much right away, but it was pretty gentle. The whole hike was a steady but gentle incline, actually. The trail narrowly cut through chest-high grass as it climbed up through the canyon. There was a trickle of water in a few spots. The canyon was alive with birds. We didn't see any other hikers until a couple miles into the hike. Eventually we were out of the canyon and up on the grassy ridge, and the views all around us were awesome, especially to the S and SW into Mexico.

The trail then turned north and followed the ridge for a couple miles. This was my favorite part of the hike, as we had great views on all sides of us the whole time. We could see the top of the pass, our destination, in the distance. We came to the junction with the Yaqui Ridge Trail, where the sign let us know we were only 1 mile away from the US/Mexico border. We could see the border down below, and it was tempting to hike down there, but we didn't have the time nor the energy to do so today. We made it to the top of the pass, where there were several other people enjoying the views. You can drive the main road all the way up here, but where's the fun in that??

My girlfriend hung out at the pass for a bit while I backtracked slightly and headed up to Coronado Peak. The climb was a little steep, but it was very short. There were panoramic views of Mexico up there, and it was breathtaking. I was really glad I didn't skip this little spur trail. Went back down to the pass and met back up with my girlfriend, and we started heading back. We made great time back, as it was a gentle downhill the whole time. Didn't see any other hikers the whole way back... and only saw a handful of people the whole day.

This was a beautiful hike, and I couldn't think of a better way to end our weekend trip. I've been to several of the Southeast AZ sky islands now, and what surprises me most is how they all have a very different feel to them. I've loved them all. I can't wait to explore more of them. I could see the Dragoons from both of our major hikes this weekend, and they looked very inviting... :)
Joe's Canyon Trail
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Trailhead near to the Coronado National Memorial - A nice afternoon hike that is close to town and near to several better known trailheads. Trail & Parking lot @ the Coronado Memorial are extremely well maintained!

The vertical rise switchbacks ascending Joe's Canyon can find one in-and-out of shade if you begin the hike approaching mid-afternoon on a sunny day - a nice feature. Summer mornings will find this trail in full baking sun! Near to all of the coniferous tree stands in the canyon on the Coronado Memorial side of the trail survived the 2011 fires intact. Thus the canyon is lush and verdent; filled with song birds, the occasional raptor or gliding Turkey Vultures just returned from Central America at the time of this writing. Outstanding views of Montezuma Peak are also afforded from this side of the hike!

Upon meeting-up with the ridge - you'll find awesome views into Sonora await - opening up seemingly endless vistas to the south that span from horizon to horizon! :y: A dramatic contrast with the canyon portion of the hike. Running the spine toward the AZT is nearer to gliding after the bit of AEG you'll acrue to get there - well worth the effort. Montezuma Peak now shadows the route to the north. Run it out to the confluence of Joe's Canyon & Yaqui Trails where a nice set of boulders awaits. The return trip down is transcendent joy in my opinion... The overall avg. grade for this hike is 47.1%. GPS Route Available.
Joe's Canyon Trail
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Trailhead @ Montezuma Pass: Begin on AZT heading south toward the border. - Another nice hike that is close to town and near to several other trailheads. Trailhead parking lot is vast & extremely well maintained! It is nearly downhill all the way to Border Monument #102. Arizona Trail forks to become Yaqui Ridge Trail - upon the return route you can bag Coronado Peak by taking the - 5+ level scamble goat path - clearly visible as you approach. Descend on the marked Coronado Peak Trail to parking lot. The overall avg. grade for this hike is 57.4%. GPS Route Available.
Joe's Canyon Trail
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Long, Long, Long day... Up at 12:15 am home at 10:30 pm...but way worth it!

After dropping off Denny's car at the North TH, we made our way on the road to the South TH at Montezuma's Pass and the Mexican Border.
Wondering while driving Nick's 4x4 truck if Denny's fwd Focus would be able to make the 5 or so creek crossings. With a little luck, no rain, and 4 people to pick it up if it got stuck.... we waited until later on this portion of the trip.... Heck, that was 10 plus hours in the future and we had some hiking to do.

Border Patrol was prevalent on the road and especially at Montezuma's Pass.

We suited up and made our way down to the border for some border crossing shots (Camera). We were barely able to slip through the 3' gaping hole in the fence, but we did.
quickly taking pictures on the Mexican side, we scurried back up the hill beginning our AZT #1 Hike.

I'm really loving these sky Islands. Starting in lowers desert flora and making your way all the way to Aspens and water a-plenty. I enjoyed all the green, rivers, waterfalls, and fields of flowers. The river we had to cross 40 or so times became a little tiring after awhile.

GREAT hike with a great group of misfits!
(Remember the Christmas cartoon special "The Island of Misfit Toys"? Joe reminds me of that little dentist wanna-be dude)

Denny - Great AmphiFocus memories, I wish we had video of that!
Nick - forgive me for the fingernail marks in the Grab Strap and Dashboard
Dave - Say something special to the man for us (Especially Joe)
Joe - Can we go one trip without you diving in front of the Camera?

6 Passages, 118+ miles down.

Permit $$
no fees or permits reported

if incorrect tell us about it

Coronado Forest
MVUMs are rarely necessary to review unless mentioned in the description or directions
Coronado Motor Vehicle Use Maps (MVUMs)

Map Drive

To hike
From Phoenix or Tucson take I-10 east and exit south on Hwy. 90 to Sierra Vista, then south on Hwy. 92 to S. Coronado Memorial Drive. (From Bisbee, take Hwy 92 west). Follow S. Coronado Memorial Drive 5 miles to the Visitor Center.

Approx 3 hours & 40 minutes from Phoenix
2+ mi range whistle
blow it like you mean it
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