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...