Joe's Canyon, Arizona

This is a three-mile trail beginning on Coronado Peak and ending at the Coronado National Memorial Ranger Station.

National Recreation Trail

Designated in 1981

• View more details for this trail
in the NRT Database

• Learn about the NRT Program.

Coronado National Memorial commemorates and interprets the significance of Francisco Vásquez de Coronado’s expedition and the resulting cultural influences of 16th-century Spanish colonial exploration in the Americas. The Memorial preserves and interprets the natural and human history of the area for the benefit and enjoyment of present and future generations.

With over eight miles of hiking trails, Coronado National Memorial is a great place to explore the outdoors. From grasslands and oak woodlands to piñon and juniper pine forests, the park offers a variety of experiences. Be sure to carry plenty of water and wear protection against the sun. With the exception of the Crest Trail, pets are not allowed on trails in the park and must be leashed at all times.

Joe's Canyon is one of the hiking trails at the Coronado National Memorial. The trail is a 6.2-mile out-and-back trail near Hereford, Arizona. Generally considered a moderately challenging route, it takes about four hours to complete. From the trailhead near the picnic area turn off 500 feet from the west of the visitor center, the trail climbs about 1000 feet in the first mile with scenic views of Montezuma Canyon and the San Pedro River Valley.

A steady series of switchbacks take you deeper into the canyon, steadily climbing higher as closer peaks in Joe’s Canyon begin to block out the more distant scenery. Rocky outcroppings burst out from the thickening oak forest on the opposite side of the canyon, gradually growing closer with each switchback until the trail resumes its westerly course. At the top of the canyon, the oak trees thin out on the north side while the south side becomes denser until they clear on the last remaining switchbacks. 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. The trail can also be done in reverse starting at Montezuma Pass via the Coronado Peak Trail.

This trail is great for hiking, and it's unlikely you'll encounter many other people while exploring. The best times to visit this trail are October through May.

photo credit: NPS
View from Joe's Canyon Trail looking to the East.

View from Joe's Canyon Trail looking to the East.

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