Coronado Trail Scenic Byway is the name of a very exciting drive in the southeastern part of the U.S. state of Arizona. The road is chock-full of challenging switchbacks and hairpin turns. It’s said to have 460 curves. It's one of the highest roads of Arizona.
Where is the Coronado Trail Scenic Byway?
Part of the U.S. Route 191 (formerly Route 666 aka "The Devil's Highway"), the road runs from Apache County to Greenlee County, in the southeastern part of the U.S. state of Arizona, skirting the eastern edge of the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests. It’s totally paved. It was named after the Spanish explorer Francisco Vasquez de Coronado who explored this area in 1540 on a quest to find the Seven Cities of Cíbola.
How long is Coronado Trail Scenic Byway?
The road is 207km (129 miles) long, running from Springerville (in Apache County) to Clifton (in Greenlee County). The highway is the primary route to access Canyon de Chelly National Monument. Thrilling, scary and dramatic, but speedy it’s not.
Is Coronado Trail Scenic Byway challenging?
With 460 curves, the road is a true gem: narrow and winding, dipping from one curve to the next. The drive is spectacular and uncrowded. This is a dangerous mountain road with many sharp curves and little or no shoulders on steep cliffs. It’s one of the least traveled federal highways. This is a meandering, moseying, slow-motion drive. In many places the road has no shoulder, so not a good place for either novice or nervous drivers.
Is the Coronado Trail Scenic Byway open?
The road tops out at 2.860m (9,383ft) above the sea level 4 miles south of Hannagan Meadow, in Greenlee County across the steep and heavily wooded White Mountains. It’s usually open all year round, however it's common to encounter ice and snow along the route, in the winter as well as during the spring and fall shoulder seasons. Snow is not plowed from the road on weekends or at night in the winter. It’s the only up-land road on the district kept open during the winter when it’s plowed between the hours of 8:00 am and 5:00 pm—weekdays only.
How long does it take to drive the Coronado Trail Scenic Byway?
Plan about 4-5 hours to complete the drive. Remember it has many stops to get out and stretch and take photos. This is a good drive at any season of the year. It has it all: snowy mountains, grassy valleys, animals aplenty, driving excitement, and ridiculous views. Be sure and gas up in Alpine before heading out. There are no service stations along this stretch of road.