The Coronado Trail in Arizona

Hannagan Meadow just off AZ 191

The Coronado Trail, also known as U.S. Route 191 and the Devil’s Highway (it used to be numbered 666), is a scenic highway that winds through the beautiful landscapes of eastern Arizona. This road trip offers travelers breathtaking views of the White Mountains and the Mogollon Rim, as well as the opportunity to experience the diverse terrain and small towns along the way. We made our trip during the fall to view the Aspen trees scattered throughout the mountains.

Here’s what you can expect on a Coronado Trail road trip in Arizona:

  1. Start in Clifton or Alpine: The Coronado Trail spans approximately 123 miles (198 kilometers) from Clifton to Alpine, or vice versa. You can choose to start your journey in either town.
  2. Spectacular Mountain Scenery: As you drive along the Coronado Trail, you’ll be treated to stunning vistas of rugged mountains, lush forests, and deep canyons. The road climbs to over 9,000 feet (2,700 meters) in elevation, providing panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.
  3. Mogollon Rim: The road takes you along the edge of the Mogollon Rim, a geological feature that marks the southern boundary of the Colorado Plateau. The views from the Rim are simply awe-inspiring.
  4. Outdoor Recreation: The Coronado Trail passes through the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest, offering plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, and fishing.
  5. Hannagan Meadow: This picturesque spot along the route is a great place to stop and take in the natural beauty of the area. There’s a lodge here, making it a possible overnight stop.
  6. Small Town Charm: Along the way, you’ll pass through several small towns and communities, each with its own unique character and history. Alpine, Eagar, and Springerville are among the charming towns you may encounter.
  7. Wildlife Sightings: Keep an eye out for wildlife, as the region is home to a variety of animals, including elk, deer, and various bird species.
  8. Photography Opportunities: The Coronado Trail offers numerous spots for photography enthusiasts to capture the breathtaking landscapes and scenic vistas.
  9. Seasonal Considerations: Keep in mind that weather conditions can vary greatly depending on the time of year. In winter, the road may experience closures or require tire chains due to snowfall, so plan your trip accordingly.

The Coronado Trail road trip is perfect for those seeking adventure, natural beauty, and a break from the hustle and bustle of city life. Remember to plan your journey carefully, especially if you want to make stops along the way or stay overnight in any of the charming towns along the route. Enjoy the scenic drive and the unique charm of eastern Arizona!

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