Coronado National Forest
|Hang Gliding in Coronado National Forest (Les Siemens_Arizona Office of Tourism)|
Visitors to the forest participate in a broad spectrum of activities ranging from backpacking in the remote and rugged Galiuro Wilderness to riding a shuttle bus in scenic Sabino Canyon, adjacent to metropolitan Tuscon. Other recreational pursuits enjoyed on the Coronado include camping, picnicking, hiking, studying nature, rock climbing, winter sports, fishing, hunting, rockhounding, photography, birdwatching, and just plain enjoying the majestic scenery. Mountain bikers will enjoy the 15- to 20-mile Pinery Canyon Loop.
Points of Interest
Mount Lemmon: Recreation opportunities include skiing, camping, picnicking, fishing, hiking, and backpacking high among the cool pines. The Catalina Highway, a steep winding mountain road, provides access from northeastern Tucson to this popular area. For a super backpacking trip, the Santa Catalina Passage portion of the Arizona Trail leads you to the top of Mount Lemmon, from a Sonora desert ecosystem to one resembling southern Canada.
Sabino Canyon: The Sabino Canyon Visitor Center and Ranger station are located near the mouth of the canyon. The shuttle bus ride through this scenic canyon carries the visitor under towering cliffs and along a boulder-filled stream crossed by nine bridges. Stops along the route provide opportunities for picnicking, nature study, and hiking.
Madera Canyon: More than 200 species of birds visit this internationally renowned canyon, and each year thousands of birders see them among the oak juniper and sycamore along the stony creek. There are limited camping and picnicking facilities, plus trailhead access to Mt. Wrightson Wilderness.
Pena Blanca Lake: Fishing, boating, camping, and picnicking can be enjoyed at this 49-acre lake surrounded by oak and cottonwood trees and colorful bluffs. It is located just five miles north of the Mexican border and is open year-round.
Parker Canyon Lake: This popular spot near the Huachuca Mountains offers bluegill, bass, perch, trout, and catfish. Camping, boating, hiking, and picnicking can be enjoyed year-round at Lakeview Campground and associated facilities.
Mt. Graham: Campgrounds, miles of hiking trails, trout fishing in pine-bordered Riggs Flat Lake, and seasonal hunting for deer and bear can be found in this important recreation area. The Swift Trail, a paved road for about half of its length, provides good access except during winter months when it is closed due to snow.
Cochise Stronghold: Once an impenetrable natural fortress of the famous Apache leader, now a self-guided nature trail with various plants and objects of interest that can be enjoyed by the recreationist. Camping and picnicking facilities are available with trail access to spectacular rock formations at higher elevations.
Rucker Canyon: Rucker Lake offers camping, picnicking, and summertime fishing. No boating or swimming is allowed in the lake. There is trail access to the Chiricahua Wilderness.
Rustler Park: Rustler Park Campground is near a large meadow surrounded by cool pines at an elevation of 8,500 feet. Access is by way of a steep, winding, unpaved mountain road not recommended for trailers over 16 feet. A trailhead provides access to the Chiricahua Wilderness.
Cave Creek: This is one of the forest's best areas for birding. Many species of birds can be observed here, including the Elegant Trogon and many species of hummingbirds. Several camping and picnicking facilities are nestled in the bottom of this beautiful canyon.
All or portions of eight wilderness areas lie within the Coronado Forest. The wilderness areas are Chiricahua, Galiuro, Miller Peak, Mt. Wrightson, Pajarita, Pusch Ridge, Rincon Mountain, and Santa Teresa.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication