Coronado National Memorial

Written by on September 23, 2012 in AZ History & Heritage - Comments Off on Coronado National Memorial

In 1540, Francisco Vazquez de Coronado set out on a two-year expedition to find the Seven Cities of Cibola (the seven cities of gold) rumored to lie to the north of the New Spain frontier. His expedition, which covered northern Mexico, much of the Southwestern United States, and the Great Plains, was one of the outstanding achievements of a period marked by notable explorations. It made known the vast extent and the nature of the country that lay north of central Mexico. The Spanish never lost their curiosity about what Coronado had seen and their subsequent occupation of the land was due to the findings of that expedition. The Spanish had a distinct hand in shaping the Southwest as they brought their culture, beliefs, history and heritage to the region.

Coronado National Memorial commemorates and interprets the significance of Francisco Vasquez 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.

Located at the south end of the ragged Huachuca Mountains, the memorial overlooks the San Pedro River Valley. Filled with water year around, the river is a vital source of life in this Sonoran Desert terrain. Guests will find great hiking along the river, through canyons and woodlands, as well as up Coronado Peak. Bird and animal watching are also favorite pastimes in the park. Many Lesser Long-nosed bats use the natural limestone caves and cave-like mines in Coronado National Memorial as their homes for part of the year.

Coronado Cave is a definite fun stop on the Cave Trailhead (a moderately steep trail). The cave is 600 feet in length, with several attractive cave decorations. The cave has been called by several names including Montezuma’s Treasure Vault and Geronimo’s Cave. Legends claim that it was used by the Apaches as a hide-out when being pursued by the U.S. Army and in the late 1800s it was not uncommon to find arrowheads in the cave.

Other attractions in the area include:
Chiricahua National Monument
Kartchner Caverns State Park
Saguaro National Park
Top 10 Things To Do In Tucson

Coronado National Memorial
4101 East Montezuma Canyon Road
Hereford, AZ 85615
Phone: 520-366-5515

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