Joes Canyon Trail is a 3.3 mile lightly trafficked point-to-point trail located near Hereford, AZ that offers the chance to see wildlife. The trail is rated as moderate and primarily used for hiking and trail running.
This is a three mile trail with two trailheads: one at Coronado Peak and the other at the Coronado National Memorial Ranger Station. Steep uphill rising almost 1000 feet in the first mile, but the rest is easy and will reward with incredible views. This is a three mile trail beginning on Coronado Peak and ending at the Coronado National Memorial Ranger Station. It is mostly downhill and skirts around hilltops on the edge of the canyon for a smooth descent. The only problem is getting back to your vehicle!
Me and my wife made this hike on 12-19 while spending an evening in Bisbee. It was the most remarkable part of the trip!! I truly loved it. Beautiful views of Mexico and the trail was well maintained. Met up with some fellow hikers who were friendly. I highly recommend it for anyone looking for a new trail to explore. Well worth it!!!
This trail is bipolar with scenic views along the way to keep you hoping it'll become even keel along the way. It took me about 2 hours to complete this hike with a total distance of approximately 6.4 from the ranger station to the peak and back (I cut off a bit of trail just beneath the peak to take a more direct route to the top but descended the more legit trail). The first mile and a quarter were full of frantic switch backs, finally leveling along a ridge line that again rose up to the Coronado Peak. Somewhere around the middle of the trail is the trail head to the Yaqui Trail, which goes down to the Southern Terminus of the Arizona trail, which is a border monument. Overall, this trail is easy with some portions being moderately strenuous. The vistas along the way are worth the sweat. The Yaqui trail spur is worth taking to be able to visit Mexico sans passport.
I've been street level with a thug before, but never eye level with a vulture. When I began hiking up Joe's Canyon Trail this morning, that all changed. I'm not sure if it was tracking me and hopefully waiting for me to die, or if it was tracking something else, but it spent a good deal of time with me as I ascended 1500 feet on the thin winding trail up Smuggler's Ridge to Yaqui Ridge, then to Montezuma Pass. At times it was below me, coming within a few arm's lengths. I tried to snap a photo with my cell phone, but the phone isn't a camera but rather my social media communication device. If I'd only had my wife's Nikon. Maybe next time.
I was eager to make the hike because I had brand new Altra Superior 1.5s. I felt a little achy this morning and had already made excuses not to go. But then my desire to get out of the house and embrace nature kicked in. And did I get nature. It was beautiful. From the views of Montezuma and San Rafael Valleys to the bubbling spring fed streams, to the rocks, to the wide sweeping expanses of desert that WASN'T Afghanistan, this was just what I needed.
I had trouble finding the lower trail head. I knew it was supposed to be at a Ranger Station, so I drove all the way up to the pass looking for it. I saw the upper trail head. I could have taken that, but with just me and only one car that meant I would have had to run down and walk up, instead of walking up and running down. So once I got back down the mountain I saw a side road to a picnic area and asked a border patrol agent who was fitted out in tactical field gear.
He knew and I was on the trail within moments after that.
The first mile is steep but on a well-maintained path with enough switchbacks to help you rise 1000 feet in that first mile. About half a mile in I heard water and soon was greeted with a microclimate of evergreens and a bubbling brook with waterfalls. How awesome!
About a mile and a half in I saw the saddle for Smuggler's Ridge covered in golden wheat against a blue sky. Extraordinary. I took a wrong turn near the top. The trail splits and it's not marked. Had I continued on what must have been the Yaqui trail for a mile, I would have been in Mexico. But I backtracked and soon found myself at Montezuma Pass.
Wow. To think that Francisco Vasquez de Coronado brought conquistadors through this very spot in 1540 looking for the fabled Seven Cities of Cibola. That's some history for you.
I spent ten minutes on the top, adjusting my shoes and getting a lot of water. I'd brought a pack with a camelbak, but I saved that for on the move drinking and drank out of the other water bottle I packed. I was wearing brand new Altra Superior 1.5s. They're fairly minimal with zero drop and made for trails so I was eager to break them in. I was going to wear ankle socks, but these shoes eat them. I've had shoes like them before and they cause the sock to come off the heel. So I did it barefoot and cleaned out some sand that had gotten into the shoes. High on the heel of my left foot I had loose skin which was preparing to become a serious blister, so I made sure to tighten both shoes. The right foot was just fine. The shoes were terrific. Lots of stability. Although minimal, the stoneguard rock protection was just awesome.
After ten minutes, I was back on the trail, this time running when I could. Some of the path was too rocky and I just didn't want to run. But where it was a dirt path I was hauling and cut thirty minutes off the descent.
This was a great hike.
I'm definitely going to do it again.
And as a reward I grabbed two Adobada Tacos and ate them in the park.
Haven't done this yet but look forward to it. I will be visiting family beginning of July. I would enjoy hoking most of the trails available, hopefully I can find me someone to show me around.
We started hiking at the bottom (Ranger Station) and went up hill to the ridge, (about 2 mi). A nice trail with great views as we gained in elevation. On our way up we met face to face with a "Coyote" and 6 UDA's (Undocumented Aliens) following him down. We just stepped aside and let them pass.
Overall a great hike I would rate a moderate. Approx. 1,200' Elevation gain.
I love trail running and this one is excellent for it. A little over three miles and mostly downhill. This is a point to point trail so unless you are prepared to run uphill for 3 miles back to your vehicle, leave one at the bottom.