The Coronado Trail is US-191 from the town of Clifton to Alpine. The trail runs north-south through the eastern part of Arizona and includes some truly remarkable scenery.
For our long day trip, we drove from the Valley to Globe on US-60, down US-70 to Safford, and then up US-191 to Springerville, where we met US-60 and followed it home.
Clifton is near the south end of the Coronado Trail. It’s not a bad idea to fill up and load up on snacks in Clifton if you’re heading north, as there’s not much retail for quite a ways up the road.
Next northward is Morenci, site of the Morenci copper mine. It is one humongous hole in the ground. It’s like the Grand Canyon or the Redwoods, except made by humans. If you look from one picture to another, you can see just how big it is by the trucks. They show how huge the mine and the trucks are in human scale.
The truck is being either stripped or worked on, from the looks of it, but you can see how big it is by the size of the cab.
In the last shot the trucks are visible in the expanded picture only as a few tiny dots. They’re located just about a third of the way in from the left side and a little above the center of the picture. Click on the picture to expand it and find the trucks.
From the mine, it’s about 90 miles and a couple million curves (or maybe just a few hundred) to Alpine, with huge vistas and summer wildflowers interspersed with miles of Ponderosa forest. Several stretches of the highway run through burned sections of the forest in various stages of recovery.
Hannagan Meadow makes a welcome break after nearly 70 miles of mountain road, with its Hannagan Meadow Lodge providing a sweet view across the meadow. When we were there the porch was buzzing with hummingbirds, too.
From the meadow, the road is much better behaved as it runs through the forests north to Alpine.
Though it’s likely that Coronado actually followed the river lowlands north through this country, he missed out on one heck of a fun drive!