“A trail with sweeping views of Mexico and Arizona that descends to the US-Mexico border.”
— David Hitchcock
Coronado National Memorial is open year-round from civil twilight dawn to civil twilight dusk (approximately 1/2 hour before sunrise to 1/2 hour after sunset). The park closes each night and visitors are expected to be back from runs and activities 1/2 after sunset.
For your safety, do not cross the fence into Mexico.
The trail is narrow and descends steeply over rocky terrain. You can run it, it's just not ideal for it.
The Yaqui Ridge Trail, which is the start of the Arizona National Scenic Trail, drops from the Joe's Canyon Trail
to the US-Mexico border. To access the trail, take East Montezuma Canyon Road past the Visitor Center and up the gravel road to Montezuma Pass Overlook, where there is a large parking lot. The trailhead is at the top of the parking lot next to the rest rooms.
Follow the Joe's Canyon Trail
roughly 0.75 miles to a signed junction indicating Yaqui Ridge Trail breaks off to the right. Take the right onto Yaqui Ridge Trail and as you leave the trail intersection take a moment to enjoy the sweeping views of Arizona and Mexico that spread out before you. The trail begins its descent to the Mexican border along a narrow, dirt trail that follows the hillside for about 0.25 mile. Along the trail, you'll notice agave, yucca, and other plants native to the area. At 0.25 mile, the trail cuts back on itself and descends a couple of switchbacks. While there are some steps, the trail is still relatively smooth at this point.
After you emerge from the switchbacks, the trail starts to descend more steeply and becomes rockier as you make your way toward the border. Sweeping views still spread out before you on the lefthand side of the trail. As you approach the one mile mark, the trail begins to level out. The end of the trail is marked by two barb wired fences and a large international boundary marker (102). You have reached the end of the trail and are now at the US-Mexico border.
This is also the start/terminus of the Arizona National Scenic Trail, an 800 mile trail that traverses Arizona to the Utah Border. Take a few minutes to enjoy the landscape that spreads out before you. From here, your only real option to get back to your car is to turn around and climb back uphill towards the Joe's Canyon Trail
and work your way back to the car. If you have taken the shuttle from the visitor center (which runs November to June on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at 8:30 am), you can follow the Joe's Canyon Trail
back to the Visitor Center.
There isn't a lot of shade along this trail, so make sure to bring plenty of sunscreen, wear a hat and sunglasses, and drink plenty of water.
Flora & Fauna
Cacti, cholla, agave, and other species of plants can be seen along the trail.