Coronado National Forest

Quick Facts

Coronado National Forest


(520) 670-4552

Map Directions

Things To Do


The Coronado National Forest covers 1,780,000 acres of southeastern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico. Elevations range from 3000 feet to 10,720 feet in twelve widely scattered mountain ranges or "sky islands" that rise dramatically from the desert floor, supporting plant communities as biologically diverse as those encountered on a trip from Mexico to Canada.

Views are spectacular from these mountains, and visitors may experience all four seasons during a single day's journey, wandering through the desert among giant saguaro cactus and colorful wildflowers in the morning, enjoying lunch beside a mountain stream, and playing in the snow later in the afternoon.

The sky islands of the Coronado National Forest are unique and surprising, offering year-round recreation opportunities. Recreation activities that can be enjoyed on the Coronado are nearly as diverse as the people who come to visit. The most popular ones, however, are hiking, camping, birding, horseback riding, picnicking, sightseeing, and visiting historic areas.

Fishing and boating are also available, but limited in this arid land, while opportunities for the fast-growing sport of mountain biking are growing. Winter sports are possible in the higher elevations; Mt. Lemmon Ski Valley is the most southern ski area in the United States.

Map of Coronado Nat'l Forest

Latitude, Longitude: 32.413619, -110.756773



  • Boating

    You may not expect to find lakes in the arid southwest, and though there are no natural lakes on The Coronado National Forest, several man-made lakes are available for recreational use.

  • Bicycling

    All Coronado National Forest roads and trails outside of Wilderness areas -- except where posted "closed" --are open to mountain bikes. There are a few specially designated "Mountain Bike trails" on the Coronado. One of them is the Elephant Head Mountain Bike route.

  • Auto/Motorcycle

    Scenic drives through the park include: Arizona Highway 83, Border Road, Box Canyon Road, Canelo Hills Loop, Carr Canyon Road, Catalina Highway, Cave Creek Road, Charouleau Gap Road, Control Road, Santa Catalina, Harshaw Road, Sierra Vista, Madera Canyon Road, Middlemarch Road, Douglas, Mt. Hopkins, Nogales, Pinaleño/Swift Trail, Safford, Pinery Canyon, Douglas, Redington Road, Santa Catalina, Ruby Road, Nogales, Rucker - Tex Canyon, Douglas, and the Stockton Pass.

  • Camping

    If you are staying at a developed campground, camp only in those places specifically designated or marked as campsites. All vehicles, RVs, and trailers must be parked in the campsite or its driveway. Driving or parking off-road is not permitted. Please observe quiet hours between 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. and be considerate of others.

  • Fishing

    Most of these lakes are stocked by the Arizona Game and Fish Department and offer excellent fishing. The department puts out a weekly fishing report, so you know when your favorite lakes are getting stocked and how the fishing is. A valid fishing license is required of any person, except residents or non-residents under the age of fourteen years and blind residents, for taking aquatic wildlife from public waters.

  • Hiking

    The hiking trails of the Coronado National Forest sky islands offer near unmatched variety. Elevation determines not only the air temperature, with lowlands warmer than highlands, but also the types of plants and animals encountered. The warm climate and desert plants for which Arizona is known occur only at lower elevations, while pine, fir, and spruce cover the highest mountain tops, with grasslands and oak woodlands between.

    Hikers can explore the desert lowlands during the winter, then come back in summer to wander through cool high-elevation Ponderosa pine forest during the summer months.

    Or consider starting in the towering pines of a mountain summit and walking downhill to finish among giant saguaro cactus on the desert floor -- all in a single day hike.

  • Historic Sites

    Tours may be available; please contact park services for more information.

  • Horseback Riding

    Horseback riding may be permitted; please contact park services for more information.

  • Hunting

    Hunting may be permitted; please contact park services for more information.

  • Off Highway Vehicles

    The Coronado National Forest and the Arizona State Parks Board have combined efforts to improve recreational experiences by educating OHV users about regulations and "Tread Lightly" practices, and by restoring land damaged by past abusive use of OHVs. In addition, to make access safer, gates have been replaced with cattle guards, information boards with current rules and maps have been erected in high-OHV usage areas, and roads legal for OHV use have been clearly signed.

  • Picnicking

    There are extensive picnicking opportunities at the park.

  • RVing

    Some camping sites will accommodate RVs or trailers, though you should check before you go with the local ranger district to make sure your RV or trailer will fit in the campground.

  • Water Sports

    Fishing and boating are permitted.

  • Winter Sports

    Few people think of snow and skiing when they think of Tucson. Cactus, desert, and diamondbacks more readily come to mind. The Santa Catalina Ranger District, however, is home to the southernmost ski area in the United States, which is perched near the 9,157-foot summit of Mt. Lemmon. Ski runs are usually open from mid-December to early April, depending on winter weather and snowfall.

    Located just an hour's drive from the sun-drenched resorts of Tucson, area visitors can golf and swim in Tucson, then downhill ski at Ski Valley, all in the same day.

    Mt. Lemmon Ski Valley offers ski equipment rentals, instruction, the Iron Door Restaurant, a snack bar, and gift shop. Overnight accommodations are available in the nearby village of Summerhaven.

    The chair lift is in operation all year round, taking visitors to a high overlook from which they can enjoy views of the Santa Catalinas, the city of Tucson, the San Pedro Valley, the Reef of Rocks, and the distant mountains near Globe and Phoenix. These scenic views, combined with the many trails and overlooks in the area, and the Iron Door Restaurant make this a popular place to visit in any season.



Interstate highway 10 east of Tucson, Arizona offers many access routes into the forest via state highways.

Phone Numbers


(520) 670-4552