- South of Sierra Vista to Nogales
- Paved and Dirt / Gravel
- Suitable Vehicle:
- Passenger Car
- 55 miles oneway
- 2 - 3 hours
- Drivable year round
Heading south out of Sierra Vista, the Huachuca Mountains and their dramatic, exposed "Reef" tower above you to the west. You'll cross that mountain range at the top of Montezuma Pass, in the Coronado National Memorial, where you'll overlook a huge expanse of Mexico and southern Arizona.
From the pass, the drive drops into the immense grassland of the San Rafael Valley. Much of the grassland was part of an old Spanish land grant. A number of large and small ranches, both Mexican and American, still provide the main economic activity here. The sleepy little settlement of Lochiel, with its border crossing which has been closed since 1986, will scarcely notice your passage, even if you stop at the monument to Fray Marcos De Niza, the guide for the Spanish explorer Coronado. He is believed to have been the first European (in 1539) to set foot in what has since become Arizona.
After that it's on to the Patagonia Mountains and the gold mining boomtown-turned-ghost town of Washington Camp. At an unnamed pass just before you drop into Nogales and the end of the drive, there are more good views of the Atascosa, Baboquivari, and Pajarito mountain ranges to the west. The drive ends at the Little Red School House just north of Nogales.
The first 20 miles are paved, the rest is dirt but passable by 2-wheel drive vehicles.