• Montezuma Peak

    Coronado

    National Memorial Arizona

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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Where is the memorial or statue?
A: There is no statue, instead the Memorial is the whole area comprised of 4,750 acres. It is the largest Memorial in the National Park system.

Q: What does this Memorial commemorate?
A: The Memorial commemorates the first major expedition of Europeans into the American Southwest. The expedition was led by Francisco Vasquez de Coronado. There was a plan to form a joint U.S. & Mexico Coronado International Memorial to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Coronado’s expedition. Mexico and the United States were unable to reach an agreement, so President Harry Truman established Coronado National Memorial on November 5, 1952.

Q: Why is the Memorial located where it is if Coronado didn’t come through here?
A: A Memorial, by definition, commemorates a person or event and doesn’t necessarily have any tangible links on site. It was located here because of the outstanding views of the San Pedro Valley, the purported route of the expedition. The area was federal land administered by the U. S. Forest Service and was transferred to the National Park Service.

Q: What was the Fiesta and when did it end?
A: The Fiesta was an annual event held each April in the picnic area. It took considerable effort for the small staff and drew thousands of people that caused logistical problems with parking, which was compounded by the 1988 Peak Fire and subsequent erosion. It ended in 1988.

Visitor Center

Q: When was the Visitor Center built?
A: In 1961. There was a major remodel about 1976.

Q: What are the bricks made of?
A: Fired adobe from Mexico.

Q: What is the vine growing on the front porch and how old is it?
A: It is a native Canyon grape. It was planted when the building was built in 1961.

Q: Who did the murals and paintings in the VC?
A: Ms. Nevin Kempthorne did the murals. Roger Braden did the expedition paintings on the north walls. Don Perceval painted Coronado expedition map.

Coronado Expedition History

Q: When did Coronado come through Southwestern Arizona?
A: In the summer of 1540.

Q: Did Coronado come through the mountains?
A: No, he didn’t. Most historians think he followed the San Pedro River.

Q: When did Coronado die?
A: September 22, 1554. He was 44 years old.

Q: Where is Coronado buried?
A: In Mexico City at the Church of Santo Domingo.

Q: Where was Coronado born?
A: Salamanca, Spain northwest of Madrid in 1510.

Q: What animals did the Spanish introduce to America?
A: Horses, cattle, sheep, goats, chickens

Q: Did Coronado and his men wear the armor all the time?
A: No one really knows the answer to this question, although it seems unlikely they would wear it in the hot weather. Perhaps only when they felt they were in danger?

Q: What does "CIBOLA" mean?
A: It is a Spanish corruption of (She Wo No) - Land of the Zuni.

Q: What Indians lived in the San Pedro River Valley when Coronado came?
A: The people who lived along the San Pedro when the Spanish first made contact were called the SOBAIPURRI (so buy pur e), a branch of the O’odham or Pima (River) people.

Recreation

Q: Where can I camp?
A: The Memorial is a day use only area. Camping is allowed on USFS lands.

See Camping or Coronado National Forest notebook at the Visitor Center desk. There are Parker Canyon Lake and Reef/Ramsey View handouts available.

Q: Am I allowed to have fires in the park?
A: Yes, but only in the grills in the picnic area. Wood collecting is not permitted.

Q: Can I ride my ATV in the Memorial?
A: No. Contact the USFS at 378-0311 for info about the National Forest area.

Q: Can I take my dog on the trail?
A: No, but you may walk on the roads or in picnic area with the dog on a leash at all times within the park. They are not allowed on trails within the Memorial with the exception of the Crest Trail if you are hiking to Miller Peak outside the Memorial.

Q: Why are dogs prohibited on the trails if they are on leash?
A: Dogs are predators by nature and could interfere with the wildlife if they should get off leash. They may also bring diseases into the park for which wild animals have no natural resistance. Further, dogs could become prey for coyote or mountain lions.

Q: Where can I ride my horse in the Memorial?
A: You may park your horse trailer at the turnout at the end of the paved road. You may ride up the road if your horse can tolerate vehicles and continue up the Crest Trail toward Miller Peak. Horses are not permitted on any other trails.

Mexico

Q: How close are we to the border?
A: Approximately 1 mile to the U.S. – Mexican Border

Q: Is there a fence along the border?
A: Yes, a barbed wire fence was erected in the 1930s by the International Boundary & Waters Commission to keep cattle from Mexico from entering the U.S. There was concern at that time that they might carry hoof and mouth disease.

Q: Are there boundary markers at the border?
A: Yes, boundary monuments 100, 101 and 102 are in the park. 100 & 101 are approximately .25 miles apart and 101 & 102 are about 3 miles apart. The markers were placed within line of site of each other. The markers start in El Paso, Texas and end in San Diego, California. There is more information in the reference files under REME, U.S./Mexico Border.

Q: Where can we cross the border?
A: Naco, Douglas/Agua Prieta and Nogales are legal Ports of Entry.

Did You Know?

Montezuma Canyon in the snow, Coronado National Memorial

Coronado was searching for the ‘Seven Cities of Cibola’ when he began is expedition in 1540. What does Cibola mean? It is most likely a Spanish corruption of (She Wo No)- Land of the Zuni.