Visit Coronado Cave

Hiking and Caving icons

Currently, no permit is needed to enter and explore the cave. Please check in at the visitor center for more information about cave safety, cave preservation, and cave geology and ecology.

Pets are not allowed in the cave or on the Cave Trail.

Coronado Cave became part of Coronado National Memorial in 1978, when the park expanded its boundaries. The cave may have been used by humans as a shelter and hideout by middle archaic people (up to 8000 years ago) and more recently by the Chiricahua Apache and other Apache peoples, Mexican and European miners, and settlers (however, no archaeological evidence remains in the cave today). The cave is now one of the few open, undeveloped caves in southern Arizona. Coronado Cave is a large cavern 600 feet long and in most places about 70 feet wide.

To get to the Coronado Cave trailhead drive 1/4 mile west of the visitor center on Montezuma Canyon Rd. The parking area will be on the north side of the road.

Start the hike by walking across the dry wash. It is 1/2 mile to the cave entrance with an elevation gain of 500 feet. There are many uneven steps as you near the cave entrance. Some scrambling over slick rocks is required to descend to the cave floor. This hike is rated as moderately strenuous.

Watch the short video below to learn more about visiting Coronado Cave:

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5 minutes, 45 seconds

Prepare for your visit to Coronado Cave with this short video about cave safety and cave preservation.

caver and cave formation

NPS photo

Be Prepared
In order to enjoy your caving experience it is wise to be prepared for the hike to the cave entrance in addition to the cave itself. Here is a list of important items to bring with you on your caving adventure:

  • At least TWO sources of light - it is absolutely pitch black dark in the back of the cave and it would be difficult to find your way out without a light (a smartphone flashlight does not count as a source of light).
  • Extra batteries
  • Gloves (touching cave walls and formations without gloves damages the cave and prohibits the growth of new formations)
  • The 10 essentials ! (many search and rescue incidents begin with the phrase "it's only a short hike").
    • Water, sturdy shoes/boots, sun protection, map/compass, food/snacks, extra clothes and rain gear, saftey items (whistle), first aid kit, knife, backpack.
  • Although no park regulation requires a helmet, it is recommended in any caving excursion and is good practice.

Cave Safety

  • Never explore caves alone
  • Caving can be difficult and technical -- know your limitations and do not take risks beyond your endurance or comfort level
  • Always tell someone where you are going and when you'll be back (if you forgot, stop in the visitor center and tell a ranger!)
  • Have an emergency plan
  • Pay close attention to footing, in steep or technical situations maintain three points of contact (two feet, one hand; one foot, two hands)
  • If your light fails - stay put!
Cavers and cave formations

NPS Photo

Cave Regulations
In order to preserve and protect the cave for now and future generations please observe the following rules:

  • Cave is closed between sunset and sunrise each day
  • Do not touch cave formations and avoid touching the cave walls - oils from skin can prevent the growth of new formations
  • No smoking in the cave or around the cave entrance
  • No littering - Pack it in, pack it out
  • Refrain from eating inside the cave
  • Do not scratch, paint, or place any form of graffiti in, or around the cave - your names and comments are welcome in the register at the visitor center but not on cave walls
  • Do not strike or deface cave formations
  • Do not remove rock fragments, cave formations, or artifacts from the cave
  • Fires, candles, torches, fireworks, and other open flames are not permitted
  • Dogs are not allowed in the cave or on the cave trail
  • Possession of alcoholic beverages and/or containers is the cave or on the cave trail are prohibited
  • Please do not urinate in the cave - restrooms are located at Montezuma Pass, the visitor center, and the picnic area
  • No camping
  • Avoid talking loudly, yelling, or playing music in the cave as bats are sensitive to noise

Please help preserve Coronado Cave for tomorrow's explorers. Report all violations to a park ranger at the visitor center or on the trail.

Cave scientists look at a hollow inside the cave
Park scientists remove and document the effects of graffiti on cave walls

NPS Photo

Last updated: December 27, 2023

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

4101 E Montezuma Canyon Road
Hereford, AZ 85615


520 366-5515

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