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Tue, Aug. 09

Southernmost passage of Arizona Trail to open in Coronado National Memorial after 18-month closure

Yaqui Ridge Trail viewpoint, located on the 800-mile Arizona Trail. The Arizona Trail is used by hikers, bikers, equestrians and others. (Photo/NPS)

Yaqui Ridge Trail viewpoint, located on the 800-mile Arizona Trail. The Arizona Trail is used by hikers, bikers, equestrians and others. (Photo/NPS)

HEREFORD, Ariz. — The National Park Service (NPS) announced Dec. 31 the temporary reopening of the Yaqui Ridge Trail, which is the southernmost part of the 800-mile Arizona Trail.

The Yaqui Ridge Trail starts on the international border with Mexico in Coronado National Memorial. The trail was closed in July 2020 because of construction activities on the Border Wall between the U.S. and Mexico.

“Visitor and contractor safety needs required us to close the Yaqui Ridge trail during border wall construction and subsequent make-safe activity,” said Southeast Arizona Parks Superintendent Matthew Carroll. “Now that contractor activity will be suspended for three to six months, we can safely welcome visitors and AZT hikers back to this section of trail. The NPS appreciates the support of the Arizona Trail Association as we navigate this changing landscape.”

Construction activities on the wall have continued sporadically since January 2021, according to the NPS.

With the temporary cessation of work on the border road and wall, access to the Arizona Trailhead and Monument 102 can safely resume for the more than 1,600 Arizona Trail Association Members and the thousands of trail enthusiasts that hike this route each year.

“We look forward to reopening this first “passage” of the Arizona Trail (AZT) this week,” Carroll said. “During the spring hiking season, many begin their northward journey at Monument 102 on the U.S./Mexico border within Coronado National Memorial” 

The Arizona National Scenic Trail is a complete non-motorized path, stretching 800 miles across Arizona from Mexico to Utah. It links deserts, mountains, canyons, forests, history, communities and people. According to the Arizona Trail Association, the trail has become one of the premier long distance trails in the country.

“We are so delighted to hear the news that the AZT will again be a complete path from Mexico to Utah,” said ATA Executive Director Matthew Nelson. “Reopening the southernmost mile and providing access to the southern terminus has been a major priority since the closure was put into effect during the summer of 2020. We encourage everyone to hike from Montezuma Pass down to border monument 102 to soak up the serenity of the San Rafael Valley and witness the environmental devastation from border wall construction activities firsthand.”

Hikers are reminded that areas along the border road east and west of Monument 102 may be unstable and remain closed to the public.

In addition, the temporary border closure south of the main park road and south of the Joe’s Canyon Trail remain in effect. A map of the existing closure is available on the website.

More information about the Arizona Trail Association is available at https://aztrail.org/

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