Motorcycling

Have you ridden the Coronado Trail lately? The 120 miles of US 191 between Clifton and Springerville rank in the top 10 scenic byways in the country; the 90 miles south of Alpine are probably in the top 3 for motorcyclists. Easily exceeding 500 curves, and with rarely a straight stretch of road longer than a quarter mile, the Trail is known for its narrow mountain-grade that snakes along the sides of a mountain range. Once numbered US 666, the Coronado Trail retains its earlier nickname “The Devil’s Highway.”

At points, switchbacks are necessary to climb or descend as the Trail leaves Clifton’s 3,400 ft. elevation and peaks around 9,300 ft. 60 miles later. You’ll spend most of your ride in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest moving from pinyon pine and scrub oak, through juniper and into spruce and ponderosa pine. Keep an eye on the weather: even a brief summer shower can chill an unprepared rider at 9,000 ft!

Traffic is light on the Coronado Trail—estimated at 15 vehicles per hour at peak times—which can allow for spirited riding, but take your time to enjoy the phenomenal scenery and wildlife. There are 8 rest areas with bathrooms and other pullouts for photo ops between Clifton and Alpine, but most of your ride is uninfluenced by civilization, beyond pavement. In comparison, the 11 miles of Deals Gap, aka the “Tail of the Dragon,” though more widely known among motorcyclists, is near populated areas, and carries heavy traffic.

While the Trail is a MUST ride, there are other superb motorcycling roads nearby: US 261, US 180 into New Mexico, SR 78 (US 180, SR 78, and US 191 make a great loop), and SR 15 in New Mexico. Dual purpose and off-road bikes will find additional hundreds of miles of quality sport awaiting them on the forest roads of Alpine. See you on the road!

Comments

  • Stony Monday
    February 6, 2011
    1:15 PM

    This is really a great ride. May, June and early September is a good time top go. Take along some cold weather gear it can get cold and it might rain. Check out the Hannagan Meadow Lodge for a great nights stay or camp at the nearby primitive camp ground. You can make a terrific loop ride by starting at the north end at Eagar. Then at Alpine turn south on 180 and stop at Glenwood. There is a motel and resturant. There is also a Hidden treasure located there. Take the road up to the Catwalk and enjoy a wonderful sight. To see photos google up Glenwood, NM. 17 miles past Glenwood take 78. Beautiful ride. 78 will take you back to 191 turn right (N) It’s 9 miles to Clifton. stay on 191 and enjoy a great ride on the Coronado Trail. To take the southeren route start at Guthrie…. Round trip from Eagar: 282. Round trip from Guthrie: 209. Ride Hard-Live Brave!