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Adventure Awaits At Hannagan Meadow

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Arizona Staycation Destination | Hannagan Meadow

Hannagan Meadow, located at the north end of Greenlee County and roughly 70 miles along US 191 from the Clifton-Morenci area, sits high in the sky at 9,071 feet. It is surrounded by the alpines of the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest.

More than 400 species of fish and wildlife such as elk, deer, antelope, bear, and raccoons call this area home. Fishing, camping, hiking, hunting, and photography are popular summertime activities. Cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, and ice fishing are popular pastimes in the winter.

A Brief History of Hannagan Meadow

Legend has it that famed Spanish explorer Francisco Vasquez de Coronado and his expedition passed through the area on their way from Mexico to Zuni as they searched for the fabled “Seven Cities of Cibola. This story has not been confirmed.

If it is true, then centuries later, another legend has it that the area was named after Nevada rancher and miner, Robert Hannagan, who was riding in the area in the 1890s with a Luna, NM rancher named Toles Cosper. The men flipped a coin to determine who the meadow would be named after. Another story is that Hannagan was chained to a tree by the meadow until a debt of $1,200 was paid in full. It was promptly paid by his son. Either way, today we have Hannagan Meadow.

In 1926 after the construction of the Coronado Trail was underway and travel through the area became easier, Cosper’s son, DeWitt Cosper, built the Hannagan Meadow Lodge. The Hannagan Meadow area has long been a favorite retreat for Arizonans.

Climate

According to the National Weather Service, Hannagan Meadows has five seasons. Summers see warm days and cool nights. Winters are moderately cold, with brisk days and chilly nights. The dry part of Summer typically begins at the beginning of June and lasts into July. The monsoons usually begin by mid-July and last until the beginning of September. Thunderstorms are common. Autumn begins in September and can last to the end of November, with cool – mild days and nights beginning to dip below freezing. Winter usually begins by late November and lasts until the end of February. Wintery days can be observed during March, and even as late as April, with heavy snowfall common. Spring usually starts during early March, lasts into May, and is usually relatively dry.

Dress in layers and bring a warm coat, hat, and gloves. Bring sunscreen and extra drinking water in the summer and hot beverages in the winter.

Things to Do & See

There is a bounty of activities available for outdoor adventurers. Biking, camping, fishing, hunting, camping, horseback riding, hiking, mountain biking, and UTV tours in summer, and cross country skiing, snowmobile tours, and snow tubing in winter. Click Here and scroll for a list of hiking, biking, and horseback riding trails,
lakes, campsites, snow skiing sites, picnic areas, and scenic spots.

Take deep breaths of fresh, clean, clear mountain air and bask in the glory of the picturesque sights of the conifer forest and grassy meadow during a stroll around the five-and-half-mile Hannagan Meadow Loop. This trail follows a primitive two-track and some dirt forest service roads. The route follows a power line for about a mile but most of the way is wilderness. All road junctions are marked with blue diamond markers.

State Route 191 from Morenci north to Springerville is known as the Coronado Trail.

The colors along the trail are simply magnificent between mid-September and nearly November. Gorgeous golds, reds, and browns of the aspen, oak, maple, and mountain ash are contrasted by the many shades of green from the pines, firs, juniper, and pinon trees. Most notable are the large stands of aspen on the Alpine Ranger District leading to Hannagan Meadow. The Coronado Trail offers some of the best autumn color viewings in Arizona. Other nearby scenic routes include State Highway 273 near Springerville and Forest Roads 24, 25, and 26 south of Alpine.

If shopping is your bag, Visit Greenlee County notes that southern Greenlee County has many small, locally-owned shops that are “quaint” and “quirky” featuring unique, one-of-a-kind items made by local artisans and craftsmen and found nowhere else.

IMPORTANT: Cell reception in this area is very spotty at best. Don’t count on it for communication or navigation. Make sure you tell people who are not traveling with you where you are going and the roads you plan to take. Download Google Maps and other directions in advance. Print a copy in case your phone runs out of battery.

Lodging & Dining

Campgrounds abound, especially from May through September.

If you prefer less primitive accommodation, Hannagan Meadow Lodge rents cabins and single rooms and has a general store. They also hold a cowboy cookout every Saturday from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend. Their restaurant offers freshly-prepared food and a variety of snacks and drinks. With advance notice, they can prepare a simple picnic lunch for you to take on your daily adventures.

Fun Facts

  • Hannagan Meadow is currently the highest point in Arizona to be inhabited throughout the entire year.
  • Hannagan Meadow Lodge maintains the highest-altitude weather reporting station in Arizona.
  • The nearby Mogollon Rim has the world’s largest concentration of lightning storms.
  • The Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest is the world’s largest stand of ponderosa pine trees.
  • The highest temperature recorded in Hannagan Meadows is 94 °F (34 °C) and occurred on August 6, 2019.
  • The nearby Blue Range Primitive Area is the only remaining primitive area in the U.S. National Forest System. That means the area has not been altered or developed beyond means for fire prevention.
  • Due to our high elevation, Hannagan Meadow frequently has the first and last winter snow in Arizona.
  • The first specimen of the colorful butterfly speyeria mormonia luski (Mormon Fritillary) was discovered at Hannagan Meadow.

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Photo Credits:

  • Hannagan Meadow Lodge
  • Shutterstock

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