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Ramsey Canyon Trail, AZ

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Guide 30 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Tucson > Sierra Vista
Rated
3.9
3.9 of 5 by 13
 
6
Statistics
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Difficulty 1.5 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Round Trip 2.1 miles
Trailhead Elevation 5,500 feet
Elevation Gain 700 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 2 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 5.6
Interest Historic & Perennial Creek
Backpack No
Dogs not allowed
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
25  2019-04-23
Brown Canyon Pomona Mine
markthurman53
15  2019-04-19 kenandjude
21  2017-11-17
Ramsey Canyon Preserve
rwstorm
40  2017-11-17
Hamburg Trail #122
rwstorm
39  2017-09-16 vanillagorilla
15  2016-11-19
Hamburg Brown Loop
chumley
6  2015-11-21 JoelHazelton
36  2015-11-12
Huachuca Autumn II
outdoor_lover
Page 1,  2,  3
Author PhilipMueller
author avatar Guides 15
Routes 5
Photos 926
Trips 53 map ( 310 miles )
Age 43 Male Gender
Location Tucson, AZ
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Preferred   Mar, Nov, Apr, Oct
Seasons   ALL
Sun  6:09am - 6:18pm
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5 Alternative
 
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Flora Nearby
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Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Through the portal we go!
by PhilipMueller

In 1965, the site of the Ramsey Canyon Preserve was designated as the first Natural Landmark under the Historic Sites Act--a designation that honors outstanding ecological and geologic features on private land. On an August morning, my wife, Cindy, my son, Max, and I would quickly discover why this was the perfect place to be so honored.

The 380 acre preserve is owned and operated by The Nature Conservancy (TNC). Upon our arrival at the visitor's center, a knowledgeable volunteer named Bob briefed us on the unique geography that helps to make the preserve so special. Bob shared with us that the preserve lies within the intersection of the Sonoran and Chihuahuan deserts and the Rocky Mountains and the Sierra Madre of Mexico. Add the sky island of the Huachucas and water into the mix, and you have some pretty unique species of plants and animals wrapped in some fantastic geology. The visitor's center had a few small exhibits to view and lots of on topic books for sale. The best part about the visitor's center, though, was that when we stepped out the back door, like Lucy stepping through the wardrobe into Narnia, we realized that the visitor's center was really a portal to a hidden and magical place.

Immediately to our right was a hummingbird sanctuary. Bob had told us that 14 species of humming birds visit the canyon. August is reportedly and excellent month to see them, and we did. Little beauties! We strolled up the ever so gentle incline of the trail, parallel to Ramsey Creek. We heard twigs in the forest of scrub oaks to the left snap, which led our eyes to see a young buck and doe. We stared at each other briefly until they disappeared into the wood. We'd only walked about 2/10ths of mile, and it was time to turn right onto the Grand View Loop (GVL). We passed by two historic cabins on this loop, one built in 1902 and the other in 1911, by the John and Ernestine James family. At one time, over 100 settlers lived in this canyon, mostly easterners who came here for a new life following the civil war.

After a total of about 1/10th of a mile on GVL, we were back on the main trail. We enjoyed the shade of trees such as Maples and the giant Sycamores. We stopped to gaze in awe at one particular Sycamore... the largest I have ever seen... and read that it dated back to 1760! We have grown up together, our country and you, old friend. Between the shade, the breeze cutting through the canyon, and the elevation of 5550 feet, the cool air made us forget that not far beyond the portal through which we had only a few minutes ago passed, was a strikingly different and hot southern Arizona summer. Within about 1/10th of a mile from GVL, we turned right onto the Bledsoe Loop (BL), named after the Dr. Nelson Bledsoe family. The Bledsoe's began purchasing Ramsey Canyon land in 1922 and ultimately acquired 280 acres, all of which the family donated to TNC in 1974. Thank you. "Look Max, Frogs!" I exclaimed. We were standing at the edge of pond and reintroduction project for Chiricahua leopard frogs. Vibrantly green, they were--about the size of my fist. We read that they sing underwater. After a total of about 2/10ths of a mile on BL, we were back on the main trail. We had the option from here of heading up a series of switchbacks about 500 vertical feet in just 1/2 a mile to a lookout point, and we took it.

The main trail we had been on was once part of a toll road that was built by the Canyon's namesake, Gardner Ramsey, who arrived in 1879. The road ran about 2.5 miles up to the Hamburg Mine area, named after Henry Hamburg, an early canyon resident. Prospectors mined for silver, gold, lead, copper, and zinc, although, TNC reports that the mining largely ended in failure by 1931. We were now on the steep Hamburg Trail headed toward that lookout. The forest thinned a bit as we moved away from the creek, letting in a little more sun and heat. Max's 26lbs or so on my back seemed to increase with each switchback. I was glad this was only going to be about 1/2 of a mile. We saw two signs that indicated we were leaving the preserve and entering the Coronado National Forest. We came upon an elderly man, who had also intended to get to the lookout. He told us he was going to quit. "It's just around the bend, I bet," he said. "It's always like that", he grumbled, as he turned around in defeat. He was right, It was just around the bend, less than 2/10ths of a mile from leaving the preserve. Thank you, teacher. The view from the lookout into the San Pedro River valley with thick monsoon clouds overhead in one direction and into the heavily wooded glory of upper Ramsey Canyon in the other was fantastic.

"Look, a dragonfly", Cindy said. It was yellow and black with blue eyes and about 4 inches long... an absolute beauty. After we got back down to the main trail of the preserve, we came upon an area called Butterfly Seep. Here, water seeps from a hillside spring through the soil onto a short stretch of uncovered trail where male butterflies take in sun, moisture, and salt, which aid in reproduction. We saw about a dozen Arizona Sister butterflies here. Cindy aptly commented that it looked like a line of airplanes waiting to take off at a busy airport.

After a total of about 2.10 miles, roundtrip, we passed back through the portal and into the parking lot. As I drove home, and Cindy and Max slept, I couldn't help but smile as I thought about what Cindy had said at one point during our little hike into Ramsey Canyon: "This is such a blessing, to be in this beautiful place with my family." Amen.

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2008-08-26 PhilipMueller
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WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

Most recent Triplog Reviews
Ramsey Canyon Trail
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Sky Islands Summit Challenge
This was a hiking event organized by the City of Sierra Vista. Participants in this event had 3 options: hike to Carr Peak only; hike to Miller Peak and Carr Peak; or hike to Pat Scott Peak, Carr Peak, and Miller Peak. Miller Peak(9,466'), Carr Peak(9,220'), and Pat Scott Peak(8,700') are the 1st, 2nd, and 4th highest peaks, respectively, in the Huachuca Mountains. I naturally opted to hike to all 3 peaks.

This was a neat event, and at 19.6 miles and an AEG of 5,800', the hike was a buttkicker, at least for me. The hike started at the Ramsey Canyon Conservancy; went up the Hamburg Trail; then to the Pat Scott Canyon Trail; then off-trail to the summit of Pat Scott Peak; then on the Crest Trail to the Carr Peak trail to the Carr Peak spur trail which went to the summit of Carr Peak; then back to the Crest Trail to Bathtub Spring, and the route continued on the Crest Trail to the Miller Peak spur trail which went to the summit of Miller Peak; then back to Bathtub Spring, from which we went down the Miller Canyon Trail to the Miller Canyon TH, which completed the hike.

There were nice 360 degree views from the top of each of the 3 peaks.
Ramsey Canyon Trail
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Claire and I decided to head south for Memorial Weekend and went to check out the Huachucas. We were out here with the group back in August and really enjoyed the hiking and wanted to return. The long holiday weekend looked like the perfect time to return.

We left Phoenix on Saturday morning around 7am and made the long drive down. I thought it would take under three hours but I was wrong. We pulled into the Nature Conservancy and hit the trail a little after 10:30am. We headed up the Hamburg Trail and passed a lot of people enjoying the lower portion of Ramsey Canyon. We continued on as the trail climbs and climbs. It’s a lot of work. We eventually hit the junction with Pat Scott and started heading up. I was keeping a close eye on the time. The Nature Conservancy closes at 5pm and they said the gates would be promptly locked right then. I didn’t want to be late on the return.

We continued up the Pat Scott Trail and passed the old cabin as we headed up. This trail climbs and climbs as we headed for the Crest Trail. About a mile up I was ahead of Claire and came around a bend and stopped dead in my tracks as I see a large bear about 20 ft ahead. It was foraging near the stream and looked up at me and made eye contact. I stared back for a brief moment and then backed up around the bend. It was way too close for comfort! I told Claire about the bear and we both made a lot of noise. After a minute or two we slowly continued up and didn’t see the bear again. However I did notice the trail had water all over it. It was my guess the bear headed up the trail. We went a little farther and decided to turn around due to time constraints.

On our way down we stopped at the junction with Wisconsin Canyon and took our lunch. From there we continued down and took a short detour along the creek where we saw a Coatimundi up close. We took a variety of pics and then returned to the main trail. The last mile down flew by and we were back to the jeep around 3:30pm.

This was a really nice hike and seeing the bear up close was a rush. I wish I got a pic but was too caught up in the moment to reach for my phone. Ramsey Canyon is beautiful and the hiking is nice albeit lots of climbing. We were off to a nice start and planned on hitting Miller Peak the next day.
Ramsey Canyon Trail
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Pat Scott Peak and Ramsey Peak
I haven’t done many peaks in the Huachucas and I’ve been patiently waiting for the weather to cooperate before knocking off some more of the ‘big gun’ peaks in this range. With overcast skies and wind [but not rain] in the forest, I put my trust in my cell phone’s weather app as I headed for higher ground. As long as there were no surprise storms/showers, the nippy conditions were absolutely perfect as far as I was concerned… provided I don’t get dangerously cold, I’d take being miserably cold any day over better weather + buzzing bees. Miraculously, despite some very strong wind gusts in a handful of places, [including one atop Ramsey Peak that literally almost sent me to my ass], I was perfectly comfortable on the 8,700’+ peak, [without even breaking out all of my layers]. To top it off, I didn’t see or hear a single bee. :y:

As far as my adventure was concerned, it was definitely a ‘game-day decision’ type of deal in more ways than one. Since I’d routed up a bunch of options in terms of the peaks on my lists as well as potential starting points, I really didn’t decide on what I was doing until I got to Sierra Vista. Eager to hit the trails after personal biz once again resulted in another late start, [although luckily not quite as late as the previous day’s 3 PM launch…], I started with what would have been one of the closer options: the Fort Huachuca side of the range. I’ve seen a few routes where other HAZ’ers have launched from areas inside of the Reservation Boundary, but I wasn’t quite sure how the whole thing worked. The guards at the entrance were very helpful and explained that after filling out some paperwork and clearing a background check [which they said takes only a few minutes], I’d be free to launch from any TH within the boundary. Problem was, I had my gun with me, which is not allowed inside; and given how late of a start I’d gotten, I didn’t want to take the time to find a gun shop that would hold it. Thus, I continued along Highway 90.

Chumley recently posted a very fun-looking route [ triplog ] that incorporates both Pat Scott & Ramsey Peaks, and I had saved his route in the event I decided on those peaks, [which definitely looked to be the next best/closest option]. Thus, I decided to head for the launch point, which was up Carr Canyon Road. However, [recalling from the topo that the Ramsey Canyon Trail looked to be another viable starting point], I couldn’t resist turning up Ramsey Canyon Road since that was even closer than Carr Canyon Road. In terms of public access, Ramsey Canyon Road ends at The Nature Conservancy, and for only a *$3 fee [*as a resident of Santa Cruz County], it would have made for a perfect start point… minus the fact that the parking lot is gated shut at 4 PM and it was already almost 11 AM…

Rather than backtrack to Carr Canyon Road and risk cutter things even closer in terms of the time that would be left to complete this kind of a hike, I phoned a Bed & Breakfast type place in the area and asked if I could pay them to park in their lot so I could get my hike in. They were super cool and agreed. Thus, I kicked things off up the Ramsey Canyon Trail. I won’t go into tons of detail since this trail is covered in full here, [ Ramsey Canyon Trail ] , but a couple of thoughts:

1. The Nature Conservancy has done one hell of an awesome job in preserving this area; and the way they’ve built the trail around the ‘exhibits’ [without making it look or feel trashy/touristy] is really superb. As far as I’m concerned, the $3 / $6 fee is well worth it just to see the beginning part of the trail with the exhibits.

2. The waterfalls & pools in Ramsey Canyon are sensational… in fact, I thought they were more beautiful than those in Ash Creek in the Galiuros.

After heading up the Ramsey Canyon Trail for a little under 3 miles, I intersected with Chumley’s tracks at the junction of the Ramsey Canyon Trail & Pat Scott Canyon Trail, [at which point, I planned to follow his route up the Pat Scott Canyon Trail and onto the Crest Trail; then take a very short side trip up to Pat Scott Peak; and finally continue on to Ramsey Peak]. However, shortly after heading up the Pat Scott Canyon Trail, I encountered some very annoying deadfall, [go figure, my attempt to stay as close to the trail as possible while circumventing the deadfall resulted in a black & blue shin… yet my epic bushwhack return, [including a Class 4 climb down a near vertical rock slab], did not even result in a slight scratch.

Shortly after the deadfall was the section of trail with the switchbacks, and toward the top of that, I ended up off-trail thanks to some snow that concealed the correct route. At that point, I consulted Route Scout and saw that I was very close to the summit of Pat Scott Peak; in fact, the grassy terrain leading toward the peak looked a lot more favorably that the snowy slope I’d have to head for if I wanted to get back onto the trail. Thus, I headed for the peak. Chumley’s description sums it up nicely… and, in addition to lack of prominence, I also found the views to be lacking, thanks to being blocked by trees in most directions. The unnamed prominent points en route to Ramsey Peak had much better views. Nonetheless, it was still fun to flip through the register atop Pat Scott Peak; which, as Chumley mentioned, doesn’t have much space left to sign; [and people were signing all out of order]. On the rare occasions when this kind of thing happens, [i.e. no blank pages AND people signing out of order], I like to sign the first page and did not hesitate to do so here. I’ll have to start carrying a small notebook [and writing implement] again.

Shortly after Pat Scott Peak, the wind really picked up [or maybe I just stepped into the line of fire since it seemed to be quite windy the whole day]. I tend to fare worse than average when it comes to handling cold temps; so it was a pleasant surprise to feel comfortable/toasty at 8,500’+ on a windy Winter day, [although I did need to put on my hat, gloves, and 2nd fleece jacket]. Luckily the routes along the ridge leading to Ramsey Peak often ran just North of the top of the ridge, which meant almost complete protection from the wind. Due to some brush in the area of the highpoint, [along with several boulders that appeared to be about the same height], the highest physical point was not entirely clear; however, the register was actually sitting out on top of a small summit cairn/rock pile. It looked to be in a secure position [shielded from larger rocks on other sides], so after signing, I left it how I found it and did not attempt to cover it. There is a main looking notebook with more recent sign-ins as well as several loose sheets of paper, which appear to be older sign-ins for the most part. Also inside of the main glass register is a very small container that looked like a pill bottle. The pages within that container were jammed in pretty good, [and I did not want to damage them by attempting to take them all out], but I was able to get the first one out with ease and it goes back to 1989. The views atop Ramsey Peak were just awesome; and it was extremely nice to find several spots that were shielded from the wind by the surrounding brush / other boulders where I could enjoy the views.

As for my epic bushwhack return… it was really a spur of the moment decision; and I can’t help but smile at just how awesome it turned out. Initially, I fully intended to take the trail back; but after reaching the summit, the thought of: retracing my steps over the super windy sections of ridge, then trying to follow the trail through the snowy section, AND finally circumventing the section with the downed trees had really lost its appeal… thus, I opted for a ‘blind’ bushwhack descent, heading NE off Ramsey Peak. Not only had I not even drawn out a route to follow, I hadn’t even been paying very good attention on my approach to determine if such a return was something I even wanted to attempt. All I remember from looking at the terrain in the beginning was tons of craggy / cliffy areas… yet after my Galiuro trip, I figured I’d be good to go as long as the topo contours weren’t touching. :D

Aside from one Class 4, [which very likely could’ve been circumvented altogether had I had the patience to investigate the terrain beyond 10-20 feet on either side of me], everything else was smooth sailing and a total blast. There were a few very fun Class 3’s, but surprisingly little climbing/scrambling, relative to how cliffy/craggy the surrounding terrain was. Given that bouldering is my forte, even the Class 4 climb proved to be fun… although thanks to forgetting to remove my gun from the side pocket before chucking my pack down the mini-cliff in front of me, my heart was definitely skipping beats as I negotiated the climb; and it was a frightful 1-2 minutes when I recovered my pack, only to find that the gun was not with it. VERY luckily, I somehow managed to find my gun [and relatively quickly, given that it ended up about 20-30 feet further downhill from where my pack had landed]. I’ll never make that mistake again!

Despite some very steep slopes, there was little brush, almost no thorny vegetation, and soft, good-gripping dirt footing, all of which made for a very pleasant descent. To top things off, the routes blazed by the deer, bear, and our International friends definitely made things even easier. The Brown Canyon Trail #115 is not shown on CalTopo; and, [not having know the trail was there], I decided to contour out of the shallow gulley I’d been in for most of my descent and up onto the ridge to the East of it in order to start scanning the terrain for an ideal spot to drop back down into Ramsey Canyon & rejoin the Ramsey Canyon Trail. Unlike my previous two trips to the Huachucas, I’m REALLY glad Route Scout topo was cooperating on this one; having the topo contours was very helpful to say the least. Very shortly before reconnecting with the Ramsey Canyon Trail, I suddenly came out on the Brown Canyon Trail #115, which was definitely a surprise since the topo does not show this trail. Once on the trail, the rest of the way back was smooth sailing; and I even made it back in time to check out some of the neat ‘exhibits’ along the beginning of the Ramsey Canyon Trail. All in all, it was a fantastic adventure to say the least.
Ramsey Canyon Trail
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Hamburg Brown Loop
Took a daytrip down to the Huachucas. This range never fails to surprise me, and keeps calling me back.

I spent a few minutes loitering with the others and then decided to explore a few areas I hadn't previously been. Managed to knock out the remaining portion of Hamburg that I hadn't done before, connected over on Brown Canyon, and cut back on Brown Spring. I'll have to come back and check out the mine and get up to the fort boundary on the ridge.

Colors were nice in the canyons, and water was flowing.

Note about the Brown Canyon Trail ... the old trail cut as marked on topo maps (and the hikebot route here) is no longer active. A newer cut heads down the Brown Canyon drainage more directly starting at the 6020 contour and ending at the Wilderness Boundary at Brown Spring. It's a very well-built and maintained trail with nice switchbacks and used regularly. Irrigation piping is found the length of the trail connecting several different enclosed and locked small spring structures that divert the water for ranch use downstream.

I investigated the old trail cut, which is reasonably visible, but is overgrown and hasn't been used in years. There were branches placed very deliberately in the old tread every few feet for the first 300 yards of the old trail. While I assume this old cut was decommissioned by the forest service, it was abundantly clear that somebody was making an effort to prevent travel on this old route, and not knowing what might be ahead of me, I stuck with my gut and turned around. (Backpacks and trash are fine, but I'd rather not meet their owners if I have the option not to).

The turkeys were out in full force, and I encountered three different rafters of over a dozen each. Apparently there aren't enough predators here. I saw a handful of deer, including one that was so carefree I think it would have eaten out of my hand. We did see a nice grey fox on the drive out. Not sure it's big enough to take down a turkey though.

Foliage
Canyons at peak
Ramsey Canyon Trail
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Huachuca Autumn II
Day 3 of my Fall Foliage Tour in Southeastern Arizona...

Met up with a Photographer Friend and we Hiked up Miller Canyon Trail a little Ways checking to see what the Status of the Canyon was for Maples. We found a little Color, but it was Scarce and what there was, the Foliage was being Eaten by something and looked bad....We spent a couple of Hours in there and then Hiked out. And for anyone that's Interested, the Miller Canyon Trail Official GPS Route no longer Matches what the Trail actually does and there are more Trails branching off of that one that don't seem to be on HAZ....Just an FYI.... :)

By then, the Sun was up fairly High and although we wanted to hit Ramsey, we wanted to wait for the better Afternoon Light before we went, so we chilled around Camp for awhile. I took a small Hike along the Creek where we were Camped in Miller and then Relaxed for a bit. I Posted a few of those Photos in my "Camping" Triplog/Photoset.

Hit Ramsey, but we got there later than we had planned and didn't realize that the Conservancy "closed" so early... 4:00 was pretty Early and the Light was Perfect right about that Time. We left, but decided to go back in the Morning for more Soft Light as the Colors in there were very Nice, although a lot of Maples were still Green in large Areas. I included the following Morning's Shoot of Ramsey in this Photoset as well.... :)

Another Nice Autumn Day in the Huachucas.... :)
Ramsey Canyon Trail
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Day 7 of our 8-day SE AZ road trip. Today was to be our last big hike. The Ramsey Canyon B&B had played host to us the previous night and would again tonight. Located right next to the Preserve, it was the optimum base for enjoying Ramsey Canyon. After a great breakfast, we shouldered our packs and walked over to the Preserve.

Seems we were lucky in our timing. First Saturdays are free admission at the Preserve. They were also having a guided nature walk. Might be a good idea. But when we discovered it was 2 hours and covered a half mile, we opted out. Would have loved to hear all the good info, but we wanted miles.

The creek was flowing nicely which gave us that wonderful mountain stream background sound off and on all day. Some random clouds were moving quickly across the peaks and saddles above us and providing nice shade in the few open places on the trail. Combined with ample tree cover from the sycamores, spruce, pine, oaks, junipers and madrones. The conditions were perfect for a good hike.

Did the little side loops off the mail trail in the Preserve checking out all the abandoned buildings left over from the long history of people enjoying this canyon. Some birders were out along the trail, but fewer than usual according to the B&B owner. We tried to be quiet and not intrude. Hit the first real incline and topped out at the overlook. There's some interesting geology on display across the canyon.

Dropped back down to the creek and it was really flowing nicely. Even found a very nice bubbling spring off to the south of the creek. There were still areas of bright wildflowers and a hint here and there of Fall color to come.

Veered off on Pat Scott to check out the old mine and equipment. Looks like they even had a small stamp mill here for crushing the ore. We weren't convinced we wanted to do the whole loop, so after a bit we turned back.

At the lower end Pat Scott we didn't really want to start back down, so we went further up Hamburg. After a bit we took stock of our time and energy remaining. We were only .68 (straight line) below Bear Saddle. MJ wanted to go to the top and I didn't see any reason why not, so up we went. Hamburg is steep in this area, so we were huffing and puffing when we met three hikers coming down, (now I think it was knnorby's group). They told us they'd seen a large black bear over on Pat Scott earlier. The bear was totally nonaggressive. Damn we should have gone on up. However, the news put MJ on high alert. A LARGE pile of scat in the trail didn't help her much. But we pressed.

The wind at the saddle was really howling. A 100 feet on the trail below the saddle was nearly calm. MJ held onto her hat while doing a Chevy Chase looking into the Grand Canyon imitation and headed back down. I took some photos and enjoyed the view for a few moments more and followed her down. We snacked sitting a convenient rock with big grins on our faces.

The trip down was uneventful, much easier, and just a beautiful. As we got close to the trailhead there were lots of people taking afternoon hikes. Certainly was a great day for it.

Back at the B&B there was a fresh cherry pie set out. The Ramsey Canyon B&B is known for their daily pies. Tough decision ahead -- post hike beer and then pie or pie then beer??? Why is life so difficult? (Decision was tiny slice of pie, beer, then larger slice of pie. A perfect solution is not always available, but when it is just go for it.)

I like Ramsey. We will be back for more.
Ramsey Canyon Trail
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This photo-hike began at 8 am, as the sun was clearing the ridges to the entrance of Ramsey Canyon. The skies were clear with lightly spotted clouds, which built as the day progressed.
The interesting sights began as soon as we passed through the visitor's center to the trail head at Ramsey Creek. Our objective was to reach the Overlook and return.

The first real photo opportunity was at the Bedrock Waterfall. This granite outcropping of igneous rock was said to have been formed by slow cooling molten material from deep within the earth's surface about 1.4 billion years ago. The natural dam these rocks create offered sanctuary for birds, arroyo willows, sedges, scouring rush (of the horse tail family)and locust trees. The noticeable falls are seemingly shooting water straight up.

The next stop, of any time length, was the James House Overlook. An old house built in 1911, which the James family lived in after growing out of the later mentioned cabin. It's location was well-thought in relation to the sun and the creek. It's back is against the rising northern face of the canyon, while it façade looked out over the creek as the sun lit up the canyon floor and the area where nearly 100 settlers lived between 1880 and 1930.

Shortly after the Overlook House we discovered the cabin. The James Cabin was built in 1902 but is now inhabited by various creatures who find its voids and crevices irresistible.

From there, the many Sycamores, Mexican Locusts, Agave and assorted other plants and flowers caught our attention as we began the steeper rise to the Hamburg trail and the Overlook. Once past the Grizzly-scratched utility pole and rock wall that marks the Bledsoe loop, our hike became a bit more intense. The benches provided for resting seemed well-placed, as the grade took its tool on the calves and lungs. The frequency of our photo opportunities kept us from overdoing the ascension, so we basked in the silence of the wind and water which filled the area with constant rustling. We only experienced a couple fellow hikers on the way up.

Once we reached the Overlook, the Ramsey Peak was the center of attention. Some of the outcroppings of rock proved that the material was once liquid and cooled to solidity. Quite amazing veining! Water and almonds were enjoyed for a time, then our decision was to continue on down to the stream for more photo opps. This was a very rocky descent and inattentiveness would sprang an ankle quite easily.

We got as far as Comfort Springs trail's beginning, and decided to make the return trip. Our water was at half, and the photos were quite numerous by then. The return back to the visitor's center would introduce us to quite a few folks, and a whole gaggle of children enjoying the day.

If you've never experienced the Nature Conservancy's Ramsey Canyon Preserve, it will surely thrill your senses.
Ramsey Canyon Trail
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My husband and I spent part of our weekend visiting friends in Sierra Vista, they suggested we take a walk up Ramsey Canyon for the morning. Great suggestion! We saw a black bear right off the bat :) As we went farther up the canyon, we saw a few red-spotted purple butterflies, one Arizona Sister, and a couple others. Hanging out on the little gift shop were a couple big, cool moths: Glover's Silk moth and Western Imperial moth. I'll try to remember to post photos in the next day or two...
Ramsey Canyon Trail
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I hiked Ramsey Canyon two years ago. I saw there were no entries so I will attempt to type from memory.

Get there early because the visitor's center parking lot gets crowded with bird watchers. Outside the visitors center they have hummingbird feeders that attract the most attention. Follow the nature walk past the stagnant frog pond (which is supposed to be home to a frog unique to the park) to an incline where the hiking trail begins and you are on your way. Ramsay Canyon is certainly an oasis with running water even in the summer so definitely bring bug spray. The park is truly teeming with wildlife. Approximately a mile from the visitor's center there was a black bear high up along the ridge. Later at a higher elevation, there was an almost completely white skunk that was digging in some leaves, and like the Chiricahua's, Yarrow's Spiny Lizards are common with their silvery copper backs, turquoise tails, and black collars.

I reached high elevation and the view was anticlimactic. After a couple hours of green and water, the payoff is only viewing miles of barren desert. The actual stars of the show are the wildlife and beauty of the trail so it is worth checking out if you have the time.

Permit $$
Special Use

Special
Hours
Open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Closed Tuesdays/Wednesdays
Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's

Fees
$5.00 per person. Conservancy members and Cochise County residents, $3.00 per person. Children under 16 - FREE. There is no admission charge the first Saturday of every month. Annual passes available. Group visits require prior arrangements. Please call (520) 378-2785.

Coronado Forest
MVUMs are rarely necessary to review unless mentioned in the description or directions
Coronado Motor Vehicle Use Maps (MVUMs)


Directions
Map Drive
or
Road
Paved - Car Okay

To Ramsey Trailhead
Drive 6 miles south of Sierra Vista on AZ Highway 92 to Ramsey Canyon Road. Turn right and follow Ramsey Canyon Road 3.5 miles to the Nature Conservancy's Ramsey Canyon Preserve parking area and trailhead. Parking reservations are required for weekend and holiday visits. Weekday parking is on a space available basis.

If you have an extra few minutes, on the way home you may wish to turn W on HWY 82 from HWY 90 to Sonoita and then drive N on HWY 83 back to I-10. This is a lovely drive or motorcycle ride through SoAZ wine country with elements of Big Sky Country and Tuscany permeating the landscape.

Location
27 E. Ramsey Canyon Road
Hereford, AZ 85615

Hours
Spring/Summer (March 1 through October 31): 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Fall/Winter (November 1 through February 28): 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Closed Tuesdays/Wednesdays
Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's

Parking
Preserve parking is limited to 27 spaces. These spaces are available on a first-come, first-served basis. There is no parking along the road below the preserve.

Facilities
The preserve headquarters include visitor parking, a nature center with a bookstore and hummingbird viewing. Here, visitors may learn about the preserve and its wild residents, the Upper San Pedro River Program, and the Conservancy by viewing interpretive exhibits, shopping in the bookstore, or simply enjoying the beauty of the lower canyon.

Please note, in consideration of canyon wildlife, pets are prohibited in the preserve.

From PHX (I-10 & AZ-51) 197 mi, 3 hours 4 mins
From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) 87.8 mi, 1 hour 33 mins
From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) 340 mi, 5 hours 12 mins
page created by PhilipMueller on Aug 25 2008 1:11 pm
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