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mini location map2014-12-04
15 by photographer avatarBenTelly
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Ramsey Canyon LoopTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Dec 04 2014
Hiking5.00 Miles 2,830 AEG
Hiking5.00 Miles
2,830 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Partners none no partners
Ramsey Canyon is a canyon I've been meaning to explore for quite some time. The last time I attempted to hike here the preserve, managed by The Nature Conservancy, was closed due to flooding from the tropical storms that hit southeast AZ back in September. I instead hiked into Ramsey Canyon via Brown Canyon and thoroughly enjoyed it. This time everything worked out. Other than a steady drizzle from a slow moving winter storm all was well. And honestly, the rain felt quite nice and the water saturated all the fall colors in the canyon making for a spectacular first couple of miles.

I took my time to enjoy the early winter "autumn" leaves. The caterpillars in Miller Canyon, just two canyons to the south, had devastated the big-tooth maple and the colors were muted at best. I expected the same for Ramsey. In fact I thought most leaves had already changed and dropped except the low elevation cottonwoods near where I live. I was pleasantly surprised to find lower Ramsey Canyon at near peak color and as I mentioned the rain seemed to deepen the hues.

This is a well managed and spectacular canyon. The range of diversity in these eastern slope Huachuca canyons is phenomenal. Leaving the preserves western boundary I hooked up with the Hamburg Trail and passed the junction that heads north toward Brown Canyon. Low, wispy clouds seemed to tangle on the pines, breaking open momentarily to reveal the high canyon walls and Ramsey Peak. The rain, naturally, became heavier as I climbed. The large fir trees near the junction of Comfort Springs, Wisconsin, and Pat Scott trails at Hamburg Meadows served as nice canopy and respite from the elements.

The rain became heavier as I climbed the Pat Scott trail toward the Crest Trail. I retreated under a rock ledge in the wash near the Crest Trail junction and watched the rain, trying not to take it for granted and to be grateful for such a long, soaking, winter rain. In the end I turned back, a little disappointed to not finish the loop (the only section now to hike being the Hamburg/Wisconsin trail to Bear Saddle/Crest Trail) but looking forward to coming back.

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