|Coronado National Memorial|
This remote corner of the Huachuca Mountains commemorates the expedition of Francisco Vasquez de Coronado in 1549, the first known appearance of Europeans into the United States. Several hiking trails through the wooded foothills of the Huachuca Mountains, excellent views over the river valley, a...
Ramsey Canyon Preserve
|Description: The beauty of Ramsey Canyon has attracted people for centuries. The canyon namesake is Gardner Ramsey, an early settler. In the 1880s, Ramsey built by hand a 2.5 mile road that started at what is now the preserve headquarters and extended to the Hamburg mine area. Located within the Upper San Pedro River Basin in southeastern Arizona, the canyon is renowned for its outstanding scenic beauty and the diversity of its plant and animal life. This diversity—including such highlights as up to 14 species of hummingbirds—is the result of a unique interplay of geology, biogeography, topography and climate.
A spring-fed stream, northeast orientation, and high canyon walls provide Ramsey Canyon with a moist, cool environment unusual in the desert southwest. Water-loving plants such as sycamores, maples, and columbines line the banks of Ramsey Creek, often growing within a few feet of cacti, yucca, and agaves. Communities ranging from semi-desert grassland to mixed conifer forest are found within the vicinity of Ramsey Canyon Preserve.
In 1963, Ramsey Canyon was the first site in the United States designated as a National Natural Landmark by the National Park Service. In 1974, The Nature Conservancy received 280 acres in Ramsey Canyon as a bequest from Dr. Nelson C. Bledsoe, fulfilling his wish that the natural values of the canyon be preserved for future generations.
Another 100 acres has been added over the years.
Wildlife to Watch: Ramsey Canyon supports unique southwestern bird species, such as painted redstart, Grace’s warbler, greater pewee, bridled titmouse, hepatic tanager, Arizona and acorn woodpeckers, Mexican jay, and Gould’s turkey. During the summer, feeders and flowering plants behind the visitor center regularly attract 8-10 species of hummingbirds, with additional rarities such as berylline, white-eared, and Lucifer occasionally making an appearance. Mid-July through August is typically the peak period for hummingbird diversity and abundance. Golden eagles and Cooper’s hawk sometimes nest in the canyon.
The canyon is also home to black bear, white-tailed deer, mountain lion, bobcat, gray fox, Arizona gray squirrel, canyon tree frog, Ramsey Canyon leopard frog, mountain tree frog, Madrean alligator lizard, ridge-nosed rattlesnake, Sonoran mountain kingsnake, Yarrow’s spiny lizard, and over 100 species of butterflies.
Special Tips: Fee site; hours vary seasonally, call for details. Guided nature walks are conducted March through October, with additional birding and natural history programs for adults and children on a seasonal basis. Self-guided tours and displays are well-defined with informational stops along the way.
Other Activities: The Hamburg Trail parallels Ramsey Creek through the preserve before climbing 500 feet in a half-mile series of steep switchbacks. These lead to a scenic overlook in the Coronado National Forest one mile from the preserve headquarters. From the overlook, the trail continues upstream through Miller Peak Wilderness Area where it joins other trails.
Ownership: The Nature Conservancy
Size: 380 acres
Closest Town: Sierra Vista
Best Seasons for Wildlife Viewing: