Ramsey Canyon Preserve is located in southern Arizona, south of Sierra Vista and north of Mexico. Its present-day 380 acres of land are on the east side of the Huachuca Mountains. I wanted to scope the canyon out because it has a couple of hiking trails and is known as a birder’s hotspot.
In the 1880’s Gardner Ramsey was one of the hundred people who eventually live in the canyon. What is really amazing, Ramsey built a 2.5 mile long road by hand! It was from the current visitor center to what was the Hamburg mine area! The quality of the silver, copper, zinc, gold and lead was poor so mining stopped in 1931. It seems the creek may have been moved because there is a fireplace so near to the creek I cannot imagine where a house was at the time.
Today one can still see the 1902 James cabin built by John James and the James house which the family moved into in 1911. It is an easy hike in this area. Both houses are beside the Ramsey Creek which you walk along while hiking from the 5500 feet elevation where today’s visitor center stands to a trail leading you to an overlook point at 6200 feet. When you start up the final 500 foot elevation, your heart really does some serious pumping! Take your time, you’ll be fine.
The birds were quiet in the early morning hours. When headed to the overlook, we are now on Coronado National Forest Land. The overlook point was beautiful, peaceful, and a quiet place to enjoy and have a snack before heading back down. The birds were more numerous in the sun-filled wooded areas near the creek as we descended from the overlook. Numerous benches are on the trail so one could spend time watching birds, nature journaling/sketching, or relaxing. I did see at least 12 different species of birds on this day. More will be here in April. The violet-crowned hummingbird is rare for this area, yet I captured one photo when a bird stopped at the visitor center’s hummingbird feeder.
1970, Ramsey Canyon was designated a National Natural Landmark by the National Park Service. In 1974, 280 acres in the canyon were bequested to The Nature Conservancy from Dr. Nelson C. Bledsoe. The preserve has now expanded to 380 acres. I will need to return here when it is prime birding time!
Note: The Nature Conservancy since its inception in 1951 has protected more than 125 million acres of land around the world in 70 countries and 100 marine conservation programs. Their 400+ scientists with others on staff work to conserve lands and waters which all life depends on. If you are not familiar with their mission, check out The Nature Conservancy. Visiting Arizona, add Ramsey Canyon Preserve to your list.