My husband and I, took our 15 month old son with up Carr Canyon for a hike. The trail is decent with a steep climb that levels off after about 3 minutes uphill, the rest of the trail is flat,with loose gravel. Make sure you have good hiking shoes with good traction. The vegetation is that of pine, mostly scared from the wildfire of three years ago.
Difficulty: Beginners to moderate
Located within the San Pedro river Valley in the Huachuca Mountains is the Nature Conservancy that is Ramsey Canyon. I wrote a review on hiking within the canyon previously. Today my husband, son and I, returned to Ramsey canyon for yet another hike. We were a little wishy washy on which trails we wanted to hike, eventually to did one, but not long enough to call it a work out.
The Canyon is known for its breath taking views, and diversity of plant and animal life. In fact we saw quite a few deer, and quite a few birds. It is the place of convergence for the Sierra Madre, rocky mountains and the Chihuahuan desert. From up high, the lower desert looks like the African rift valley, except brown and a little dusty.
It is a great area for enjoying the outdoors, nature and the beautiful views offered from higher altitudes. There are various hiking trails and even ruins in the Canyon. The Ramsey creek flows beautifully during the monsoons, reviving plant life.
Located within the San Pedro Riparian Conservation area, the historic San Pedro house was built in the 1930s by the Boquillas Land and Cattle Company for their ranch manager. The original ranch buildings included the railroad tie cabin ( a play house for the manager's children), the water tank and the main house now used as an information center.
I took time to take photos of the children's play house because it was quite interesting. It looks like a log cabin somewhere in the Midwest. It is no longer in use of course and has a plaque on it limiting access to visitors.
If you find yourself in Sierra Vista, I highly recommend visiting the San Pedro Riparian Conservation area. It is the location of the San Pedro River which has some of the richest wildlife habitat in the Southwest. With more than species of mammals, and approximately three hundred and fifty species of birds, it is definitely worth seeing.
A self guided tour will take you on an almost mile hike allowing you to see the birds and cottonwood canopies that line the river. The river is one of the free flowing rivers in the Southwest.
Known as the Great Tree of Arizona, the giant Fremont Cottonwood tree at the San Pedro house is in its own class. It is about 80 years old and measures 36 feet round. It was named 'Bailey' by the ranch manager who planted it behind his house in 1948.
It is of course the largest in the Riparian area, but the San Pedro River supports one of the largest cottonwood forest canopies remaining in the state of Arizona.
You can not miss it, it dominates the landscape around the San Pedro House and conservation area.
Perhaps birds are not your interest; but for the bird lover, there is nothing like being able to hold one of the world's smallest birds in the palm of your hands. Sierra Vista in Arizona is known as the Hummiingbird capital of the United States. It is one of the few places in the world where you can hold a hummingbird in your hands. The annual migration of the hummingbirds begin early in the month of April, making it a perfect time of year to witness the rare treat of hummingbirds. It attracts thousands of bird watching lovers from the world around each year.
You will find them along the San Pedro Riparian east of Sierra Vista. There are 13 species of hummingbirds on the 3300 acre property, giving an opportunity to view over 1,000 hummingbirds during the migration.
Other activities within the conservation area include hiking, horseback riding, bird watching, biking, and fishing. The San Pedro House is a historic house, something you can add to your activities. Access to the conservation can also be through the Hereford Bridge Access Point which is an excellent low crown area. Remember that while Hummingbirds are predominant, there are other species of birds to see, like the gray hawk, the Montezuma quail, black hawk, thick billed king bird, Green kingfisher, and wild turkey.
My family visited the San Pedro Riparian Conservation area on today (Monday, March 11/2013). It was a clear day outside and beautiful weather to hike. The conservation area was created in 1988 by Congress to help protect the rare ecosystem of the desert riparian forest. The riparian area covers approximately 58,000 acres of land from the Mexican border to St. David.
San Pedro River flows through from the northern direction from Mexico and is internationally recognized as an important resource. Wildlife reproduction in the area includes rare species of humming birds and is also a pathway for migratory birds. Many bird watchers make their way here to see and find rare birds and Humming birds. As a matter of fact Sierra Vista is known as the Hummingbird capital of the world.
I do like shopping and like to know that there is a one stop shopping where I can have options. In Sierra Vista, the mall provides that. It is relatively small when compared to malls in towns like Tucson and Phoenix, but given the size of the population, this one works just fine.
It has the major market names like Dillard's, Best Buy next door, Sears, Victoria's Secret, to mention but a few. For the youth and young at heart a choice between Melrose Place, Claire's, Hot Topic, shoe companies like Payless.
A food court and cinema are also linked to the mall to provide an all-around service. Over the weekends, it is a place where most youth hangout either with their parents or alone. I like taking my daughter shopping there, while my husband loves to watch movies at the Cineplex.
The Sears department provides auto services as well should you find you need help with your car or spares.
My husband and I, hike quite a bit. Living in Sierra Vista, we found out that the Huachucas are a great area for hiking, even though they are also popular for illegal border crossings from Mexico. We have hiked Ramsey Canyon twice since moving to Sierra Vista. From the nature conservancy, the trail is beautiful and inviting. A steady hike with steady increase in elevation giving you a great work out. For about 2 hours in and out, the hike takes you through part of the Crest trail, which we hiked another day.
The only problem with this trail is that you find quite a bit of litter as the illegals crossing leave behind their belongings and trash. Other than that, I do like this trail. This is not a beginners hike as the elevation gain is quite substantial. With over 2000ft in elevation gain, on has to be in good shape. In total the trail is a 4 hour hike, we only hiked half of it (about 5 miles) before calling it an evening.
Distance: 10.5 Miles
Elevation gain:2800 feet
Trail Head: 5700 feet
Be sure to get a designated driver (check out www.arizonasunshinetours.com) and get your group together for a FUN BUS trip to the area vineyards and wineries in nearby Sonoita and Elgin.
A scenic and delightful ride back to Sierra Vista via the West Gate at Fort Huachuca provides some majestic views through the mountains of the San Pedro Valley.
Since Sierra Vista is outside a US Army base it has a wider variety if cultures than many small towns. The German Culture is well represented in town. Every year Sierra Vista celebrates Oktoberfest with typical German food and snacks, Jagermeister, and lots of German Beer. We also have German bands and lots of booths selling crafts and since this was an election yaer, politics. The festival is held in Veterans' Memorial Park.
Another place to hike near Sierra Vista (it is actually in Hereford) is Carr Canyon. The best thing to do first, especially if it is your first visit, is to stop at the visitor's center at Carr Cabin. They have information about the area, a nice learning center for the kids, and a bad map of the Carr Canyon Nature Trail. Settlement in the Carr Canyon area began when it was still called McCloskey Canyon and the Tombstone Gold and Silver Mill and Mining Company built a sawmill here in 1878.
If you take a close look at this pole, you will see distinct marks made by a black bear's claws. If you see a black bear on your hike, do not approach him/her. They are stronger than you and have very sharp claws.
In these cliffs you can see different layers of rock called strata. These strata are like the pages of a book ane tell the story of the land in this area. Scientists can read these strata and tell how old the layers are, how they were formed, what life lived here at the time, and how the climate may have changed.
Early settlers in the canyon raised apple, apricot, cherry, peach and plum trees here. Most of these trees are gone now, because the area was taken back over by the native vegetation. Here you see the remains of an apple tree. The small holes you see are from Red-naped Sapsuckers inserting their beaks to find insects trapped in the sugary sap.