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Ramsey Canyon Preserve

Ramsey Canyon Preserve, Visitor Center and Bookstore

(520) 378-4952Hummingbird at nest
On the eastern flank of the Huachuca Mountains, this canyon is renowned for its outstanding scenic beauty and the diversity of its plant and animal life, especially the numerous hummingbirds.

The preserve is owned by The Nature Conservancy. Fees are $5.00 per adult, $3.00 for Nature Conservancy members and Cochise County residents. This fee gives you access for seven days if you save your register slip and present it when you return. Children under 16 years of age are free. From February through October, the preserve is open from 8 am to 5 pm, 7 days a week. From November through January hours are from 9 am to 4 pm on Thursday through Monday (closed Tuesday and Wednesday). Coatimundi

In addition to the hummingbirds and elegant trogon and other specialty birds for which the preserve is renowned, there are also many species of butterflys, as well as mule deer, coatimundi and ringtail to be seen.

There are even items of interest to history buffs, since the canyon was originally settled as a mining camp for the Hamburg mine owned by the Hartford-Arizona Copper Mining Company at the turn of the last century. Hamburg was situated in upper Ramsey Canyon and at one time contained over a hundred people, a hotel, general store, boardinghouses, and the usual saloons. Some scattered remnants of mining activity can be seen from the Hamburg hiking trail, a National Forest trail accessed through the Preserve.

The self-guided hike through the Preserve itself is an easy trail only about 1/2 mile one way, slightly more depending on which loops you choose. (A map and guide leaflet is provided when you pay your fee at the visitor center.) As you exit the visitor center onto the trail you will come first to the hummingbird viewing area which features numerous feeders near benches for extended viewing and identification of the numerous species to be found in the canyon.

Ramsey Canyon Preserve, hummingbird feeder area

As you continue into the canyon, Ramsey creek ambles along beside you. If you take the Grand View Loop you will see the James house which was built by John James in 1911.

Ramsey Canyon Preserve, James House, built 1911

Leaving the Grand View loop the main trail passes an area currently being converted into a wetland area. The Bledsoe loop just ahead is the area where the elegant trogon is typically found along with other Ramsey specialties, the sulphur-bellied and dusky-capped flycatchers and whiskered screech owl.

Ramsey Canyon Preserve Pond, Chiricahua leopard frogs

The pond surrounded by the Bledsoe loop is home to Chiricahua leopard frogs. For a while it was believed that these frogs were unique and they were dubbed Ramsey Canyon leopard frogs, but subsequent research has identified them as conspecific with Chiricahua leopard frogs.* They are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. Visitor information signs at the pond give interesting background on these animals.

Chiricahua leopard frog, USFWS photo by Jim Rorabaugh

As you head back to the visitor center you will see the James cabin, built by John James in 1902 at the height of mining activity in the canyon. The cabin is now tenanted by squirrels, ringtails and, in late summer, nectar-feeding bats.

James cabin, built by John James in 1902

Throughout the hike you will be surrounded by tall trees with passing glimpses of the mountains beyond.

Ramsey Canyon Preserve. Trail view

From February through October, the preserve is open from 8 am to 5 pm, 7 days a week. From November through January hours are from 9 am to 4 pm on Thursday through Monday (closed Tuesday and Wednesday). Beginning in March and running through to October, guided nature walks are offered on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at 9 am. Call ahead to confirm walk dates: (520) 378-4952. The preserve is closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's days.

Fees are $5.00 per adult, $3.00 for Nature Conservancy members and Cochise County residents. Children under 16 years of age are free. The first Saturday of each month is free at Ramsey Canyon Preserve. Annual passes, and passes that allow entry into both Ramsey Canyon Preserve and Patagonia/Sonoita Creek Preserve are also available.

For information call (520) 378-4952
To reach Ramsey Canyon Preserve go 6 miles south of Sierra Vista on Hwy 92 to Ramsey Canyon Road, then turn left. Parking is limited so it's wise to arrive early. A
bookstore, open 9-4, sells books, tee shirts and gifts.

*For more information on the Chiricahua leopard frogs see page 44-45:
Brennan, Thomas C. and Andrew T. Holycross. A Field Guide to Amphibians and Reptiles in Arizona. Phoenix: Arizona Game and Fish Department, 2006.