Ramsey Canyon Preserve
27 Ramsey Canyon Rd.

Sierra Vista, AZ

February 04, 2001

While we were staying in Sierra Vista we heard about the Ramsey Canyon Preserve, so we decided to drive up and take a look at it for ourselves. Ramsey Canyon, is located within the upper San Pedro River ecosystem in southeastern Arizona, and is renowned for its outstanding scenic beauty and the diversity of its plant and animal life. This diversity, including such highlights as the occurrence of several species of hummingbirds, is the result of a unique interplay of geology, biography, topography, and climate. On the day that we chose to explore Ramsey Canyon it was beautiful, the temperature was warm, but because of the altitude in the Canyon there was still snow on the ground. We first stopped at the Visitors' Center where we were given a brochure with some information on the Canyon. They had some very interesting displays in the Center featuring some of the many birds that can be seen in the area. In addition there was a posting board that indicated which birds had been seen in the area the previous day and where they had been spotted. As we started out Bob spotted some potential walking sticks and had to check them out. (Bob started carving walking sticks when we first started RVing and is always on the lookout for potential candidates.) Having found nothing he liked in the pile of sticks, we started on our way up the trail. Just a short way up the trail, almost directly behind the Visitors' Center we spotted a coati-mundi digging for food. Since he was on the other side of the creek from the trail he didn't seem to be very concerned about our presence but just went right on looking for his lunch. We had seen a coati-mundi in nature preserves but never in the wild. They are very interesting looking creatures in that they resemble a raccoon but have a very long snout. We found out later on that they are very common in that area having come up from Mexico. Just past the coati-mundi we came across a small pond that was a breeding ground for Leopard Frogs. Unfortunately the little guys were still hibernating and we didn't see a one. Trudging along on the path we came upon the "dreaded snow and ice". (For those of you who may not know by now, snow and ice are not two of my favorite things; unless the ice is in a drink in my glass.) However, we had started and I decided to go on. Some of the going was a little rough since the path started to go uphill and the packed snow made it a little difficult going. The trail we had chosen to walk was about 1 1/2 miles with an ascent of over 800 feet. Some parts of the trail had steps installed which made the going a little easier. After about 2 1/2 hours (remember we're old farts) we finally reached the top, having passed a family on the way up. The two kids were busily engaged in creating a snowman. They were having a ball with that "white stuff". The view from the top of the trail was worth every bit of work and effort we had put into it. It really was breathtaking. We sat for awhile just enjoying the view before we would undertake our walk back down. As we were up there a young couple came up from the valley. It seems there was a deserted mining town there. However, since it was probably another 5 miles I had no intention of trying to continue on in that direction. Our trip down was uneventful, except for a few slides on the packed snow. All-in-all, I felt that the trip was certainly worthwhile and wouldn't have missed it for the world. Some day I would like to come back when the weather is warmer and the hummingbirds are present. I understand that there about 14 species of hummingbirds that include Ramsey Canyon Preserve on their migration path. As we were driving out of the parking lot we spotted a charming Bed and Breakfast. It is called the Ramsey Canyon Inn. They feature six guest rooms and allow guests the opportunity to visit the Canyon at the leisure. In addition to the Inn there is also an Arizona Folk Music Center where Dolan Ellis, the official Arizona balladeer, presents shows featuring many folk songs from around the area. If you would like to see him be sure and get reservations as the building has a limited seating capacity. If you are interested check out Dolan's website at: http://www.dolanellis.com. Having seen him at the Cochise Cowboy Poets Gathering I can only say that the man has a very dynamic singing style and I can certainly see how he earned the title of official balladeer for Arizona. We drove back to our trailer park tired but with that special feeling that comes with a day spent enjoying the beauties of nature, away from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Good Luck! Have Fun! and Stay Safe!