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Ramsey Canyon

One of the reasons we are here was to explore Ramsey Canyon, a Nature Conservancy site near Sierra Vista. It’s part of a “sky island” formed by the Huachuca Mountains. Sky islands are biologically diverse high altitude areas found in the southwest, primarily Arizona and New Mexico.

Ramsay Canyon.jpg

Ramsey Canyon sits at the confluence of two mountain ranges (Rockies and Sierra Madres) and two deserts (Chihuahuan and Sonoran). Thus, it has bird, plant and animal life from all four of those areas, making it a unique place for naturalists and the curious travelers like us.

It’s also a great spot to experience the variations Arizona can offer. Hiking in Ramsey Canyon was just like a hike in the Green Mountains of Vermont, or the White Mountains of New Hampshire, except without mosquitoes & black flies. A burbling brook tumbled down the canyon, just parallel to the trail. Deciduous trees and butterflies surrounded us. The major clues that we weren’t in the northeast were the occasional yucca and trees we weren’t familiar with such as the Arizona black walnut.

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The canyon is well worth the short drive from Sierra Vista and the $5 admission charge. There’s a small nature center, and naturalist volunteers are standing by to help interpret the park and identify creatures. We spotted a screech owl nesting in sycamore tree, several hummingbirds, numerous butterflies, the endangered Ramsey Canyon Leopard Frog (no kidding), and the hiking was excellent. In fact, we plan to go again and do a longer hike. The admission receipt is good for a week.

If you go, I’d recommend good birding binoculars and plenty of water. The trail is all uphill, but not very challenging until you’re about 1/2 mile from the nature center.

Google Earth location of Ramsey Canyon

Ramsey Canyon owl.jpg
You’ll have to look very closely to spot this well-camouflaged screech owl!

2 Responses to “Ramsey Canyon”

  1. jack palmer Says:

    Vermont in Arizona… that’s my kind of place. Just curious as to how the digital camera is working out ? Do you shoot with film at all?