Friday, September 6, 2013

Ramsey Canyon to Crest Huachuca Mountains September 1, 2013

                             Abandoned house in the canyon

On the outskirts of Sierra Vista, Arizona, in the Huachuca Mountains is Ramsey Canyon. This canyon is renowned for its scenic beauty and plant and animal diversity. Along Ramsey Creek sycamores, maples and columbines are prevalent while in the upper parts of the canyon Chihuahua and Apache pines dominate. Some bird species include the Lesser long-nosed bat, Elegant trogon, Berry line hummingbird and Violet-crowned hummingbird  At the mouth of the canyon the Nature Conservancy owns a Preserve where they band hummingbirds and offer birding walks throughout the year. In the preserve is also a Visitor Center and bed and breakfast. The main trail into the canyon is the Hamburg Trail which takes visitors into the Miller Peak Wilderness and up to the Huachuca Crest Trail. By parking at Ramsey Canyon it is possible to access almost all trails in the Huachuca Mountains and the wilderness. A week pass is $4. Watch out for drug smugglers and human smugglers in these mountains especially at night (Information from

The hike:  Today I am hiking up the Hamburg Trail to the Wisconsin Can Trail and finally the Huachuca Crest Trail.  It is possible to do a loop by hiking along the Crest Trail  for two miles and back along the Pat Scott Trail to the Hamburg Trail. This loop is about 10 miles. My hike started off really well as I hiked along Ramsey Creek. I enjoyed looking at the small waterfalls in the creek and looking at the beautiful vegetation in the canyon including the magnificent pine and maple trees. After a 1.5 of hiking I reached the Hamburg Vista which gave a great view of the upper and lower parts of the canyon. The next part of the trail I saw two fawns of the year walking in the forest. After reaching the crest I started hiking north when storm clouds rolled over Miller Peak. I started to hear thunder and made the decision to turn around and hike back down. As I started down off the crest, hail about the size of marbles teemed down on me. I put my raincoat on and walked faster. Soon I became soaked and the trail became a torrent of water. It did not stop hailing and raining until the lower part of the canyon where I was finally able to dry my clothes and belongings in the afternoon sun. Overall I hiked about 7.5 miles with over two thousand feet of elevation gain.

                        Looking toward the upper part of the canyon

                    Small waterfall in Ramsey Canyon

                                   Beautiful sunlight on a maple


                         View west from the crest

                Looking north along the crest before the thunder started

                                         Huachuca Crest Trail