Where are we now?
K&N RV Park, Huachuca City, AZ
For all the nature lovers or birders in the RV community, this hiking trail is for you. The Ramsey Canyon Preserve is so close to Sierra Vista that I am surprised so few people know about it. From Sierra Vista drive south on SR-92 for 6 miles until you see a sign on your right (west) to Ramsey Canyon Road. Follow that road to the end (4 miles) and you are at your destination.
There is a visitor center at the parking lot where you have to either show your Nature Conservancy Pass, or proof that you are a resident of the Cochise County then you can walk right through or, when not a resident of this county you have to pay an admission fee of $6/person, which is good for one week. I mentioned we are in an RV Park in the area so we only paid $10 for both of us. The entrance to the park is through the back door of the visitor center. (Dogs were not permitted; we left them in the kennel on the truck’s rear bench with all windows a gap open and the truck parked in the shade)
Under a canopy of mature Oak, Pine and Sycamore trees (one Sycamore dates to about 1760) we choose a winding trail along the Ramsey Creek. (Note: The Ramsey Creek is a tributary to the San Pedro River and at the end of the blog I’ll make a note about that) Looking at the many bridges and a sign for a Grand View Loop, we had a hard time to decide which trail to follow but we could switch from side to side of the creek to wander along. It is a gentle climb through the canyon where we spotted a deer grazing up the hill. We saw many benches placed at tranquil locations inviting us to pause and let our eyes feast on the beauty of the place. The brochure listed all the different birds that might be seen and apparently hummingbirds by the hundreds will make their stopover on their migrating flights. Perhaps our visit was just a few weeks too early and still too cold for the hummers, but several feeders were hung out but I spotted one.
We took our time wandering about and looked at the couple old cabins of an early resident who lived at this tranquil place a long time ago by the name of John James. His first homestead he built in 1902 and when his family outgrew that one he built another cabin in 1911 across the creek. When we came to a junction called the Bledsoe Loop, at the southern section of the path, that is where the Hamburg Trail begins and the easy walking ends. Here we started a steady climb with many switchbacks rising over 500 feet up the south side of the canyon to the overlook platform. The good part is there are numerous benches at switchbacks, so you can catch your breath and I am not ashamed to say we took advantage of some of them. Because we were on a path with trees obscuring the view above, after every bend we were hopeful to have made it to the overlook area, only to discover there were more switchbacks ahead of us. Up there close to the top we entered the Coronado National Forest and the Miller Peak Wilderness. Once we reached the peak, we were rewarded with a view of the Ramsey Canyon and San Pedro River Valley. It was breathtaking and worth every bit our climbing effort.
By this time it was already 2:15 in the afternoon and with the dogs waiting for us in the truck we decided to retrace your steps and go back down the way we came and to head for home.
Because the pass for the Ramsey Canyon Preserve is good for a week, we returned on Monday to take the Hamburg Trail further to the old abandoned Hamburg Mine deep in the wonderful Ramsey Canyon. This time we left our dogs in the RV Park in our travel trailer with the windows open, so we knew they were ok for several hours on their own.
It seemed our climb up on the Hamburg trail to the observation platform went a lot swifter this time (we had practice!) from where we had the option to take the trail down the other side into the beautiful wilderness of the Coronado National Forest. The trail, or rather we guessed what might be a trail, led us first down some ways to the creek and then along a riparian zone down to a small waterfall. Opposite I looked up to a shear wall of a mountain. We decided to rest here to have our lunch by the water. I could have spent the rest of the afternoon there it was so beautiful and tranquil. But we had a mission and that was to find the old, abandoned Hamburg Mine somewhere in this forest. Benno had looked at the topographical map at the Visitor Center and had noticed an indication where the Mine used to be. This was our starting gun.
The trail crisscrossed over rivulets and dried out creek beds filled with rocks and boulders several times all the while we climbed up to a higher elevation. It was not an easy hike but this little exertion as we scrambled up and down looking at the fantastic scenery I could have endured for many more miles.
At an area with very large boulders to both sides of the trail Benno thought he should investigate if this might be where the old mine had been but I could not see it and urged us on. When we came to yet another spot where we had to cross the creek and I wasn’t even sure if there was a trail beyond, we turned around. Good thing, because we had passed the mine already and we spotted it just a few hundred yards back. We presume the entrance had collapsed or may blown up or intentionally filled up some.
Our hike took 4+ hours. The return was much easier as it was mostly downhill. I am not sure how many miles we had covered, but unquestionable several. I would go again, if I had the chance.
Note: There is another free, Self-Guided Walk along the San Pedro River. The loop trail is 1-1/2 to 2 miles long over easy terrain, but you can shorten it by taking different paths that loop back to the visitor center. It offers great views and wildlife and dogs are permitted on leash. Next to the visitor center stands a big old 120-year-old Freemont Cottonwood Tree that has a footprint of 36 feet round and this size of a tree is very rare in Arizona. The San Pedro House Visitor Center is at 9800 Highway 90, Sierra Vista.
I hope you liked my tour about the Hamburg trail. Thanks for visiting and stay tuned for more of our adventures.