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Places We Protect

Ramsey Canyon Preserve

Arizona

Bridge surrounded by vivid fall colors in Ramsey Canyon.
2019 Student Photo Contest Ramsey Canyon Fall Colors © Trenton Gullikson

Visitor Center now OPEN!

The Visitor Center is now open. Come shop the bookstore, view hummingbirds, hike the trails or simply enjoy the beauty of the canyon.

Overview

Description

Southeastern Arizona is an ecological crossroads, where the Sierra Madre of Mexico, the Rocky Mountains and the Sonoran and Chihuahuan deserts all come together. The abrupt rise of mountains like the Huachucas from the surrounding arid grasslands creates “sky islands” that harbor tremendous habitat diversity and form stepping stones to the tropics. This combination of factors gives Ramsey Canyon Preserve its notable variety of plant and animal life, including such southwestern specialties as Apache and Chihuahua pines, ridge-nosed rattlesnake, lesser long-nosed bat, elegant trogon and Rivoli's and Anna's hummingbirds.

A spring-fed stream, northeast orientation and high canyon walls provide Ramsey Canyon with a moist, cool environment unusual in the desert Southwest. Water-loving plants such as sycamores, maples and columbines line the banks of Ramsey Creek, often growing within a few feet of cacti, yucca and agaves. Communities ranging from semi-desert grassland to pine-fir forest are found within the vicinity of Ramsey Canyon Preserve.

Ramsey Canyon and the Upper San Pedro River Basin are situated within the Apache Highlands ecoregion, which encompasses central and southeastern Arizona, southwest New Mexico and the northern Sierra Occidental of Mexico.

The preserve serves as a southeastern Arizona program office—a base for TNC’s work with regional partners on large-scale projects such as fire management, stream restoration and protection of rare species. Together, The Nature Conservancy and these partners achieve much greater success than any one entity working independently. Multiple partners also ensure a broader perspective and more enduring conservation solutions.

Access

OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day

Hours

Closed Tuesdays/Wednesdays year-round.

March 1 through October 31: 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. 

November 1 through February 28: 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. 

Explore our work in Arizona

Hummingbird Camera

Ramsey Canyon serves as a migratory corridor and critical nesting habitat for a myriad of species of birds, including hummingbirds. We set up a live camera at the preserve so you can see for yourself.

Photos from Ramsey Canyon Preserve

Tag @tnc_arizona on Instagram and share your photos with us when you visit!

purple wildflowers
Chirachua Leopard Frog swimming around the creek
Coatimundi standing on fall leaves
Black butterfly perched on a branch
Orange cactus blooms
Blue-winged warbler perched on a branch
Waterfall flowing into Ramsey Creek
Ramsey Cliffs from Grand View Loop
Close up of Anna's hummingbird
Cabin surrounded by trees with fall leaves

Fees 

  • General Public: $8 per person.
  • TNC Members and Cochise County Residents: $5 per person
  • Children under 13: FREE!
  • Annual pass to Ramsey Canyon Preserve and Patagonia Sonoita Creek Preserve for two (2) adults: $55
  • Group visits require prior arrangements. Please call 520-378-2785.

Parking

Preserve parking is limited to 27 spaces. These spaces are available on a first-come, first-served basis. There is no parking along the road below the preserve.

Facilities

The preserve Visitor Center includes visitor parking, restrooms and hummingbird viewing. Here, visitors may learn about the preserve and its wild residents, the Upper San Pedro River Program, and The Nature Conservancy by viewing interpretive exhibits, or simply enjoying the beauty of the lower canyon.

Please note, in consideration of canyon wildlife, pets are prohibited in the preserve. However, service animals are permitted. See additional guidelines under the “Preserve Regulations” heading below.

Wildlife

The best months for birding at the preserve are April through September. Spring weather is unpredictable, though usually cool and dry. Early summer is generally dry and warm. In July and August, brief afternoon rainstorms can be a daily occurrence.  Fall days are cool and bright. Occasional snows from late November through late March bring a dramatic change in the scenery. On average, temperatures at the preserve are 10-15 degrees cooler than those in Tucson.

The diverse wildlife and habitats of Ramsey Canyon may be viewed from the Hamburg Trail. This open-ended route parallels Ramsey Creek through the preserve before climbing 500 feet in a half-mile series of steep switchbacks. These lead to a scenic overlook in the Coronado National Forest one mile from the preserve headquarters. From the overlook, the trail continues upstream and enters the Miller Peak Wilderness Area where it joins other trails.

Gear

Sturdy shoes, hat, sunscreen, binoculars and plenty of water.

Voluntering

Want to volunteer at Ramsey Canyon Preserve? Fill out this volunteer application form and email to Debra Arbenz at darbenz@tnc.org.

Preserve Regulations

In consideration of the canyon's plants and animals, and staffing and space limitations, we ask all visitors and guests to observe the following regulations:

  • Please ask about policies governing photography before setting up equipment.  No buses, trailers or large RV’s (over 20 feet) can be accommodated in the tight parking lot.
  • Smoking, pets, camping, fires, hunting, radios or tape players, collecting, feeding wildlife, motorized vehicles and bicycles are prohibited. Enjoy picnicking at the table near the entrance.
  • To preserve the natural character of our lands for our wildlife and the privacy of our visitors, we restrict the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (drones), whether amateur or commercial, anywhere within this preserve.

Questions?

Contact preserve manager Peter Leiterman at 520-335-8740, peter.leiterman@tnc.org, or Debbie Arbenze at 520-378-2785, darbenz@tnc.org.