Shadowed by the 9,500-foot peaks of the Huachuca Mountains, Sierra Vista, at an altitude of 4,650-feet, escapes much of the summer heat that settles into other Arizona valleys. The monsoon rains bring forth a waterfall that cascades from Carr Peak and is visible for miles. At this time of year, colorful wildflowers bloom roadside and hummingbirds, along with almost 200 other species, can be seen at their summer home.
Bring binoculars and visit the Nature Conservancy’s Ramsey Canyon Preserve. At 6,300 feet, it is considered a premier birding and hiking area. With at least 14 species of hummingbirds migrating through the canyon, Sierra Vista is known as “the hummingbird capital of the U.S.”
Like to hike? Then consider the 40 miles of hiking trails along the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area. Check the scheduled dates for the docent-led walks and encourage your children to learn about birds, wildlife, history and the environment.
Those who find ancient cultures intriguing can visit local archaeological sites or ghost town ruins. Artifacts from the Clovis people and bones from a prehistoric mammoth have been found at the Murray Springs Clovis Site, where on a self-guided, self-paced interpretive tour, hikers can relive the Pleistocene Era, also known as the Ice Age.
The 40 miles of mountain bike trails in the Huachuca Mountains range from easy to difficult, with enough variety to satisfy people who enjoy mountain biking.
The riparian area along the San Pedro River corridor is managed by the Bureau of Land Management and includes several ghost towns, such as Fairbank, Millville and Charleston. The Millville-Charleston trail, located off Charleston Road, forks to the Petroglyph Discovery Trail.
The Petroglyph Discovery Trail takes hikers to two Hohokam rock art sites, depicting human and animal figures and geometric forms. At the site, there are interpretive signs explaining what the figures and forms may mean and describes the people who made them.
Fairbank is located near the San Pedro River and is often mentioned as a “ghost town.” It was considered a large town during the 1800s, with a schoolhouse, mercantile, saloon and other buildings and businesses. The cemetery is located approximately 1/4-mile from the Townsite, on a hillock overlooking the rugged terrain.
Along the entrance trail to Fort Bowie National Historic Site is a cemetery where three Chiricahua Apache children are buried. One is Little Robe, the 2-year-old son of Geronimo. Historians differ as to how the child died. In 1885, escalating conflicts between Geronimo and the U.S. Army led to the capture of 30 Chiricahua Apache women and children. They were thought to have been brought to Fort Bowie to be used as bait to lure Geronimo and the remaining Chiricahua Apache warriors to the post, where they could be captured.
Beachfront property in Arizona? Slip on a swimsuit and jump into the eight-foot waves at the aquatic center, “The Cove.” Slide down the tubes, practice high diving or relax in the lagoon.
For real aquatic sport, join the Tsunami Nights when “surf’s up” with huge waves.
For more information about Sierra Vista, Southern Arizona attractions and special events, stop at the Visitor Center in the Oscar Yrun Community Center at 3020 E. Tacoma St, call 417.6960 or go to www.VisitSierraVista.com.