Ramsey Canyon Preserve is a popular location, in part due to the proximity to Sierra Vista, and the easy access from Hwy 92, via the short Ramsey Canyon Road; this passes a few scattered houses and the parking area for the Brown Canyon Trail which follows a similar canyon to the north, then enters the lower end of Ramsey Canyon. There are several more houses along the way, and an RV site, now in wooded surroundings, before the road fords the creek and ends at the parking area in front of the visitor center/bookstore, at the entrance to the preserve. Places are limited (27), RVs are not allowed and the lot can fill up by mid morning during popular times of the year. There are no other parking spaces back along the road for at least a mile. The busiest times, and the peak months for birdwatching, are between April and September, then again in October when the leaves are changing color. The preserve is open all year though closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays between the start of November and the end of March. Fees (2018) are $8 per person, free for the under 13.
The Loop Trail
Adjacent to the visitor center is a small garden including several hummingbird feeders; more are seen along the trail. The path starts through the building, and consists of two connected loops, linked by footbridges, allowing either a short stroll, around half a mile, or a longer though still easy walk of just over one mile. Most of the valley floor is thickly wooded though there are a few clearings, one larger grassy area, several patches of wetland, and a few tributary streams. In some places the spring-fed creek flows over smooth granite bedrock forming pools and cascades but most is rather overgrown. The two main historic structures are James Cabin
, a single story log building erected in 1902 by John James, and, on the opposite side of the creek, the larger James House
(1911), to where the family moved after the former dwelling proved too small. There is also a tall stone chimney, adjacent to the meadow, this the only relic of another residence. At its peak the canyon was home to nearly 100 people, the first to arrive being Gardner Ramsey in the 1880s, after whom the valley is named.