Brown Canyon Hike, Nov. 22, 2005

(Click here for another hike during the monsoon on Aug. 5, 2006)

(Click here for another hike on March 30, 2007 with Carl & Candy)

(Click here for another hike on May 20, 2007 with Scott & Ellen)

Excerpts from an article in the September 28, 2005 Sierra Vista Herald By Michael Sullivan

The Brown Canyon Ranch gets its name from John Thomas Brown, reputedly the first white inhabitant of the rolling area north of Ramsey Canyon. Brown settled there with his family around 1880 and scratched out a living by farming, ranching, selling wood, carpentry, and operating the Mountain View Hotel in Turnerville, at the mouth of Ramsey Canyon.

The property eventually passed through the hands of numerous owners during the latter part of the 19th century and was homesteaded by James and Tom Haverty, starting in 1905. The ranch was the first on the eastern slope of the Huachucas to have running water. The adobe brick house was built during this time and boasted a kitchen sink, basin and bathtub. The structure is still in fairly good shape and is occasionally open to the public, under the supervision of a caretaker. Restoration work has included cleaning up the abandoned structure, replacing screens, treating exterior wood, patching leaks and holes in the walls and repairing cracks in the interior walls, and draining and cleaning the water tank.

After a family dispute in which Jim shot and killed his brother Dick, the property was sold to William Carmichael in 1921 and then to Roy Rambo in 1946. It was acquired by the Barchas family in 1957 and finally was deeded to the U.S. Forest Service in 1998 as part of a land exchange.

Ranch owner and family patriarch Sam Barchas, a trial lawyer from Los Angeles, was instrumental in obtaining government funding to build Buena High School in Sierra Vista. He tired of raising cattle and sold the property to his daughter, Sarah. She did several renovations, including a corrugated metal roof during the 1960s to replace the original roof, which had rusted away.

Weather monitoring and atmospheric studies are done at the house, and students are studying the habitat of the endangered Ramsey Canyon leopard frogs, which live in the pond.

The Brown Canyon Hiking Trail meanders through stands of oak, manzanita and juniper near the house before climbing into the Huachuca's through a narrow gap in nearby hills.  From the ranch house, the trail goes 2.4 miles to the Miller Peak Wilderness boundary where there is a concrete horse trough and feed crib.  A steel pipe brings water from the Brown Canyon Spring all the way down the trail to two new fiberglass tanks at the ranch house.

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The trail head is only
about 1.5 miles from
our back door.
It starts at the
Barchas ranch house,
all on Forest Service
The south side of
the house.
The north side with
the smokehouse on
the right (now used
for storage).
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The west side of the
The pond with the
leopard frogs north
of the house.  (We
didn't see any.)
The trailhead starts
just behind the corral.
Linda on the trail.
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A watering trough fed
by the Brown Canyon
spring via a pipe.
The ash trees were
The trail follows the
creek bed and there's
a trickle in the creek.
Note the small cave
on the left.
The cave is about 5
feet high.  There's
the pipe from the
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Linda on the steps
of the ruins of a
An old tank.  Note
the concrete walls
behind the tank.
Ken by the tank.
We hiked to the edge
of the Miller Wilderness
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The stream at the
The horse trough at
the springhead.
A horse feed crib
near the horse trough.
Ken by some cholla
with fruit.