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Monday, April 14, 2014

The Ruins at Carr Canyon Ranch

On the way back from camping up Carr Canyon, we stopped for a short 1/3 mile hike to the Carr Canyon Ranch Ruins.  They're also known as the Carr House, but the Carr Canyon Ranch is a little more appropriately named in my mind. The Brown Canyon Ranch further to the north is better preserved and a popular spot for photography, but I really liked the old ruins here. 
The ruins are at the mouth of Carr Canyon, and take a hike to get to them.  It's an easy hike, with the most difficult part being crossing the stream which is flowing most of the year.  Here in Southern Arizona, the oak trees shed their leaves in the spring, which is why the tree above has leaves that are changing colors.  The ruins climb up the hill and wrap across the hillside.  This was once an impressive building, but now is just ruins. 
Several of the rooms still have all four walls, but no doors, windows, or roof.  Unfortunately a few not-classy people have also found the ruins and tagged up a little of it.  The spray paint graffiti isn't all over the place yet, so there still is a nice happy feeling to most of the area. 
We wandered around, peeking into this room and that room.  The old chimney and fireplace are overgrown with climbing plants, making a nearly tree-like feature in the middle of the ruins. 
We took about an hour wandering the area, checking out the flowering orchard, or remnants of the orchard behind the house, reading a historic plaque placed there as an Eagle Scout Project, and finding old stone fences and other features in the area from when the house was lived in.  The Carr Canyon Ranch is a great little find.  Not many people know about it, so get out and explore it!  If you live in Sierra Vista you'll be glad that you did. 

Nearest City: Sierra Vista, AZ
Location: Park at the parking lot at the mouth of Carr Canyon, cross the creek, and take the trail to the southwest.  You'll be there in 1/3 mile.
Time Needed: 1.5 hours
Difficulty: easy
Kid Friendly: yes
Additional Info:


  1. Just saw it--as you said--very interesting. The big question is how it came to be ruins (forest fire?). I can't imagine that it would be abandoned just for the heck of it. Continued up the dirt road--really great views and nice campsites--highly recommended.

  2. We were told that the Forest Service basically created the ruins after they took over the property in 1972 because people were starting fires in the buildings and pilfering property. We figure they eliminated any flammable material in the area that would have the potential of creating a wildfire if the less than respectful persons decided to start a fire and let it get out of control. Sad commentary of the world we live in today.

    1. A sad commentary on society indeed- and that was over 45 years ago so now we're dealing with their kids and grandkids. I always hate seeing the results of ill- mannered people. Things torn up, cigarette butts on the ground, names carved into rocks or trees, etc. Such a profound lack of goodness.