Canyon solitude

Discover southern Arizona history in scenic Carr Canyon
Tim Vanderpool

Spring settles into Arizona's Carr Canyon just as it did in the 1880s, when frontier lumber baron James Carr prodded his mule train down the canyon's steep road. About the only thing different these days is that a brawny 1939 stone-and-wood ranch house named for Carr is now a visitor center showcasing the canyon's history, wildlife, and hiking trails.

On the way to the canyon, stop in Sierra Vista to pick up sandwiches at Delio's Italian Restaurant  ($; 3637 S. State 92; 520/378-1066). From the visitor center, a 1/2-mile hike along the shady Carr House Nature Trail leads to a picnic meadow ― along the way, look for spring blooms of red bouvardia and listen for the song of the painted redstart. Drive 4 steep miles up the canyon to Reef Townsite, now a campground, for a view of neighboring Ramsey Canyon.

Country drive

From Sierra Vista, Arizona, take State 92 south 7 1/2 miles, then go 1/4 mile west on Carr Canyon Rd. to Carr House (9-4 Sat-Sun, late Apr-mid-Oct; 520/378-0311).