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“Great Local Spot for the Outdoors”
Review of Garden Canyon

Garden Canyon
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: Flycatchers, quail and woodpeckers are found in this canyon.
Reviewed December 8, 2017

Garden Canyon is the major drainage coming down the east side of the Huachuca Mountains. It is mostly within the boundary of Fort Huachuca. Starting in the foothills near a set of firing ranges, the canyon climbs to the crest of the range. Along the way, a small stream runs through a thicket of sycamores, willows and other riparian species. Visitors are likely to see deer, turkeys, raptors, coyotes and numerous other birds.

Major attractions. About 5 miles up the canyon, you reach the trailhead for Sheelite Canyon, a destination for those wanting to see the Mexican Spotted Owls that live there. A little further, you reach the Garden Canyon rock art site, which are well-protected pictographs left by the Apache and other Native American groups that lived here. It is a lovely spot, where yellow Columbine flowers bloom in the summer. The road ends about 1 miles after the petroglyphs at a closed campground and access to a network of trails. The road used to go on over the range to Sunnyside, but it has been impassable since the 80s.

Lower down, there are three picnic areas maintained by the Army. These must be reserved in advance for groups, but I imagine that casual use of a table for a picnic would be OK. There are a few playground devices at the lower two. The area around the third, highest campground, is a well-known birding locale, with frequent sightings of the sought-after Elegant Trogon and the Magnificent Hummingbird (largest of the Arizona species).

Garden Canyon is a great place for a walk, picnic, or hike, to explore, bird watch or take photos. This is Army land and their rules apply. The area may be closed when the ranges are in use. It is only open during daylight hours. You must either have a military ID or get a vehicle permit at the east gate of Fort Huachuca to enter. Getting a permit requires a brief background check. Best to avoid the start of a business day if you need to get a permit.

The road is paved about half of its length, with major holes toward blacktop's end. Do not take a passenger car past the pavement if you are afraid of rough roads. The dirt section is generally in decent shape, though caution is appropriate if rain is likely.

I highly recommend this. It is a must for local residents and a pleasant way to get natural with the Huachucas for visitors. It would be a good alternate to Ramsey Canyon.

2  Thank Ron S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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4 - 8 of 45 reviews

Reviewed November 3, 2017

First of all, you will need your military pass or apply for and get a visitor's pass issued to you in one short visit. AZ residents' pass is good for a year. Out-of-state visitors' passes are good for a much shorter time.

1  Thank donnarv2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed October 20, 2017

Moderately easy drive to the end of the road at Vanishing Trail. Part of the way is a dirt road. Two pictograph sites to explore. Quiet peaceful with no other people around. A lot of wild life to see even a 8 point buck.

1  Thank Localgirl252
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed July 10, 2017

I am feeling a bit torn about telling people how great this place is. The first time I went in early spring with a group - we were the only people in the canyon. I've been dozens of times since and seen only two other hikers, lots of wildlife and magnificent plants including madrone and wildflowers so plenty I could not begin to name them all.

2  Thank maryjoyrenfro
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed May 21, 2017

One can bird by car and stop at the picnic areas of you can get out and walk the top part.. very slowly sloping wide road or you can hike the really steep and rocky Sheelite trail. Lots of wildflowers and many habitat zones. We added 30 birds to our list including the Elegant Trogan which we heard calling in several places and it did a fly by! Exciting but lots of other great birds to see as well.

1  Thank LaurettaYoung
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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