Hereford, Arizona 85615
Reef Townsite Campground webpage
Carr Canyon Road Scenic Drive webpage
Carr Canyon map
Also, see Carr Canyon
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About Reef Townsite Campground
This high mountain campground and group day-use area is located on a site that was once occupied by the old mining town of Reef. That remote outpost got its name from the nearby Carr Reef, a tall band of quartzite-bearing cliffs that form the Huachuca Mountains’ dramatic eastern front. Mining activity along the Reef began during the last few years of the nineteenth century and proceeded in fits and starts all the way into the 1950’s.
The property occupied by the mines and the town was returned to public ownership in 1970, and in 1988, the Forest Service constructed a campground on the townsite. A number of picnic tables and tent pads were placed within the visible outlines of old cabin foundations.
Many relics of Reef’s mining history, including the remains of the town’s old water system and miscellaneous features, are still visible in and around the campground. Evidence of old mining digs and foundations for an ore mill provide points of interest along a three-quarter-mile interpretive trail which begins and ends at the northeastern end of the campground.
From Reef Townsite Campground webpage
About Carr Canyon
If you look up at the Huachuca Mountains from the town of Sierra Vista, a band of sheer cliffs bends and curves across the face of the mountain range. The relatively flat area above is called the Carr Reef. In this case, however, the word “reef” doesn’t refer to coral and oceans. It harks back to an earlier time when it also meant a thick layer of exposed rock. While you’re looking at the Reef, you may also notice a tree-covered break in that impressive barrier, just south of a deep canyon. Look even closer and you should see a barely visible set of switchbacks climbing that slope. That is the Carr Canyon Road, the only road into the upper reaches of the Huachuca Range. This narrow, winding road was built at the turn of the century to open up the Carr Reef to gold and silver mining. It was reconstructed in the late 1930’s by the Civilian Conservation Corps. The mines have come and gone, but the road persists with little change. The people who travel it, however, have changed considerably. Where hardy prospectors once searched for their pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, outdoor recreationists and history buffs now travel the Carr Canyon Road to enjoy the splendid scenery and seek the flavor of the past. For them, the Carr Canyon Road provides the reward of extraordinary views of Sierra Vista, the San Pedro Valley, and a number of surrounding mountain ranges as it winds its way up the mountain. Since the road is so narrow, we recommend for safety that you use one of the pullouts along the road if you want to stop and enjoy the view. A forest recreation area stands in an area once occupied by the mining outpost of Reef. Here, you’ll find the Reef Townsite Loop Trail and two scenic forest campgrounds. From the Reef, the Carr Peak Trail #107 and Comfort Springs Trail #109 connect to an extensive network of trails that lead throughout the Huachuca Range.
Directions: Tucson, travel east on I-10 to AZ-90 (exit 302). Turn south and drive 33 miles on AZ-90 through Sierra Vista to the Carr Canyon Road. Turn right and drive 7 miles up the mountain. The last 5 miles are dirt.
Panoramic views. Historic mining district. Camping and picnicking. Self-guided interpretive trail. Hiking and horseback trails.Season: Year long, but the road may occasionally be closed due to snow. Road Conditions: The first mile or so is paved; the rest is dirt and suitable for two-wheel drive vehicles. The switchbacks are narrow and steep with no guard rails. No motor homes on this one.
From Carr Canyon Road Scenic Drive webpage