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.
Location: Near the end of Carr Canyon Road on the “Reef” rock formation in the Huachuca Mountains.
Access: From Tucson, drive east on Interstate 10 to the State Route 90 (exit 302). Drive south 25 miles through Sierra Vista. Eight miles south of Sierra Vista on State Highway 92, turn west onto Carr Canyon Road (FR 368).
Season: Spring, summer, fall.
Cool mountain setting
Interpretive history trail
Hiking and horseback trails
14 single-unit sites with tables and fire rings
Toilets and garbage bins
Drinking water available
Day-use group site with ramada, 6 tables, 2 grills, and 2 food prep tables
Some sites are barrier-free
The day-use group site must be reserved in advance. (It is locked when not in use). Contact the Sierra Vista District Office for reservations.
No utility hookups. Tents and trailers under 12' are permitted. Longer trailers and motor homes cannot negotiate the switchbacks on Carr Canyon Road.
Pets on leash at all times.
Pack and saddle stock are not permitted in campground or picnic area.
Properly licensed motorbikes may be used only for entering or leaving campgrounds.
Reef Townsite Loop Trail, with interpretive signs that discuss the mining history of this area, begins and ends at the northeastern edge of the campground.