Outdoor Adventures and Flavors to Enjoy: Sierra Vista, Arizona
While much of the country struggles with snowstorms, Sierra Vista, Arizona enjoys mild winter weather with picture-perfect snow-capped peaks as a reminder that winter is in full swing. But with valley temperatures around 60 degrees, snow chains and woolly underpants are as mysterious as chupacabra*.
While “going south” is usually associated with rising temperatures, at 4,633 feet, Sierra Vista enjoys a comfortable year-round climate. During the winter months, visitors can still explore without clustering. Spring begins in late February when mercury rises into the low 70s. Blazing summer heat is uncommon; The high 90s in June are punctuated by seasonal rainstorms.
The Huachucas (say “Waa-CHOO-kuhs” to sound like a local) are the southernmost mountain range of the Sky Isles, soaring peaks surrounded by radically different lowlands, creating an ecosystem that is among the most diverse in the world world, with narrow valleys, steep gorges and towering peaks inviting a biodiversity not seen anywhere else in the United States. In fact, the area attracts countless birds, more than any other place in the United States, earning Sierra Vista the nickname “Hummingbird Capital of the United States.” “Here you can find up to 15 species of hummingbirds — one found nowhere else north of Mexico — and more than 300 different bird species throughout the year.
Whether you race or mountain bike, Sierra Vista is surrounded by miles of hilly dual carriageways, bike trails and single track mountain trails. The Huachucas reach an elevation of 9,465 feet with some fairly steep trails for brave hikers, although many gentler trails are popular with mountain bikers and hikers alike. One of the easiest routes (and perhaps the most peaceful) is along the San Pedro River. This 54-mile trail is relatively flat (only 100 feet of elevation gain) and offers multiple access points along the river.
Ramsey GorgeBrown Canyon RanchCoronado Vista
Sierra Vista is big enough for the best amenities but small enough for a charming getaway. The city has earned a reputation for culinary diversity thanks to international restaurants located in plazas throughout the city. Offerings include flavors from around the world attributed to nearby Fort Huachuca, whose soldiers returned from overseas with a hunger for world flavors. Wear jeans and hiking boots to one of the restaurants for a tasty meal. Don’t let the modest (and sometimes tacky) decor fool you into having low expectations. The chefs make no compromises when presenting their local favourites. And thankfully, unless you have a large group, reservations aren’t necessary.
In southeastern Arizona, about 80 percent of Arizona’s wine grapes are grown in more than two dozen vineyards. Exploring the nearby wine country and tasting the gold medal winning wines produced there is a must. Along the way, the scenery will blow your mind, especially if you go at sunset: oranges, pinks and purples light up the sky. Have your camera ready, the light changes quickly.
Find out more and start planning your vacation at SierraVistaAZ.com or download the interactive guide to your smartphone from your favorite app store. Just search for “Sierra Vista Guide”.
*What is a chupacabra you ask? An urban legend, a mythological question mark that roams the Southwest and Latin America, attacking cattle under the cloak of darkness. Don’t worry, chupacabras are as elusive as Big Foot and you’re more likely to see a coati than this “goat sucker.”